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Thread: Saving Face, a Discussion

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    Saving Face, a Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski
    During the discussion of the Takahashi / Morosov split, a discussion of saving face in Japanese culture occurred.

    The mods have decided that that part of the discussion belongs in the Politics forum.

    Please post your experiences of Saving Face in Japan vs. in other countries.

    Do you feel Saving Face is different in Japan, as many researchers have reported, or is it really little different than in the West?


    "Saving face" is a very important cultural concept to the Japanese.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 06-06-2008 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Start new thread.

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    Custom Title DragonPhoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    I think Morozov has burned some important bridges by talking to this writer. The Japanese federation is notoriously hypersensitive about any criticism toward any of their own, and they are touchy about giving credit to foreigners for any of their skaters' successes. "Saving face" is a very important cultural concept to the Japanese.

    Morozov tends not to be particularly culturally sensitive to that kind of thing, but I think he may have gone too far by publicly attacking a well-known Japanese agent and claiming so much of the credit for his Japanese students' successes for himself. The Japanese federation has ultimate control over where and with whom their skaters can train, and ticking them off in any way may ultimately prove to be a costly error for Morozov. If the Japanese federation should feel that his comments are disrespectful and insulting and decide to take their skaters away from him, he will be left without all those prize students he takes the credit for.

    Saving face : preserving or intended to preserve one's dignity, self-respect, or good reputation

    Saving face : not humiliating others in public

    Saving face : preventing damage to one's image and reputation




    Are you somehow suggesting that preserving one’s good reputation and image is unique to only one culture ?

    That is a very common and natural trait in people everywhere, not only one culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPhoenix View Post
    Saving face : preserving or intended to preserve one's dignity, self-respect, or good reputation

    Saving face : not humiliating others in public

    Saving face : preventing damage to one's image and reputation




    Are you somehow suggesting that preserving one’s good reputation and image is unique to only one culture ?

    That is a very common and natural trait in people everywhere, not only one culture.

    DragonPhoenix, "Saving Face" in this context is a particular social concept which is very important in the SinoJapanese culture. I am not referring to people not liking to be embarrassed, but to a very important matter of etiquette within Japanese culture, which is taught to all who do business with the Japanese, or are involved in diplomatic relations with them, as it is one of their most crucial social values.

    Here is a description of "Saving Face" from the online guide "Doing Business in Japan":

    Saving face
    Accuracy is important to the Japanese and errors are not well accepted. A Japanese does not like being put in the position of having to admit a mistake or failure. To do so means losing face and this is very serious. They are also hesitant to admit they did not understand something.

    The Japanese tend to see criticism as personal and don’t understand how Americans can separate criticism of one’s actions from criticizing one personally.


    "Kwintessential Cross-Cultural Solutions" describes it this way:

    The Japanese and 'Face'

    . Saving face is crucial in Japanese society.
    . Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one's peers.
    . The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face.
    . Therefore, they do not openly criticize, insult, or put anyone on-the-spot.
    . Face can be lost, taken away, or earned through praise and thanks


    There are many, many other places that you can read about the Japanese and their cultural value of "Saving Face" (which is actually quite well-known by most people), if you care to do just a little research. You might try that next time, before you post a silly message implying that someone else is making cultural assumptions or stereotypes.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 06-06-2008 at 05:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    I think Morozov has burned some important bridges by talking to this writer. The Japanese federation is notoriously hypersensitive about any criticism toward any of their own, and they are touchy about giving credit to foreigners for any of their skaters' successes. "Saving face" is a very important cultural concept to the Japanese.

    Morozov tends not to be particularly culturally sensitive to that kind of thing, but I think he may have gone too far by publicly attacking a well-known Japanese agent and claiming so much of the credit for his Japanese students' successes for himself. The Japanese federation has ultimate control over where and with whom their skaters can train, and ticking them off in any way may ultimately prove to be a costly error for Morozov. If the Japanese federation should feel that his comments are disrespectful and insulting and decide to take their skaters away from him, he will be left without all those prize students he takes the credit for.
    Even though you didn’t mean anything against Japanese culture and Japanese federation, I thought this post sounds bias. IMO, Everyone has “ Savings face”, not only Japanese culture. And there is better way to describe your opinion without insulting other culture.

