lifestyle

Japan 4th in world liar rankings

90 Comments
By Jessica Ocheltree

On the Japanese TV show "Nep & Imoto’s World Rankings," they conduct surveys to rate countries by random attributes. For example, recent shows have ranked everything from how common it is to cry at graduation ceremonies to the number of shotgun weddings and frequency of cell phone checking.

Another ranking that has generated some chatter in Japan was one people’s tendency to lie, which ranked … countries in accordance to how likely they were to bend the truth.

So where do you think Japan came in?

Producers asked 100 people from 39 countries, “Do you often tell lies?” The countries were then ranked by the percentage of people who answered yes.

Peru took the top spot on the list with 39.1%, followed by Argentina (33.6%) and Mexico (32.7%). I’m not sure where the decimals are coming from, since they had a round number of 100 respondents, but those are the percentages they gave.

Anyway, the thing that got Japanese netizens’ knickers in a twist was the fact that Japan came in fourth at 31.8%. The panel of guests also looked quite shocked at the sheer number of naughty fibbers in their country. Newscaster Jiro Shinbo thought the explanation probably rested on participants’ understanding of the word “lie”.

“In Japanese culture, we have the concepts of honne and tatemae, or the contrast between one’s behavior and one’s opinions. So, it’s probably not malicious lies, but white lies that protect the other persons feelings that the respondents are thinking of when they say yes.”

However, it seems to have been the fact that Korea was ranked at 15th with 20%, not just Japan’s own ranking, that most bothered some viewers, who took to the Net to complain that the rankings must have been fabricated.

“20 percent said they lied a lot. The other 80% are just liars.” “It’s not like a liar is going to answer the question honestly.” “If you really think about it, they have no self-awareness of their own lies.”

Others pointed to Korea’s teaching of history and high rates of plastic surgery as evidence of their dishonesty. The author is sure some comment about kettles and pots is probably in order here, but I digress.

On the other hand, the number of people in Japan that would agree with the results is not small, particularly where government, large companies and the media are concerned.

For example, many people feel the fact that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been caught out in a number of lies, and their ever-changing explanations regarding the nuclear incident at Fukushima Daiichi has damaged Japanese credibility around the world. An investigation into the accident by a Diet committee has raised many doubts about TEPCO, from sketchy subcontracting to dubious explanations about why outsiders are not allowed in the No. 1 reactor.

Politicians like former Prime Minister Yukio Hatayama have been called out for making promises they couldn’t keep. After assuring the people of Okinawa that the Futenma air base would at least be moved out of the prefecture and asking the U.S. to trust him, he was unable to work out a deal to make it happen.

Where the Abe administration is concerned, they have just announced that they will officially participate in the TPP trade agreement negotiations, which is counter to campaign promises they made in 2012, prompting many to point out the fickleness of Japanese politicians.

Meanwhile, back at "Nep & Imoto’s World Rankings," the Nigerian comic Bobby Ologun confessed to some of his own lies, including telling his wife that he was an American and that he went to university in Germany. He was called out by the other panelists, but quickly defended himself, saying, “But those are just cute lies!”

So perhaps what counts as a “true” lie depends on your culture. Other commenters on the Net argued for a more relativistic approach:

“About honne and tatemae, they can’t be disentangled from the culture, so even if other countries see that as lying, it can’t be helped.”

“Japanese tell a lot of lies because they are always thinking of others’ feelings.”

Source: J-cast News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- One Homely Guy’s Solution to the Declining Birth Rate -- Why Carefully Managing Your Husband’s Money Leads To A Happier Home -- North Korea Presents: The World Happiness Index

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Japan should be top

17 ( +27 / -10 )

“Japanese tell a lot of lies because they are always thinking of others’ feelings.”

for example? police, tax authorities, teachers, parents, customers.....!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

So they're lying about not lying. Way to go.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Doesn't almost every human being in the world exhibit tatemae while retaining a honne. It is banal to say it is only Japanese who do this. Very few people go around telling everyone what they are thinking all the time. It would be rude, stupid and even dangerous to do so. On the other hand, I feel like it is Japanese who come closest to only having tatemae, and very little honne.

