There is a rainbow after the rain — The japanise proverb says.
Face concept represents the paramount concern in Japan — it was proved once again yesterday.
Princess Mako was not the first one to marry a commoner, but was likely a first not to have ni ceremony, no visit of relatives of the future husband with meaningful presents, ni special wedding attire from the 794-1185 Heian period, but had protest on the streets.
More than 100 people were marching «to tell the truth about how troublesome this marriage is», not wanting the imperial family to be involved in crimes.
Kei Komuro's (husband) single mother was involved in an unresolved financial dispute. Just a few months after he and princess Mako announced their engagement in 2017, tabloids portrayed the future mother-in-law as a gold digger and claimed that mother and son had failed to repay a debt of about US$35,000 to her former fiance, who financed the study of Komuro.
Komuro later said the money had represent a gift, not a loan.
But still, what is it if not a Face Loss?
Customarily in Japan the civil marriage registration is made by the couple at the Japanese municipal government office. But even this a couple had to refuse. The representative proceeded with all the details.
The princess refused the taxpayer-funded, one-time privilege of 150 million yen (about $1.35 million) and said during the press-conference: « I understand there are various thoughts on my marriage with Kei.
I am terribly sorry to the people who had trouble (with our marriage) ».
One more gesture affected the society. A farewell from sister Kako. The princess couldn't restrain her emotions and embraced her sister instead of just bowing. That was evaluated as one more inappropriate gesture concerning this wedding and widely discussed in a japanese press and society.
Saving face is everything in Japan and a slight discretion can cost one a lot. Face can be described as a combination of reputation, social standing, dignity and honor. Loosing face in a scandal endure a massive pressure for the intact family.
There are millions of ways to loose a face in Japan and it can happen in private life, and in business. To disagree with someone in public, therefore causing them embarrassment, is to cause them “loss of face.” At La Classe intercultural training we are devoting the most accurate attention to particular cultural concepts, and there are many in every culture. Face is just one of them. Contact us with your specific questions, we will be happy to assist.