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「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」

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「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」

Postby Musiflare » Wed 06.02.2010 12:45 am

最近教科書の文章を読んでみているが、「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」なんかどう違うか、どう訳すればいいかという質問があるんですけれど。

「日本社会を分析するときに、ホンネとタテマエを持ち出す人が多い。どこの国にも原則があって、それに対する例外は存在する。日本の場合も、タテマエは原則だ。したがって、ホンネは原則に従わない例外、ということになるのだが、日本ではホンネを無理にタテマエの中に入れてしまおうとする。あるいは、ホンネは人にわからないように隠してしまって、タテマエを表看板として押し通してしまう。」

始めは、「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」を「private opinion」や「public opinion/stance」なんかとして読んでいたけれど、今ちょっと間違ってると感じます。理解ちゃんによると、「ホンネ」=「real intention; motive」、「タテマエ」=「official stance; public position or attitude」、ということが、少し変に聞こえると思います。

よろしくお願いします!
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Re: 「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」

Postby fielle » Wed 06.02.2010 2:09 am

I hope you don't mind if I respond in English.

タテマエ and ホンネ are pretty tricky things to get a real feeling for what the meaning is. There's definitely a private/public divide, and I would say that タテマエ is "what you say" and ホンネ is "what you really feel". For example, if you are a guest in someone's house and they offer you a cup of tea and some snacks, you will almost certainly take one of two actions: Politely turn them down: "I don't want to put you through the trouble", or accept graciously: "Yes please, thank you."

Neither of these are likely to be what you really feel about the situation. Maybe you hate tea and the snacks are too sugary or too salty for your tastes, but you accept the offer anyway. Maybe you're actually starving but you go through the motions of turning them down. Your responses are the タテマエ and your real feelings are the ホンネ.

However, in your first reaction to the offer, you are in fact reacting to the initial offer based on the situation. Maybe you were just dropping something off at their place, and you get the impression that the offer is タテマエ and their ホンネ feelings are that they'd really not go through the trouble but they feel that they should offer since you've gone through all the trouble of bringing this item (whether or not it was actually any trouble for you). However, maybe you're sitting with them for a while, and their offer of tea and snacks is a show of hospitality and you get the impression that they'd feel rejected if you turned them down.

So the real concept of interaction in Japan is that digging through the タテマエ to figure out what the real ホンネ meaning is, and sometimes there are so many layers of indirection and words that it becomes very difficult to determine what really needs to be done.

For me, I tend to think that タテマエ is more related to actions than opinions, and that the definition I would use would be "outward actions". ホンネ would be "true feelings", but it can extend to needs and desires among other things.
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Re: 「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」

Postby Musiflare » Wed 06.02.2010 12:57 pm

Oh, okay! That really does provide some more insight on the subject. The rest of the passage goes on to talk about Japanese versus Western behavior in the business setting, but being that I have very little idea how any of that works in English, much less Japanese, it just further confused me. :think: It was as if I could halfway understand the concepts they were referring to in the original Japanese, but my brain was having a hard time translating it over. That really makes a lot more sense in English though now that you explained it.

詳しく説明してくれてありがとうございました!
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Re: 「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」

Postby spin13 » Wed 06.02.2010 8:52 pm

Yesterday a co-worker and I were going through some presentation materials before a meeting. The slides had come from a third person at one of our overseas factories and included data about production time, including a breakdown for each step in the production process.

My co-worker, who recently returned from a multi-year stint at a different overseas factory, commented that these numbers were probably just 建前. What happens at the factories and what gets reported to Japan headquarters aren't always the same. The times listed were probably accurate for each part but the sum of these parts didn't include the time often waiting for parts to arrive and other events that might stop the line.

In more concrete terms, imagine a product made of three parts, Part A, B, and C. Once started, Part A and B take 10 minutes each to assemble and Part C takes 15 minutes. The sum, of course, is 35 minutes. This is what is reflected in the charts and tables in presentations and reports. But this doesn't include the time to fix a damaged jig between finishing Part A and starting Part B. It also doesn't include the day and a half of waiting for a new shipment of screws to make Part C. 35 minutes is the efficient sounding 建前. ~35 hours is the actual time from start to finish, the 本音.
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