As for lies, it depends really on how good you are at lying. Japanese seem rather hopeless at it, thus are easily found out and tagged as liars. So tatemae and honne become explicitly clear. But probably the best at lying are the English. Their sarcasm and irony also means it is hard to tell if there are lies or not.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Ha ha, I knew after just reading the headline that this came from RocketNews.

"So where do you think Japan came in?"

Uh... 4th? Ha ha

"I'm not sure where the decimals are coming from, since they had a round number of 100 respondents"

Ha ha

"It's probably not malicious lies, but white lies" ( Japanese lies )

Ha ha

"20% said they lied a lot. The other 80% are just liars" ( Koreans )

Ha ha, lol

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Anyway, the thing that got Japanese netizens’ knickers in a twist was the fact that Japan came in fourth at 31.8%

I'm not surprised that the Japanese folks were surprised, they just lie to themselves that things are different.

I can honestly say that I have never lied so much in my life since I came here. Seems like second nature and I am not Japanese.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Doesn't almost every human being in the world exhibit tatemae while retaining a honne.

In Japan, the tatemae-honne dichotomy is politically constructed, so therefore no other people in the world go as far as the Japanese do in constructing a "front" while simultaneously believing in completely different things. The tatemae-honne in Japan is something like "double think" straight out of 1984. And it's even a dictatorship state.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Japan encourages lying to keep the peace...as long as you don't get busted.That is paramount here.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

So let me see.. Japanese are more bothered by the fact that South Korea only came in 15th, and bothered more by that fact than the fact that they came in 4th?

No wonder Japanese are liars, look at their version of WWII history, the Fukushima coverups full of lies.

7 ( +24 / -17 )

I'm not surprised that the Japanese folks were surprised, they just lie to themselves that things are different.

Yes, perhaps lying to yourself is the most destructive way of lying... Japanese tend to lie so honestly (because it is expected from society), so they may not even feel that they're honestly lying. In Japan, how things should be is frequently confused with how things actually are. So if they think that Japan should not lie, then it does not lie, even though they're actually lying to themselves to reach that conclusion.

The Japanese say... "We have democracy... we have free speech... our system is capitalism..." even though in actuality none of those things are actually practiced in Japan. That's the tatemae. Nothing is what it seems in Japan. Nobody actually believes in anything that they say. They will change their minds the moment somebody tells them to think differently.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

It's a survey so the higher the percentage, the more honest the population is. On the flip side, the lower percentage, the more dishonest the population.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

It may be called different names but for goodness sakes WE ALL HAVE HONNE AND TATEMAE. Imagine a society without it. SHEESH. And agree that is too low of a ranking.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

The article is seem very biased trying to shift blame onto Koreans again. This kind of article make Japan look obvious and insecure with big inferior complexity.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

But probably the best at lying are the English. Their sarcasm and irony also means it is hard to tell if there are lies or not.

The best liars are those who can't tell the difference between truth and manufactured fiction.

There's no nationality with a corner on that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Where the Abe administration is concerned, they have just announced that they will officially participate in the TPP trade agreement negotiations, which is counter to campaign promises they made in 2012, prompting many to point out the fickleness of Japanese politicians."

Proof positive why I completely distrust what the Japanese politicians have said, will keep uttering lies to further their agendas. At least from my knowledge of their last century behavior to achieve their goals, these are the most dishonest politicians, worst than US I think because the Japanese politicians are so good at lying by misrepresentation, speaking half truths.

The ordinary Japanese probably lie more to show courtesy to the other party, so this is a harmless lie compared with the evil lies the politicians are capable of!