    And this kind of point of view can insult Japanese people or someone who love Japan and easy to make misunderstanding between culture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post


    DragonPhoenix, "Saving Face" in this context is a particular social concept which is very important in the SinoJapanese culture. I am not referring to people not liking to be embarrassed, but to a very important matter of etiquette within Japanese culture, which is taught to all who do business with the Japanese, or are involved in diplomatic relations with them, as it is one of their most crucial social values.

    Here is a description of "Saving Face" from the online guide "Doing Business in Japan":

    Saving face
    Accuracy is important to the Japanese and errors are not well accepted. A Japanese does not like being put in the position of having to admit a mistake or failure. To do so means losing face and this is very serious. They are also hesitant to admit they did not understand something.

    The Japanese tend to see criticism as personal and don’t understand how Americans can separate criticism of one’s actions from criticizing one personally.


    "Kwintessential Cross-Cultural Solutions" describes it this way:

    The Japanese and 'Face'

    . Saving face is crucial in Japanese society.
    . Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one's peers.
    . The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face.
    . Therefore, they do not openly criticize, insult, or put anyone on-the-spot.
    . Face can be lost, taken away, or earned through praise and thanks


    There are many, many other places that you can read about the Japanese and their cultural value of "Saving Face" (which is actually quite well-known by most people), if you care to do just a little research. You might try that next time, before you post a silly message implying that someone else is making cultural assumptions or stereotypes.

    A silly message ???

    As if your above post and the previous one were not silly ???

    Believe me, I don’t need to be told do “research”. I have lived there. I am very familiar with Japanese culture.

    A lot of these so called “guide books “ are full of their own stereotyping and cultural assumptions. It’s silly to think you are going to fully understand another culture from reading “guides books”.

    A lot of those “ doing business in Japan guides“ have preconceived stereotypes “included” in their attempt to understand and write about Japanese culture. Stereotyping and cultural assumptions are so embedded that even in their attempt to explain differences, sometimes the stereotyping remains.

    For example, from your post :

    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    A Japanese does not like being put in the position of having to admit a mistake or failure. To do so means losing face and this is very serious.

    No person that I know “likes” to be put in a position of having to admit a mistake or failure. Of course it may be a good idea to do so, but people don’t “ like “ to admit a mistake or failure.


    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one's peers.
    As if I didn’t already explain the meaning in my first response to you.

    Remember, I wrote

    Saving face : preserving or intended to preserve one's dignity, self-respect, or good reputation

    A very common trait in people everywhere.

    And the following quote from your post, I had already explained about in my previous post as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face.
    If you remember, I wrote in my post

    Saving face : not humiliating others in public.



    And yes, I do see cultural assumptions and stereotypes in your post.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 06-06-2008 at 05:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancingqueen View Post
    Even though you didn’t mean anything against Japanese culture and Japanese federation, I thought this post sounds bias. IMO, Everyone has “ Savings face”, not only Japanese culture. And there is better way to describe your opinion without insulting other culture.

    And this kind of point of view can insult Japanese people or someone who love Japan and easy way to make misunderstanding between culture.
    Oh for crying out loud

    Look it up, people. I have already provided two research references. "Face" is a specific societal concept in Japanese culture and etiquette, which is how I was referring to it. It is taught to those who study Japanese culture and those who do business in Japan specifically because it is so important to the Japanese, so that we do not have "misunderstandings" with the Japanese we are dealing with. I do a great deal of business with the Japanese and travel there frequently, so I know this. It is important to understand and respect the culture of people you are dealing with, and respecting the concept of "Face" is an important part of Japanese culture.

    There is nothng wrong with the idea of "saving face" and I never said or implied that there was. Good Lord. It is just a matter of cultural differences - if you are reading into my message that it is somehow inferior to how people see things in the West, then it is clear that YOU are the one with the prejudice and bias, because I did not in any way imply anything of the kind. I most certainly have NOT "insulted" Japan or Japanese culture by pointing out that "Saving Face" is an important cultural value to them - it is just a fact, and there is nothing wrong with it. Again, LOOK IT UP if you don't believe me.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 06-06-2008 at 05:26 AM.

