lifestyle

YouTuber conducts experiment to test Japanese people’s honesty

35 Comments
By Scott Wilson, RocketNews24

We’ve seen examples time and time again of how honest the people of Japan are. In many countries where leaving your property alone in plain sight for five seconds means it’s basically already gone, it can be a little hard to believe.

So to test out just how honest the Japanese people really are, Japanese YouTuber Zenim at the channel Monkey Python decided to carry out a little social experiment.

He walked around the Harajuku area and intentionally dropped his wallet immediately after passing by some people. He then kept walking and waited to see if anyone returned the wallet, of if they kept the leather treasure for themselves.

How many of the 15 tests ended in honesty? Watch the video below to find out.

The first drop. Down goes the wallet inconspicuously out the back pocket. We’ve got a spotter! Will they return it, or pocket the pocketbook? And they return it!

The next dropped wallet gets spotted instantly. Is that woman excited to return it, or to get some free easy cash? Honesty wins out again. Go, green team!

And the wallet keeps getting returned again……and again……and again, all the way to the end. That’s 15 out of 15 returned.

Of course, to be fair, the experiment isn’t perfect. Zenim did drop the wallet in a very public place, so chances are there were others besides the person who returned it who saw him drop it. That makes it harder to stuff the wallet in your own pocket knowing that there might be judging eyes out there watching what you do.

It would be interesting to run a similar experiment in a more private setting where there would be no such public consequences and see if the results were the same. Either that, or, we can stop testing the Japanese people’s honesty and just appreciate them for being awesome. That works too.

Source: YouTube/Monkey Python via grapee

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35 Comments
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Yes, honestly in this respect is one of the nicest aspects of Japanese society. Shame the concept of doesn't apply to Japanese politicians and Japan Corp.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

This is an April Fools, right?

This 'experiment' has failed before it even started - the fact it was done in public, who would risk being spotted pocketing a wallet they found on the ground!? Put the wallet somewhere NOBODY can see and you will get some interesting results; that will be a better judge of honesty.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

It's good to be honest.

But I didn't like the caption at the start of the video:

世界一誠実な国、日本。 "Japan is the most honest country in the world"

It reflects a kind of smug superiority that seems to be increasing among Japanese people these days.

I have seen programs on Japanese TV like this.

In one, unbelievably, the had a Japanese person drop a bag of shopping in different capital cities around the world to see how honesty compares among countries... they started off with Japan... oh very honest, all shopping returned... but what about those big bad foreigners...

I think the mentality that would make such a program is really kind of nasty.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

15/15 100%

1 ( +3 / -2 )

being honest is good but showing off that you are honest doesn't give a good impression, that's pride..

10 ( +13 / -3 )

All this while ignoring his nuisance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sorry, but this is done by a Japanese poster saying that Japan is 'the most honest country in the world' and in a very public place where people are shopping. It is therefore quiet dishonest in itself. For his comment to be actually true he would need to:

1) conduct the same experiment in every single nation of the world, or at the very least in AT LEAST one other nation besides Japan.

2) Do it in poor areas of Japan (which has a richer middle-class than most countries to begin with) and/or areas of Japan that are not so populated as well as those that are. I find that while many people here are quick to return things or else take them to the police station (and I do as well, despite not being Japanese! Shock!!), many will just avoid touching whatever is dropped and leaving it where it is (not taking it, mind you). That is less the case when people see who actually dropped it, I believe, but again, the guy has to do the experiment in not so crowded/populated areas.

I DO believe Japanese people are quite honest on the whole when it comes to this kind of thing, but to say that Japan is the most honest country in the world when he has done this nowhere else is starting the whole thing off with a lie, and a sense of superiority which makes the video even more questionable.

Expect this to make more waves in the Japanese media than elsewhere as, as with this guy, many people pat themselves on the back over it.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Propaganda, or self-aggrandizing!?