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Absolutely no surprise to anyone who has spent any significant time in Japan. Since there is no sense of guilt in Japan, lying is no big deal. It is getting caught that leads to shame that is an issue.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Just saying "kawaii" every time you see a child is a lie.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

So Peru, Argentina, and Mexico are more honest than Japan?

nigelboyMar. 27, 2013 - 08:57AM JST

It's a survey so the higher the percentage, the more honest the population is. On the flip side, the lower percentage, the more dishonest the population.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Technically it's not lying if you just leave important bits of the truth out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chucky,

I guess they are!!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Interesting. Japan may have placed 4th because of their rigid and polite society resulting in passive aggressiveness whereas Westerners are more likely to tell you directly how they feel and consequently seem more brusque/rowdy. Just compare the customer service between the two countries, or even personal relationships. I've found that my Japanese friends are more likely to be like a sounding board (I talk, you listen dichotomy) whereas my non-Japanese friends see it as a honest back and forth (imo more livelier) conversation when we talk.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hurrah for science!

Producers asked 100 people from 39 countries

..and we can therefore deduce that Japan is 4th in world liar rankings?

Were the ones who actually admitted to lying, by virtue of that confession less honest or more honest?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There is not much honesty in Japan. People are afraid of confrontation and many of them making their life really miserable. But I am also sure that this can happen in many other countries too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It is banal to say it is only Japanese who do this.

This in itself is something the Japanese are particularly skilled at. They can take pretty much ANYTHING that pretty much exists in EVERY COUNTRY and spin it so it's some kind of unique Japanese cultural trait to be respected and worthy of some kind of UNESCO style world recognition.

As far as lying, it's not lying if you first lie to yourself and convince yourself that you're not lying.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Anyway, the thing that got Japanese netizens’ knickers in a twist was the fact that Japan came in fourth at 31.8%. The panel of guests also looked quite shocked at the sheer number of naughty fibbers in their country. Newscaster Jiro Shinbo thought the explanation probably rested on participants’ understanding of the word “lie”.

Wow. Some people don't like the truth. A lie is a lie.

However, it seems to have been the fact that Korea was ranked at 15th with 20%, not just Japan’s own ranking, that most bothered some viewers, who took to the Net to complain that the rankings must have been fabricated.

Of course, if Japan was last on the list, the numbers would be fine...

It's obvious they were fabricated. How can you get point 8 people in a percentage when you have only asked 100 people?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Honne and tatemae doesn't mean you have to lie. White lies are lies, maybe necessary lies. If something is bad you don't have to say it's good. Still think some this stuff is left over from the feudal days when a samurai had the right to kill anyone of a lower class. So it is hardly likely that a farmer is going to that a samurai looked stupid in his outfit even if he thought so. But still you don't have to lie. Then there is a case at the end of the pacific war when the Showa emperor stated that, " the war didn't go as hoped". Then again, the kanji in showa can mean shinning peace.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

some14some

“Japanese tell a lot of lies because they are always thinking of others’ feelings.” for example? police, tax authorities, teachers, parents, customers.....!

For example, if your grand mother gives you a present, you will say, "Thank you. I love this." even though you actually think the present is stupid. For example, when your wife buys a new dress and asks your opinion, you will say, "You look sooooo lovely." even though you think it waste of money.

These are called Honne and Tatemae in Japanese, or white lies in English, but is nothing special to Japan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"Now, statistically speaking the average person tells three lies per ten minutes of conversation. And granted that's just regular people." -- Cal Lightman, pilot episode of "Lie to Me"

Honestly, how can you trust the responses in any survey that asks you if you lie a lot?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They will change their minds the moment somebody tells them to think differently.

This only depends upon who is telling them to think differently, and that I can say from experience. Oh and even if they do change their minds it's only a temporary affliction.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

nigelboy might be right. Many lie that they lie so the survey is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This in itself is something the Japanese are particularly skilled at. They can take pretty much ANYTHING that pretty much exists in EVERY COUNTRY and spin it so it's some kind of unique Japanese cultural trait to be respected and worthy of some kind of UNESCO style world recognition.

