Being different is wrong in Japan



I never really thought about it until Drew mentioned it one day. Drew wanted to know why the Japanese words for wrong and different were very similar and he made the statement that he wondered if the Japanese subconscious felt that being different was wrong.

Growing up in Japan I often felt uncomfortable if I didn’t follow the cultural norms, but I never noticed that my thinking might have been influenced from the Japanese language.

In Japanese “different” is “違う(Chigau)” and “wrong” is also  “違う(Chigau)”.

I think this is really interesting.

In Japanese history, in order to make it easier to organize people, leaders made a system that everyone had to be same.  If you didn’t follow suit you wouldn’t be accepted by community and your life was made very difficult.


Because of that, I think the Japanese are really good at uniting and doing things together, but at the same time it’s hard to be different in Japan.

This is also the reason why many Japanese can’t say “NO.” They work very hard because everybody does and they want to fit in.

They also don’t have a strong sense of morality because what is acceptable is based solely on the majority, so in a land where the Gospel is largely unknown and unheard Sin has become the norm.

Though they don’t directly reject that which is different, they don’t accept it either. On the surface it seems as though they accept that which is different, but at the core of the heart lies rejection.

This is why many missionaries in Japan feel comfortable at first. Later many realize that they will never be accepted by the society as a whole and because of this many become burnt out and even more give up.

This is also why many believers struggle with being Christian in Japan because they become different from almost all people.

Please pray for the Christians in Japan to have the faith to remain strong and keep being Christian even though they are different.

2 Replies to “Being different is wrong in Japan”

  1. I never thought about “違います” that way. You have a really good point Meg!

    By the way – you guys were in my dreams last night! It made me miss you. I’m praying for you and thinking of you often. 


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