Knowing vs Behaving vs Feeling: Studies on Japanese Bilinguals

  • Kensaku Yoshida


In September, 1986, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan caused quite a furor when he said in a speech delivered to the members of his party that Americans had lower literacy and intelligence rates than the Japanese because of the heterogeneic composition of the American population. Granted that the content of his speech itself was of a seriously controversial nature, the sheer fact that Mr. Nakasone apologized just a few days after the initial speech is even more interesting from the point of view of cross-cultural communication. The Japanese, in a sense, are an “apologetic” people: we apologize when we enter someone’s house or office (shitsureishimasu), we apologize for not being able to serve the kind of food that a guest might prefer (nanimogozaimasenga), we apologize for giving gifts which might not meet the high standards of the receiver (tsumaranaimonodesuga), and we apologize when we receive gifts (wazawazasumimasen, moushiwakearimasen). Apologizing, to the Japanese, is a form of etiquette which pervades throughout the fabric of Japanese social life. It is expressed by the various “polite” or honorific expressions which comprise an important part of the Japanese language.


Word Association Bilingual Group Rice Cake Equal Rank Conceptual Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kensaku Yoshida
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Sophia UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Georgetown UniversityUSA

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