Interestingly, lying is not considered "uniquely Japanese". I wonder why... oh, it's because it's negative instead of positive.

As far as lying, it's not lying if you first lie to yourself and convince yourself that you're not lying.

I don't think that makes sense. If you lied to yourself then that's a lie. You may not feel lying, but objectively speaking, you are lying.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Japan hates the truth, JApan isn't perfect like the rest of the world

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@cracaphat, so true and when busted, bowed sooo low to lessen the penalty. @here for now, no sense of guilt indeed, no conscience indeed esp if he can get away with it. Perhaps because of their religious orientation. I maybe bigoted but it's what I've experienced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

well if you count a white lie as, not actually speaking whats on your mind, in fear of offending somebody or making somebody thinking badly of you. then Japan should be ranked #1.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When some Japan government official apologizes for WWII and colonialism, we know it's a lie that is designed to placate the Asian neighbors. It's not because they are really apologizing for what they did, but the apologies are designed to avoid criticisms from Asian neighbors thereby not to be confrontational in front of them. This becomes evident when as soon as an apology was made, someone inevitably turned around to the Japanese audience, and said the complete opposite of being sorry, to negate and undermine the apologies. Western Japonophile Apologists, just do not understand this critical point, so they tend to take these said apologies at its face value when in fact, they are worthless.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

I’m not sure where the decimals are coming from, since they had a round number of 100 respondents, but those are the percentages they gave.

Strong point - making this whole set of statistics smelling like BS from a mile high

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's called prototruth - a position justified by the available facts but amenable to revision in the presence of new evidence. Not an outright lie, just a flexible truth...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Wakaii ne????? Is another lie!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Lying is akin to Humility--anyone who claims to be humble are usually otherwise.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Well taking a poll of 100 people is definitely not an accurate way to tally results of any kind, even if these results came from the countries they are claiming to represent. Also the question "Do you often tell lies?" is a pretty undefined question with broad interpretations..

I'm pretty sure the regular rate of lying for most countries on Earth would be over 50%; anyone who has a job likely lies often, and anyone in professional services would be on a day-to-day basis, but that's the norm in any country in the world.

Alluding to TEPCO and Abe-san is stupid; business and politics are completely different from lying on a personal level. The South Korea 20% is obviously a load of crap though.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Lying:

Joe: What is your name? Fred: Bob.

Mild Deception, with kindness:

Did you like my omelette? It's the best you've made yet.

Misdirection: Do you love our company? What's not to love?

What we have is a vast plain of language choices dependent on intent. I think lying implies malicious intent of some kind. A slippery slope, though...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the study is flawed in that it expected people to be honest in saying they lied.. why dont you ask this as an question poll here on Japan Today? I think that Chinese are worse liars.. as they are not honest people.. Chile? Mexico? Middle Easterners are not honest people.. who is most honest should have been the question..

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I recall a British quote to the effect of "The maddening thing about Americans: If you beg off of an engagement on account of a headache, they send round the doctor!"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Kimokekahuna Hawaii: who is most honest should have been the question..

Expecting liars to be truthful about telling lies is absurd. A better gauge of honesty would be something like the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) . According to the 2012 CPI, Japan ranks 17th, just below Belgium.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan is has many liers including fraudulent politicians. For winning Votes, Abe cheated rice farmers for there will be no TPP on his watch. Now he is showing his true color. During Fukushima disaster, Noda and Yoshida lied IAEA, press and emergency workers for the real state of disaster.