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    DragonPhoenix: THREE TIMES in your reply, you took quotations that I clearly cited from OTHER sources and attributed them to me in order to make it appear that I had made statements about Japanese culture that were in fact made in documented sources - very sleazy and unethical.

    This is an absurd case of a few people attempting to be politically correct and ending up doing the exact opposite. You think that it is somehow wrong to mention any kind of difference between cultures, in some misguided belief that pretending everyone is exactly the same is declaring universal equality. Nothing could be further from the truth. The differences between cultures should be celebrated, not denied. It has been said that there is no true "melting pot", but a mosaic - there are many different cultures, all different and all beautiful. And there is nothing wrong with pointing out the differences - it doesn't mean we are saying that any of them are inferior or superior to any other, just because we refuse to pretend we are all the same. Trying to insist that all people and all cultures are alike is to deny diversity and homogenize the uniqueness of our world cultures.

    Sorry, I'm not going to be a part of that. You go right on pretending that all cultures and all peoples are the same and there are no cultural differences in the world. I'll just go right on experiencing and celebrating them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    Oh for crying out loud.............:banging:

    Look it up, people. I have already provided two research references. "Face" is a specific societal concept in Japanese culture and etiquette, which is how I was referring to it. It is taught to those who study Japanese culture and those who do business in Japan specifically because it is so important to the Japanese, so that we do not have "misunderstandings" with the Japanese we are dealing with. I do a great deal of business with the Japanese and travel there frequently, so I know this. It is important to understand and respect the culture of people you are dealing with, and respecting the concept of "Face" is an important part of Japanese culture.

    There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THE IDEA OF "SAVING FACE", AND I NEVER SAID OR IMPLIED THAT THERE WAS. Good Lord. It is just a matter of cultural differences - if you are reading into my message that it is somehow inferior to how people see things in the West, then it is clear that YOU are the one with the prejudice and bias, because I did not in any way imply anything of the kind. I most certainly have NOT "insulted" Japan or Japanese culture by pointing out that "Saving Face" is an important cultural value to them - it is just a fact, and there is nothing wrong with it. Again, LOOK IT UP if you don't believe me.
    Alright. I will take your post in a positive way. Please calm down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    DragonPhoenix: THREE TIMES in your reply, you took quotations that I clearly cited from OTHER sources and attributed them to me in order to make it appear that I had made statements about Japanese culture that were in fact made in documented sources - very sleazy and unethical.

    This is an absurd case of a few people attempting to be politically correct and ending up doing the exact opposite. You think that it is somehow wrong to mention any kind of difference between cultures, in some misguided belief that pretending everyone is exactly the same is declaring universal equality. Nothing could be further from the truth. The differences between cultures should be celebrated, not denied. It has been said that there is no true "melting pot", but a mosaic - there are many different cultures, all different and all beautiful. And there is nothing wrong with pointing out the differences - it doesn't mean we are saying that any of them are inferior or superior to any other, just because we refuse to pretend we are all the same. Trying to insist that all people and all cultures are alike is to deny diversity and homogenize the uniqueness of our world cultures.

    Sorry, I'm not going to be a part of that. You go right on pretending that all cultures and all peoples are the same and there are no cultural differences in the world. I'll just go right on experiencing and celebrating them.


    I was simply quoting from your post. Everyone can easily read your full post which is a couple post above mine on the same page. I was not trying to make your post to “appear” to be anything. I was just explaining that the explanations you had posted, I had already explained them in my previous post. Period.

    I couldn’t care less about politically correct. I have no interest in it.

    I never once said all cultures are the same.

    When I wrote

    “That is a very common and natural trait in people everywhere, not only one culture.”

    The “that” in the above sentence is “Saving face”

    It’s in no way saying all cultures are the same.

    However I do believe that “ Saving face “ is basically universal, and I was saying that is basically the same with all people.