Somebody should tell this guy the same experiment there are dozens of Youtube videos from other countries with the same restuls:

So much for the myth of 'Japanese honesty'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4NuTGlzmWE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8QHrmwFj_U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojqCFt5uwrc

4 ( +7 / -3 )

What do you think will happen if you drop your wallet in the warm-hearted country, Japan?

Japan is the most sincere country in the world.

Sounds like something other than honesty is the real issue here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In one, unbelievably, the had a Japanese person drop a bag of shopping in different capital cities around the world to see how honesty compares among countries... they started off with Japan... oh very honest, all shopping returned... but what about those big bad foreigners...

You think the mainstream media here is racist? Just come out to Minato-Ward on Sundays, there's Japanese nationalists parading around everywhere with blaring loudspeakers, black vans and so on.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A bit of an aside, but I've met alot of Japanese people over the years who are under the mistaken impression that if they find and return money then they are legally entitled to a reward of 10%. It seems to be one of the most prolific urban legends out there.

A Japanese friend of mine once had his lost wallet turned in at a koban and when he arrived to collect it, the stranger who found it (a young man in his 20s) was still there and insisted that he get paid his 10% (he even counted the money in the wallet before turning it in!). My friend refused to pay up since it had only been 10 or 15 minutes since the wallet was missing and he would have found it by retracing his steps if the stranger hadn't intervened and picked it up. A few unpleasant words were exchanged and the 'kind' stranger eventually gave up and went on his way.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If the video was uploaded a year ago, why is this news now?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Arrogant self serving pride filled video which is totally biased both in objectivity and filming.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

A Japanese friend of mine once had his lost wallet turned in at a koban and when he arrived to collect it, the stranger who found it (a young man in his 20s) was still there and insisted that he get paid his 10% (he even counted the money in the wallet before turning it in!). My friend refused to pay up since it had only been 10 or 15 minutes since the wallet was missing and he would have found it by retracing his steps if the stranger hadn't intervened and picked it up. A few unpleasant words were exchanged and the 'kind' stranger eventually gave up and went on his way.

In all fairness these two people are from the same tree = value money over all else (consumerism). The smart man would have gave him all the "money" because it would have made him happy (that is what this person values) and thanked him for "guarding" his wallet.

You must be generous in your life: What you get back will be far more in "worth" than some worthless fiat paper. 15/15 = good karma = happy people on their path in life.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cripes crap like this is made to reinforce a fallacy about the honesty and high morals of Japan. You know what, basically speaking people ALL over the world are honest and would do their best to assist or help someone else, Japan isn't special. There are plenty of creeps and criminals here too, and not everyone would return the wallet.

I hate these stereotypes about this country. Japanese are no better, and nor worse than anyone anywhere else!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@ M3M3M3

Actually the law states that the owner must pay the finder no less that 5% and no more that 20% of the valueof the lost property. (Article 28 of the Lost Goods Law)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Really this is Abe's fault. With the "negative interest" rates cash is looked at as a hot potato now. Why would anyone want cash when you must pay interest on it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, this is one of the things Japan does well: respect for personal property. Heaven forbid you leave your umbrella unattended though!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think most of us "foreigners" would have to agree that, in terms of personal safety, Japan is indeed incredibly safe, especially if we were to compare large metropolitan areas here to those in our home countries. While I don't know the true statistics, in my opinion, people here are less likely to be victims of a violent mugging or robbery where physical force and/or weapons are involved. Car theft, burglary, and home invasions are also, once again, in my opinion, far less prevalent in Japan than in the cities of my own relatively safe homeland of Canada. However, I think non-violent petty theft in Japan, while perhaps being statistically less common than in other developed, first world countries, is far from being a rare occurrence. I’m sure many of us have our own personal anecdotes or know of others’ experiences which would disqualify Japan from being "the most sincere country in the world" as stated in the video.