Sakamoto, a fit-looking man in his early 40s, is reluctant to use the word "lie", but says: "We saw some of those press conferences in the bunker and my frank impression was that they were a long way from the truth ... I guess they wanted to prevent people panicking and workers like us evacuating the plant."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/the-kamikaze-crew-of-the-fukushima-nuclear-power-plant/story-e6frg8h6-1226592636155

Unlike Japan, no other nations did not lie about killer radiation level to Japanese. It was the lies and dishonesty of J Government who sent disaster relief workers to the hell. It was so inhumane and babaric act. They did not swallow the national pride for asking the help from foreign nuclear experts.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Corruption perception index is also flawed. Because it basically asks the citizens, if their society is corrupt. It's just an opinion poll that's similar in method to this poll. If the media of a country keeps telling their people that they are honest society, then the people may really believe it. Take the Fukushima plant corruption for instance. Most Japanese would not consider this as a serious corruption, therefore they believe Japan is less corrupt. But under the circumstances in most countries, this is an unforgivable corruption and crime. The opinions of the people would have turned for the worse.

Expecting liars to be truthful about telling lies is absurd. A better gauge of honesty would be something like the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) . According to the 2012 CPI, Japan ranks 17th, just below Belgium.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

One element here is the level of cognitive dissonance, this is particularly important where people live in countries with large lies staring them in the face daily, such as countries with a lot of religion and/or high inequality (e.g. The US). In those places there is a tendency to force yourself to believe these lies deeply (as not doing so would be uncomfortable), if you ask these people (religious, rich and/or poor) if they lie, they will frequently deny they do, even though they lie daily about religion and the reasons for such massive inequality. Perhaps as Japan doesn`t have religion or massive inequality, so people are more concious when they depart from the truth.

-7 ( +1 / -7 )

Finally , A useful FACT!! and that's not Lie!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Ewan Huzarmy You repulsed her that much that even after a year of being together your gf dumped you by trying to escape to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean and not tell you her whereabouts or try to contact you? Haha, the problem is quite clearly with you, not her mate..

Also, because you had one bad experience with some woman, the entire nation (that she is from) is full of liars? By your logic, I can conclude that there are nations full of liars everywhere then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sadly J government does not concern about Japanese people safety or well being. Some Teachers even asked victim school kids to lie about their hometown. It is morally unacceptable and inhumane.

School boy from Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, who had transferred to a school in Chiba Prefecture was asked by a teacher at the new school, "Are you going to keep it secret that you come from Fukushima Prefecture?" The boy's mother, who had accompanied her son to the school, did not understand what the teacher meant, and said there was no need to do so. The boy then took a seat in front of the teacher's desk but no one sat next to him.

[Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, April 22, 2011]

1 ( +3 / -2 )

this survey is a lie.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japanese deviated media should be top in fabricating rankings.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not that just some people are more evil and they lie more often. It's usually a result of a long historical process, and very strict social control which forced people to be hypocritical.

In society everyone's an actor who gets a certain role to play. In Japan which used to be highly bureaucratic when it comes to family, some men had the possibility to decide about the life and death of other family members, practically without any justification. With this attitude people were just objects of trade.

Basing on this fact I presume people often had a choice to either lie or die, which perhaps became later the factor of natural selection. On the other hand this constant feel of threat from the householder created a whole system of honorifics which are present even today. I doubt there is a nation which has more honorifics than Japan. Maybe also the Japanese culture with its horrifying monsters is a psychological reproduction of the fear of people, who can decide about your life and death.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not an outright lie, just a flexible truth...

Sounds like a response a politician would make. Please explain to me the difference between an outright lie vs not an outright lie?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think Japanese people lie so much they don't even know they're lying. I once saw a friend across a station concourse and jokingly called him to ask where he was, to which he replied he was at work and would be for several more hours but we could meet up at 9pm as we always did on a Friday. When I then walked up to him and patted his shoulder he was quite shocked. I asked him why he lied, and he said it was because he didn't want me to think he was lazy and had left work before 7pm.

I could give another hundred examples. I just genuinely believe Japanese people lie without even thinking because they think it's socially normal.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Peru took the top spot on the list with 39.1%, followed by Argentina (33.6%) and Mexico (32.7%). I’m not sure where the decimals are coming from, since they had a round number of 100 respondents, but those are the percentages they gave.

Oh, the irony! LOL

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

he said it was because he didn't want me to think he was lazy and had left work before 7pm.

