The Heart of Japanese 

SHIKITARI : UnfoldingJapanese Tradition


The word "SHIKITARI"literally means what we have"come to do;"that is, time-honored Japanese practices and traditions. Every country has its own traditions, and people create and perpetuate their own culture by observing them. Japanese SHIKITARI, developed over our long history and handed down to the present, may be thought of as illogical even to present day Japanese. To non-Japanese , they may seem strange or incomprehensible. SHIKITARI deals with social life, clothing,eating and housing in daily life. Non-Japanese may have difficulties in understanding SHIKITARI due to such Japanese concepts as"The group takes priority over individuals (kojin yori soshiki yusen)," "inner/outer circle(uchi/soto)," and "vertical social relations(joge kankei)." This page is written in the hope that if the historical background of our SHIKITARI is unfolded, people who come to live in Japan, will be to better understand Japanese culture and, thus, lead an easier and more comfortable life. To begin with, we sent out questionnaires to those who once lived or are now living in Japan and to those who are interested in our culture, in order to understand what they want to know about Japan. One hundred fifty people from twenty-sevsn different countries responded, which was more than we had expected. We were moved and encouraged by their deep interest, which was reflected in their interesting comments. Many of their questions, comments and complaints concerning Japanese SHIKITARI and behavioral patterns, are included in the Question/Answer sections. In this way we tried to present their actusl voices. We wrote this page in easy, plain Japanese and English, hoping that it will help various phases of international exchanges.    
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