During my eighteen years in Japan, I have lived in areas from rural, and everything in-between, to urban (central Tokyo). There has not been one community in which I have lived where I haven't seen signs and posters around the neighbourhoods warning residents to be careful of purse snatching (ひったくり / 引ったくり). When I first came to Japan and was working as an ALT at a senior high school, every month, without fail, there was at least one report about students stealing from one another or being caught for shoplifting. I myself have had bicycles stolen twice: once from the station and once from the bicycle parking area at my place of work in which I was the only non-Japanese employee. That bicycle was, however, miraculously returned to the same place from where it was stolen once word got around the office that I had filed a police report. I guess guilt, or more likely fear of being caught, was incentive enough for my sticky-fingered coworker to return my bike.

The following is something I posted about a friend’s experience after reading a similar article on Japan Today from a couple of years ago (http://www.japantoday.com/category/arts-culture/view/saudi-arabian-tv-tempts-would-be-thieves-in-tokyo-to-test-japans-honesty).

Years ago, my American friend and her Japanese boyfriend stopped off to have lunch at an okonomiyaki restaurant in Hachinohe, Aomori on their way to buy snowboarding gear. My friend had about 60,000 yen in her wallet. The table at which they were seated had a small shelf for belongings built into it underneath the table top, which is where my friend placed her wallet. Prior to being served their order, a family of four entered: dad, mom, and two teenaged daughters. The owner asked my friend and her boyfriend if they would mind moving to the counter so the family could sit at the table. When they moved to the counter, my friend forgot her wallet at the table which she didn't realize until after they had finished eating and it was time to pay for their meals. Her boyfriend went over to the table and asked the father, who was sitting where my friend had previously been seated, to check the shelf under the table top for her wallet. The father took a cursory glance under the table and said it was not there. Noticing that he had barely even looked under the table, the boyfriend then took it upon himself to check, and, sure enough, the wallet was there. Finding the father's behaviour slightly odd, but not overly suspicious, the boyfriend went back to the counter and handed the wallet to my friend; however, when she opened the wallet, it was completely empty of the 60,000 or so yen it had previously held.

A confrontation between the father and my friend and her boyfriend then ensued. Luckily, they were regular customers, so the owner had sided with them, and, eventually, the police had to be called. Apparently, the father was making random accusations saying, at first, that the boyfriend had somehow stolen his girlfriend's money in the few seconds it took him to go from the table back to the counter after discovering the wallet. He then shifted the accusations to both of them and claimed that it was some kind of ruse to swindle him out of his own money.

Long story short, the police, who had grown very suspicious of the father's behaviour and random accusations against my friend and her boyfriend, asked him to step outside. A few minutes later, the father reentered the restaurant, approached my friend, bowed deeply, and handed over the exact amount of cash that had been taken from the wallet. Whether or not the wife and two daughters were aware of what the father had done was difficult to tell as they had apparently all kept their heads down, eyes fixed on the table throughout the entire ordeal. In the end, the police asked my friend if she wanted them to pursue criminal charges against the father, but she decided against it, partly because she didn't want to bring anymore shame upon the the wife and the daughters in the case that they were truly unaware of what the father had done.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

as a white foreigner in japan i would probably not touch a wallet in the street. I would fear that on the way to taking it to someone in authority I would be accused of stealing it.

as to honest japanese, I wish the 4 times my car was dented/scratched while parked that the persons who did it had been more honest.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

as a white foreigner in japan i would probably not touch a wallet in the street. I would fear that on the way to taking it to someone in authority I would be accused of stealing it.

What "Japan"are you living in? It's a matter of having proper morals, pick it up, do the right thing. You worried about whatever based upon your skin color? I am "white" and I have taken Japanese citizenship, and I get all sorts of BS, BUT when it comes to doing the right thing, dont matter one bit what your skin color is, it matters what is inside you!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Oh! the dishonesty of one Japanese fool to prove such sincere honesty from the others! Truly a well researched and reported social experiment!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well its a new Fiscal year in Japan.... its month one to start all over again extolling the virtues of Japan and the Japanese by the Japanese themselves: We're in for more.... Toilet and Bathroom Bliss, Japanese Cuisine is always on the Menu, Safety, Honesty, Cleanliness, Organized, Quality and On Time. Is the Japanese self esteem really that low that they need to constantly remind themselves of their virtues? Watch a month of nightly Variety programming.... I'd be surprised if they did not, more than once, allude to all of the above.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@badsey3