Kringis, what if that was another lie, and he wanted to demonstrate his uniquely Japanese work ethic;)

Since leaving Japan, I've had to deprogram myself from all the white-lie stuff. In my own country I'd never have to tell my workmates a "relative died and I have to go back to my hometown", so I could take time off for an overseas trip in holiday time, so I wouldn't provoke jealousy and be lumped with extra work as punishment for my audacity etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SK as a people should be first on this list. =This is a nation that is split physically, and spiritually. I for one would like to see Korea become one again and feel it would be a beautiful thing and make a powerful nation and people become 3x stronger (just like Germany). --> Think about it Korea. Why keep looking in the mirror and denying yourself?

I would also force all the SK Galapagos (flip-phone) users to donate their phones to their new family in the North and upgrade to "smart" phones.

To justify this cause I will never use the terms "SK"/"NK" anymore and instead use "K" (the big K). --> I am sick of lying about this and strongly feel these people are the same no matter what the politicians, media and war-mongers say. Never again will I be fooled into this lie and refuse to take part in it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Abe, Noda, Yoshida and Ishihara who has lied before will keep lying to Japanese people, media, school kids and disaster victims. If there is a lie detector test while they were making speech, most of the words are lies. They can not be trusted anymore!

Every night they lie down on the bed and thinking about who or what to lie tomorrow. Lying will stop only for these politicians while they are lying on the bed for sleep.

Sadly not only leaders of Japan but also history books are lies too. New generation are being taught with fabricated and polished history.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is very amazing result, I think. We Japanese know it is important to consider other people and how they may judge us. So, when we make tatemae, foreigners think "it is lie", but really it is only kindness, to help smooth life.

For example, many Japanese answered "We are big liar" to this anket. If we say honest, we hurt feeling for foreigner people who say many lies, such as "Iraq have many weapons", "War will make safety world", et setela.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I wouldn't say Japanese people are liars per se, but they do tend to conceal their true feelings... not really lying.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"However, it seems to have been the fact that Korea was ranked at 15th with 20%, not just Japan’s own ranking, that most bothered some viewers, who took to the Net to complain that the rankings must have been fabricated."

Classic Japanese culture.

nigelboy: "It's a survey so the higher the percentage, the more honest the population is. On the flip side, the lower percentage, the more dishonest the population."

True enough, and likewise that is the reason why Japan has the highest rate of minor cosmetic surgery in Asia -- because of the sheer population (many of whom go to Korea on tours have it done) do it. But mention that fact to a Japanese and watch heads spin.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Wait a minute .. so the Japanese didn't really think I was good with chopsticks??

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As a Seinfeld fanatic, I would have loved to be on this show and introduce George Constanza's famous dictum: "It's not a lie if you believe it."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"smithinjapan"- What does plastic surgery have to do with anything about lying? Everyone knows about the waves of Japanese and Chinese going to get their body done in Korea. So the whole thing is moot when most of your customers are foreigners. In terms of numbers, Korea does not surpass the numbers presented by China and Japan in their own domestic markets. The whole ranking system is flawed because it ranks by per capita in which case, China is nowhere near the top.

As for Japan being on rank 4 for lying. I don't see what's the big deal. I bet China and North Korea are even more corrupt than Japan. Why doesn't this article list the top 4. I would really love to see. It only lists Japan as number 4 and how some netizens having a tantrum over South Korea being lower on the list.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

EastAsiaForeigner: ""smithinjapan"- What does plastic surgery have to do with anything about lying?"

It's in the article, so I commented on it.

(from article): "Others pointed to Korea’s teaching of history and high rates of plastic surgery as evidence of their dishonesty."

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The only surprise here is that Japan isn't number 1. Never before in my life did I experience lies and then begin to lie myself, than in Japan, especially at work.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So, when we make tatemae, foreigners think "it is lie", but really it is only kindness, to help smooth life.

