Q Why are the Japanese so interested in hearing about what non-Japanese think about Japan?

A A trait of the Japanese is to place importance on harmony within the group rather than on self-assertion. It is often said that the Japanese are constantly tuned in to what the other thinks to determine their own standing by the appraisal of the other.

One feels feels shame when the appraisal drops and shame is something feared to the extreme. The war Tiors of long ago preferred dying to being put to shame. Because the Japanese are so concerned about how they appear to the other, they devise measures beforehand to try to pry information out of the other to avoid being put to shame.

The Japanese were not concerned about how people viewed their country during its long period of isolation under the closed-door policy during the Edo period (1600- 1868).

However, Western thoughts and culture inundated Japan during and after the Meiji period ( 1868- 1912), and its crushing defeat in World War II caused Japan to attempt to hurriedly catch up in an join the ranks of the democratized nations.

Now that Japan has joined their ranks, there is a curiosity to find out how Japan appears through the eyes of people in other countries in order not to be put to shame.