The smart man would have gave him all the "money" because it would have made him happy

You sound like a really nice person, I hope I find your wallet someday :)

@Hellokitty123

Actually the law states that the owner must pay the finder no less that 5% and no more that 20% of the valueof the lost property. (Article 28 of the Lost Goods Law)

Thank you, I'll have to have a look. I know some European countries do have a system of legal rewards. With any reward, I imagine the biggest problem would be precisely defining when something is actually 'lost', otherwise people could grab all those unattended macbooks at starbucks and turning them into the Koban claiming they were lost and demanding a reward. I've lost my car in the Ikea parking-lot a few times, I'm glad nobody found it and demanded 10%!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan a fairly deceptive society. But people don't take things that don't belong to them much and it is safe. Generally, although not always, people rigidly behave according to rules. Generally, street crime is very low. But, at the same time, the first sentence, about "how honest the people of Japan are" is just untrue. People will deceive you in Japan. Deception is perhaps considered socially acceptable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

1) conduct the same experiment in every single nation of the world, or at the very least in AT LEAST one other nation besides Japan.

Similar experiments have been done in other countries. I remember one done in the UK that was also done in a public place whilst there were quite a few people around. Although the majority of people returned the wallet, a number first checked to see how much money was inside - and a minority kept it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Once I forgot in a train a bag with more than 4-50man worth of photography equipment. I found it at the last station, together with a complete inventory list of all the items in it (including some things I even forgot I had in there, see, messy bag and lifestyle) made by the lady who found it, together with the station master. Yes, ever since then, Japan is for me a very honest country.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Yubaru: "What "Japan"are you living in? It's a matter of having proper morals, pick it up, do the right thing. You worried about whatever based upon your skin color? I am "white" and I have taken Japanese citizenship, and I get all sorts of BS, BUT when it comes to doing the right thing, dont matter one bit what your skin color is, it matters what is inside you!"

It is about the surveillance society here where I feel always under supervision even though I make a high salary and dress appropriately. At my gym if I am near the lockers I feel the locals make an extra effort to double check their locks, etc. Same with locking cars when they see me. I am glad you fit in. Must be nice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think picking up a wallet and giving it back shows honesty, it just shows normal human behavior.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Christopher GlenAPR. 03, 2016 - 07:49PM JST Yes, this is one of the things Japan does well: respect for personal property. Heaven forbid you leave your umbrella unattended though!

Or your bicycle. Lets's do a social experiment around the world and see which country steals the most umbrellas and bicycles!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Take a look at that video again and see how happy people are to give back that wallet. Even the two dogs get very excited and the one owner even thanks her dog. =Many people went out of their way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

as a white foreigner in japan i would probably not touch a wallet in the street. I would fear that on the way to taking it to someone in authority I would be accused of stealing it.

I absolutely agree. Don't touch it!

One day I was helping my Japanese friend organise a birthday party. The guests had placed their bags and coats on a table, and my friend asked me to move them to another spot. Just as I started doing so, one of the guests suddenly yelled at me in English "excuse me, don't touch my bag!"

It was an awkward moment for us all.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Tessa, right on. There is a deep ingrained cultural delusion that foreigners are dishonest, and Japanese are not.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

as a white foreigner in japan i would probably not touch a wallet in the street. I would fear that on the way to taking it to someone in authority I would be accused of stealing it.

If you're a minority in the US, you'll get killed for doing such a thing! I guess it's better to be white in Japan than a minority in the US?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's difficult to steal when everybody can see ya steal.

Experiment a situation where the stealer has a good chance of getting away with something obviously worth stealing.

Now the risk-reward becomes a fair dilemma and would make for a good behavior experiment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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