If you think this you are kidding yourself. How about the Japanese folks that lie when caught doing something wrong? That's kindness? The Japanese kids in school that lie about some misdeed or another? That's kindness?

Japanese use tatemae as an excuse at times to excuse their lying when they don't want to admit that they were wrong. Many Japanese, particularly kids I've seen will go to great lengths not to tell the truth, no out of kindness but out a an almost inbred belief that if they told the truth the world is going to end.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wouldn't say Japanese people are liars per se

It's either lying or not, there is no "per se" or not.

The better question is however is all lying wrong? Is lying justifiable or right at times? I would say YES. I would say too that as a foreigner in Japan there are times where it's better to lie than tell the truth as well. Keeps the peace.

I do also believe though that people who were raised with Judeo-Christian values will find fault with that because of the idea of sin, or guilt that that's associated with, not telling the truth.

I don't think that the Japanese however are encumbered by those beliefs so lying in many cases, under the guise of tatemae is not wrong but actually expected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know... there are many kinds of lies... White lies, Broken promises, Fabrication, Bold-faced lie, Exaggeration, Deception, Plagiarism, Compulsive lying... Some people won't recognize this lies as lies thus how inaccurate the survey. I'm not saying Japan should get lower but just saying. What I did just now is plagiarism from a website http://www.thehopeline.com/blogs/dawson/archive/2009/08/14/the-different-kinds-of-lies-you-tell unless it's OK.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If this poll was about bold in your face verbal lying I must admit Japan Gov/Tepco is #1, with American Presidents being #2. Korea (both) the absolute bottom spot. -Honest to a fault.

However, living the lie Korea is number #1 (a un-unified people). -A very bizarre logic contrast. The only thing that comes close logically was the Irish people accepting austerity and accepting Gov/banker corruption (theft) -I was very hard for me to logically accept while Iceland prosecuted the banker fraud/theft. Humans are bizarre creatures with convoluted logic it seems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We Japanese know it is important to consider other people and how they may judge us. So, when we make tatemae, foreigners think "it is lie", but really it is only kindness, to help smooth life.

Thats what Japanese like to think, in essence it is often true but in practice we would be hard pushed to find the kindness in many cases.

The principle of honne and tatemae can be admirable in avoiding undesired awkwardness and confrontation and a lot of foreigners would be well advised to get a grip on it, but it tends to lend itself as a simple self-serving justification for many Japanese to lie and as a cultural vindication for it- which does not exist in other cultures.

But it's not kindness when promises are not fulfilled on the grounds of bullshit excuses, when there was never any intention to fulfill them in the first place. "Yeah, thats only your starting salary, but with satisfactory performance you will soon be making much more..." It will be argued that it is not a lie because the levels of performance were not met, no doubt never fully intimated and with the bar set impossibly high, but we are now seriously starting to stretch the limits of credibility. And this kind of thing happens all the time in Japan. It's lies, the Japanese are wont to tell them and its no wonder they are near the top of the league.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My adult Japanese students lie constantly; "did you do your homework?" "yes" "where is it?". Actually I didn't do it". What?!

"Do you understand"? "yes" "Okay, what is....?" (silence)

These are adults remember, and they lie as if what nothing unusual, or nothing to be ashamed of at all.

How many teachers have the same experience?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Japanese tell a lot of lies because they are always thinking of others’ feelings.”

After 15 years in this country I know the reality of this; Japanese do not consider others from some heartfelt compassion for others, it's out of fear of upsetting others, or appearing "un-Japanese-like".

Fear is the undercurrent of Japanese culture.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wonder if men or women lie more..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@megosaaMar. 27, 2013 - 04:47PM JST

this survey is a lie.

Tell you what. Japan as I noted here are so good at repeated lying that they hope to convince others that their 'facts' eventually lead turn into gold! Unfortunately facts don't lie and no matter how you try to convince others the sun is square, it is still round!