    No need to hyperventilate here. If there was a misunderstanding, and you did not intend for that first post to be taken that way, that’s fine

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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonPhoenix View Post
    However I do believe that “ Saving face “ is basically universal, and I was saying that is basically the same with all people.
    I feel the same way.

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    Since you appear unwilling to believe the many available reference sources about the cultural value of "saving face"specific to Japanese and Chinese cultures (and these reference sources include encyclopedias, cultural guides, college and social textbooks, etc.), perhaps the following article by a Japanese woman on the topic will be more helpful:

    http://www.arnoudforyou.com/saving-face-japan.html

    Here is a very interesting study done by two Asian-Canadian researchers that details the very different way that Asians and Westerners view the concepts of "face" and "saving face" and how it impacts the different ways we communicate:

    http://www.cic.sfu.ca/forum/ting-too.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by libby View Post
    Since you appear unwilling to believe the many available reference sources about the cultural value of "saving face"specific to Japanese and Chinese cultures (and these reference sources include encyclopedias, cultural guides, college and social textbooks, etc.), perhaps the following article by a Japanese woman on the topic will be more helpful:

    http://www.arnoudforyou.com/saving-face-japan.html

    Here is a very interesting study done by two Asian-Canadian researchers that details the very different way that Asians and Westerners view the concepts of "face" and "saving face" and how it impacts the different ways we communicate:

    http://www.cic.sfu.ca/forum/ting-too.html
    You, however, seem unwilling to accept that "saving face" is not exclusive to Japanese and Chinese culture.
    Ant

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    You, however, seem unwilling to accept that "saving face" is not exclusive to Japanese and Chinese culture.
    Ant
    You are misquoting and misunderstanding me; what I have said is that the concepts of "face" and "saving face" in this context have different meanings to Eastern Asian culture than they have in Western culture (read the earlier-cited research study for a complete explanation), and greatly increased importance in Japanese and Chinese society and etiquette compared to Western culture. When an American or Canadian talks about "saving face", it simply does not mean the same thing that it means to a Japanese person. To a Westerner, it is just about personal embarrassment and pride, while to someone from Japan or China, it is an issue of cultural honor and harmony.

    Different cultures place greater or lesser importance on different values. No one way is better than any other, but if you are going to deal with cultures other than your own, you had better be ready to recognize and show respect for those differences or expect misunderstandings and problems to happen.

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    Saving face may be universal, but its precise meaning likely varies by culture, as do the meanings of many emotions, attitudes and motivations. The values and types of interpersonal relationships emphasized by various cultures can differ greatly, resulting in differences in how things are perceived and interpreted and in individual behavior. For those interested in academic reading on the subject, Hostede's books as well as Markus and Kitayama's article "Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation" (Psychological Review, April 1991) are good places to start. There is quite a bit of literature on "saving face" in different cultural contexts but I haven't read any of it myself so I can't comment on the findings.

    As figure skating becomes increasingly international and intercultural in terms of skater-coach partnerships, everyone would do well to be respectful of cultural differences. I have no idea if this was a problem for Morozov/Takahashi, who did manage to get along fairly well for several years. I guess only they know.

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    As for cultural differences,

    I think there are many people in this forum who are knowledgeable about different cultures. There are many international people in this forum.
    In my case , I think the best way to know cultural differences of people, habit, etc.. is living in the countries and learning from experience, meeting many people in the places where they live, besides guide books.

    I say this from my experience, living in some countries including Japan, and there was always a difference from the image of cultural concept from other people’s opinions that were written in some guide books, and hearing from people who directly experienced living there. And there were many discoveries about it. Because depending on the person, the impression and experience is different. Also depending on generation , there is also difference.
    There are of course some basic cultural differences, and there are also some subtle cultural differences.

    Whether or not the meaning of any particular cultural concept is good or bad, the words themselves “ saving face” , and “hypersensitive about any criticism towards their own, “ can be said about many cultures. In certain situations, I think there is no special reason to bring up those words. I think USFS is also hypersensitive about criticism towards themselves.

    This is my personal view
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 06-06-2008 at 04:56 AM. Reason: remove figure skating ref

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