10 Fascinating Facts About the Japanese Saying “You Have 3 Faces”

The Japanese have a wealth of interesting cultural sayings that offer insights into their traditions and values. One saying that captures an intriguing aspect of social norms in Japan is “You have 3 faces.” Here are 10 fascinating facts about this thought-provoking proverb:

1. The three faces

The three faces refer to the distinct personas you present in public, professional, and private settings. Maintaining boundaries between these faces is important in Japanese culture.

2. Your public face

In public, you conduct yourself politely and avoid causing offense. Personal opinions are kept private to maintain harmony.

3. Your professional face

At work, you demonstrate respect for colleagues and focus on your responsibilities. Personal matters have no place in professional interactions.

4. Your private face

Behind closed doors, you express your true emotions and opinions that are not shared openly. This private self is hidden from public view.

5. Switching roles easily

By keeping faces separate, the Japanese can shift smoothly between social contexts. This helps interactions flow while avoiding inappropriate comments.

6. Encourages discretion

Over-sharing private matters at work or among acquaintances is discouraged. There is a sense of propriety about keeping personal affairs private.

7. Workplace behavior

Japanese companies emphasize using an appropriate professional face at work. Conversations are expected to be formal and business-focused.

8. Not defined by one persona

Your worth isn’t reduced to a single public impression. Having layers acknowledges the complexity of human character.

9. Fosters polite mystery

Not divulging your private self encourages connecting through shared experience rather than personal details. This creates an air of polite intrigue.

10. Risks losing respect

Losing composure and discretion, even during difficult times, risks damaging respect and social stability in Japan. Composure is highly valued.

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