The only way Japanese people and politicians in particular can break out of their lying cultural habit some harmless, some insidious is to go out of Japan, live overseas especially in USA where lies are smacked down and liers are made to feel embarrassed like being paraded as a loser in American Idol for the world to see. That will jolt Japan into mainstream consciousness and not be such an alien culture country!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tony Ew Mar. 28, 2013 - 07:00AM JST The only way Japanese people and politicians in particular can break out of their lying cultural habit some harmless, some insidious is to go out of Japan

Do you want these people to move to China where you are living and learn the truth?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@sfjp330

Tony Ew Mar. 28, 2013 - 07:00AM JST The only way Japanese people and politicians in particular can break out of their lying cultural habit some harmless, some insidious is to go out of Japan

Do you want these people to move to China where you are living and learn the truth?

So you can extrapolate my observation about Japan to triangulate that I am from China? Classic lier tactics caught red handed. Hope you are not part of the statistics being interviewed!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do you tell a lie? I will answer, YES. Because I am honest woman.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“In Japanese culture, we have the concepts of honne and tatemae, or the contrast between one’s behavior and one’s opinions. So, it’s probably not malicious lies, but white lies that protect the other persons feelings that the respondents are thinking of when they say yes.”

I call BS on this bit too. I have been left gobsmacked at the porkies Japanese tell and very little of it has to do with other peoples feelings and a LOT to do with either their OWN feelings or saving face.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Nep & Imoto’s World Rankings ... asked 39 people from 100 countries ... garbage polling methodology, it's just a junk TV show psuedo scientific scam. Boooring.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would like to know the country or place where people are the most honest with themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How did North Korea not take the cake on this one? Were they left out to give other countries a chance?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lies are not good even if you do not want to hurt someones feelings. In the end they hurt more than the truth when someone finds that you lied to them. It harms in many ways and leaves behind it bitterness int heart of the one who has been lied to as well as mistrust for the person who has lied. I tend to trust very few here because of finding so many lying to me and then saying something different to someone else. I trust the ones who care enough to tell the truth.

jj1980, North Koreans were forbidden to speak.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It may be called different names but for goodness sakes WE ALL HAVE HONNE AND TATEMAE. Imagine a society without it. SHEESH.

I don't know why you got two thumbs down. The movie "Liar, Liar" drove home the point about what happens when "white" lies cannot be uttered. EVERYBODY does it to some extent.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, according to Japan Today, some stupid TV show made an uneducated and cheap programme attempting to rank national stereotyping in how to lie, and this suddenly becomes the "world liar rankings" and worthy of publishing as such?

I guarantee that the British are far more likely to lie to you than the Japanese, who regard telling a lie as shameful. And I'm British.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"So, when we make tatemae, foreigners think "it is lie", but really it is only kindness, to help smooth life."

What a crock. And the funniest part of it is that if you say foreigners do the same thing some time this kind of person would say, "Tatemae is Japanese culture; a foreigner cannot understand it". Lies don't help 'smooth life' -- they help block it, or cover it up.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Fadamor: "I don't know why you got two thumbs down. The movie "Liar, Liar" drove home the point about what happens when "white" lies cannot be uttered. EVERYBODY does it to some extent."

Ain't that the truth! (or is it??) And I haven't thought about Liar, Liar in quite a while, so thanks. As for said poster getting a couple of thumbs down, there are a few posters on here who like to click on your profile and simply thumb you down on all comments if they don't agree with what you say on one or two. This is a thread about Japan ranking 4th in terms of world liars, so it's not a surprise some people get upset -- as Japanese netizens have -- when you point out the content of the article to them. It's part of the lie, in fact -- they don't want to admit or believe it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"However, it seems to have been the fact that Korea was ranked at 15th with 20%, not just Japan’s own ranking, that most bothered some viewers, who took to the Net to complain that the rankings must have been fabricated."

No surprise here -- those of us who read opinions on both sides of The Strait know most common lie among Korea-bashing Japanese netizens is that they couldn't care less about those inferior Koreans^^

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

They are Liars, but you are manipulators.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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