Omotenashi – Japanese hospitality and education

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From an early age the Japanese strive to have education and hospitality as a philosophy of life, a habit rooted in Japanese culture and society, and this culture is called Omotenashi.

In today's article we are going to talk about this Japanese hospitality that impresses people all over the world. Let's examine and understand all the meanings behind the word omotenashi.

Meaning of Omotenashi

Omotenashi is a very popular expression that can be translated as hospitality in Japanese, but its meanings and concept go far beyond that. It refers to education, politeness, harmony and peace.

The expression Omotenashi is written "[お持て成し] or [御持て成し]" which can be literally translated as hospitality, reception, treatment, service and entertainment. In addition to these meanings, this expression indicates "to do everything possible".

Let's examine the meaning of each ideogram:

  • - honorific of polite, humble, honorable;
  • 持て - Verb that means to be able, to endure, to receive;
    • Ideogram - Hold, have;
  • 成し - Verb - carry out, finish, fulfill, be able to, build;
    • - Ideogram - transform, grow, become;
Omotenashi - Japanese hospitality and education

The origin of omotenashi

The origin of this expression is well unknown, some claim that it originated from the expression motenasu [持て成す] which uses the same ideograms, but means "entertain and welcome". Others claim that nashi [無し] gives to understand a Hospitality without Superficiality.

According to some ancient records, the phrase mono wo motte nashitogeru [モノを持って成し遂げる] gave rise to omotenashi currently used. This translated phrase means "realize with thing", which doesn't make any sense in Portuguese.

But philosophically, it means that we must welcome the visitor or customer in the best possible way, without ulterior motives and with a pure heart.

The word mono in japanese it means thing, but in that sentence it was written exactly in katakana to refer not just to literal things, but invisible things like feelings.

Omotenashi - Japanese hospitality and education

The Japanese are taught from childhood to take care of each other and act with etiquette, hospitality and politeness. Much of Japanese etiquette has its origins in the formal rituals of tea ceremonies and martial arts.

Kindness and compassion were core values of the bushido (Way of the Warrior), the samurai code of ethics. Today, the concept of omotenashi is mainly adopted in commercial managements.

What is involved Omotenashi?

Omotenashi it involves treating your guest, client or neighbor in the best possible way. It's like the golden rule that says "Treat others as you would like to be treated". And all this without expecting anything in return or with ulterior motives.

All this hospitality is done without fanfare and with a lot of discretion, in a silent, delicate and subtle way. It is a feeling that involves humility, honesty, friendship and love.

Although Japan has problems with social classes, in omotenashi there is no distinction between host and guest, or attendant and customer, both are treated as equals, with mutual respect.

It involves helping with a smile, empathy and wholehearted kindness. It is because of this kindness that Japan has a reputation as the most polite country in the world. Even if it seems impossible for everyone to practice omotenashi, it's worth remembering that Kindness attracts Kindness! Sometimes even the mafia practices omotenashi.

Omotenashi also involves positive thinking, the person doesn't see faults or problems of others, he doesn't try to meddle in other people's lives, he doesn't think about things like revenge, nor is he trying to argue and create strife.

Omotenashi - Japanese hospitality and education

The person who wants to have a humble, honest and hospitable lifestyle should avoid thinking and focusing on negative things, clearing his mind and seeing only positive things. Since it is impossible to act and treat all goods, knowing that all have defects, flaws and imperfection.

Unfortunately some follow more omotenashi out of discipline and not politeness. Some companies and stores have written and precise rules outlining how the host must meet and behave in front of the customer.

The real omotenashi involves treating people well, without needing rules, of course they are vital to teach and ingrain politeness and hospitality in people, especially children.

Omotenashi - Japanese hospitality and education

Examples of Omotenashi

Below we will see some aspects of Japan and its culture that show Omotenashi:

  • Use surgical masks to avoid infecting others;
  • Give your neighbors soap boxes before starting work;
  • the practice of to-bow and use the keigo;
  • Apologize for anything, even if it's not your fault;
  • Japanese people do not accept tips.
  • Cleanliness, do not throw garbage in the streets;
  • Punctuality, including public transport;
  • Trying to help even if you don't have the ability;
  • Find a wallet and take it to the police;
  • Taxi doors opening by themselves;
  • The toilet seat lifts up by itself;
  • Signs made cute and sometimes apologetic;
  • Children clean up schools;
  • Beat cigarette ash in your hand and put it in your pocket;
  • Accessibility for the Disabled in Japan;
  • The art and appearance of Japanese cuisine;

Of course, not everything is wonderful, not all people are the same, this means that not all Japanese people practice this philosophy and lifestyle.

Understand that everything is relative and that there will always be good and bad people everywhere, think about it before commenting nonsense. What matters is everyone doing their part and practicing the omotenashi.

Hope you enjoyed the article. If you liked it, share it and leave your comments. Do you know another point that serves as an example to show the culture of omotenashi?

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