The real meaning of the psychological term, Empathy in Japan

Empathy is more likely to be connected with psychological feeling of one person for his ability to understand the feeling of another person. Psychology books have references to such kind of feelings human beings possess. The feeling of empathy is said to be the reason of harmony and healthy relationship among the individuals in a society.

Japan is a highly empathetic society. One reason is attributed to its high level of literacy rate. But literacy rate alone can not alone ensure highly developed mind characteristics like empathetic feeling. To understand and act according to the need of another person requires an extra ordinarily developed mind and thought process. While I was in my home country, I was informed by some of my friends that psychology is a well developed branch of knowledge in Japan.

Japanese people have attempted to describe minute fluctuations of mind obviously from their observations on their own individuals. The highest level of understanding of another person’s feeling and realize that it is their own feeling and more over contribute whatever they can to help is a rare characteristic of human beings. In that sense Japan has many citizens with empathy than any where.

I experienced the feeling of empathy from Japanese colleagues, when I met with a physical trouble. The help comes before asking! One of my friend told his experience when he lost his way at a strange place. He went to Osaka alone from Tokyo to meet one of his old friend from his country. In the middle of the searching the friend’s home he lost his way and was unable to even go back to the railway station. To his misery, he missed to carry his mobile phone and did not remember the phone number. He knows only survival Japanese language.

He approached a Japanese person who was riding a bicycle. With his broken Japanese, he asked for help to find out his friends home. The Japanese person told him that his friend’s home is around 1 km far from where he stands. For him it was almost impossible to find out that place. He started worrying how to go there, but could not tell this to the Japanese. To his surprise, the Japanese person asked him if he would not mind to sit on the back of his bicycle, he will take him to the friend’s home.

He was surprised as the Japanese person was riding in the opposite way. The stranger Japanese person took him to his friend’s home. My friend said lot of thanks to him. That is all he could do at that time. The Japanese person returned in his bicycle to his destination. My friend was astonished to see the helping mentality of people of Japan.

This is exactly what we call the living examples of empathy, i.e., putting oneself into the psychological frame of reference of another person, so that the other person’s feelings, thoughts, troubles, miseries, and acting can be well understood. The understanding does not stand still in Japan. They really come out with practical help!

The feeling of Empathy in Japan does not stay as a feeling only inside the mind of people. Japanese people really come out with a solution, if they are able to help, otherwise also they would not forget to say a sorry.

This is what the feeling called empathy really means – Not only understand another person’s feelings and emotions, but really come with practically possible solutions to help him solve out and come out of his troubles!

Author: Jayaprakash

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