Learn about Japanese cultural values

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Do you know the cultural and moral values of the Japanese? In this article we will look at some cultural values that are seen and taught in moral learning classes in Japanese schools and also in everyday life.

Like everyone else, Japanese people are individual, each with their own ways of life, hopes and desires. Still, there is a certain popular pattern that can define the lifestyle of Japanese people that we will address in this article.

Like everyone else, Japanese people are individual, each with their own ways of life, hopes and desires. Still, there is a certain popular pattern that can define the lifestyle of Japanese people that we will address in this article.

How do the Japanese view their cultural values?

Cultural values are held in high esteem in Japanese society, although this is not the total reality, it is much more visible to find these Japanese cultural values being applied in Japan than other countries that have their cultural values. We know this because Japanese people follow the rules to the letter, whether they like it or not.

As Japanese people have suffered many difficulties over the years, their history is considered a major factor in the basis of their values. Some Japanese traditions are based on their deep cultural roots in Confucianism and the Buddhist and Shintoist religions.

Nature is also highly valued in Japanese culture. The main Japanese values are seen through the meticulous care they put into gardening and landscaping.

Learn about Japanese cultural values

Cultural values of Japan related to behavior

Self-control and self-discipline – The Japanese will try to maintain their self-control and self-discipline no matter what. They are able to hide feelings, emotions and reactions in any critical situation. Self-discipline is the ability to seek what is right despite the temptations to do otherwise.

Resistance and patience are the foundation of a good member of society. That means putting aside your own desires and doing what is expected of you. Japanese people tend to try to find an appropriate way to adapt their own desires to the demands of others and thus avoid offending or damaging their image and others.

Silence – In Japanese culture, those who speak very little are considered credible. Their non-verbal cues and communication are more important than verbal communication. They believe that indirect language creates social harmony.

The mouth is the cause of calamity.

Learn about Japanese cultural values

Japanese values that involve social life and unity

Think first about how your actions will affect others around you.

  • The group is stronger than the individual…
  • Group harmony comes before individual needs.
  • Don’t stand out, know your place, don’t try to change how things are done.
  • Form and process are more important than results.
  • It is understood that harmony means avoiding direct confrontations in daily life.

Social hierarchy and respect for age – We owe a lot to our elders. As such, they should be respected, valued and considered first.

Do not question people “above you” (teachers, bosses, politicians, people from certain families and professions, etc.);

Show gratitude in everything you do. Despite your own talents and hard work, any success you have would not be possible without the kindness and help of others.

The family is significantly valued from your social point of view. Family members are always placed before others in society.

Education is highly valued in Japanese society. This usually defines a person’s social position and status.

The Nail that stands out is the first to be hammered

Learn about Japanese cultural values

Japanese values involving the organization

Life is contained in all things, even objects. Therefore, use objects in such a way that they attend to their full potential.

  • Don’t waste food.
  • Reuse old objects.
  • Keep your environment clean and tidy.
  • All things are connected.

A disorganized and disharmonious environment leads to a disorganized mind and conflict.

Subtlety in all forms is harmonious and contributes to the general good. Aesthetic expression, opinions, business – everything should be conducted with discretion and decorum.

Striving for perfection. This value is responsible for Japan’s high level of quality and service. The Japanese strive to do everything in the right and perfect way, they know that it is not always possible.

Learn about Japanese cultural values

What can we conclude from Japan’s cultural values?

There are values that are significantly used to build and maintain a social and commercial relationship. The Japanese are informed and prepared to apply reciprocity, harmony and organization.

If we summarize Japanese cultural values, we can list them:

  • Harmony – 調和 (chōwa);
  • Collectivity – 集団主義 (shūdanshugi);
  • Hierarchy – 序列の秩序 (joretsu no titsujo);
  • Impermanence – 無常観 (mujōkan);
  • Respect for elders – 年配者尊敬 (nempaisha sonkei);


Of course, many other values can be left out, as there are thousands of Japanese ideas, codes, lessons and proverbs that we can apply in our lives. What did you think of Japan’s cultural values? Do you remember any that were not mentioned?

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