Oct. 15, 2022

Kiyoshi Matsumoto: Author of Japan Unmasked

Kiyoshi Matsumoto: Author of Japan Unmasked

This episode we deep-dive into well-know, but often misunderstood Japanese culture topics with Kiyoshi Matsumoto. Kiyoshi is the author of the  book “Japan Unmasked, Understanding Japan and its people”.  Kiyoshi is Japanese but has lived outside Japan for 33 years working in the travel industry. During this time he has spend countless hours explaining Japanese culture to his foreign guests and realized there are a lot of common misconceptions about Japan and the Japanese. He wrote Japan Unmasked to set the record straight. This book covers many modern and contemporary topics and is not overly academic at all. Its a fun read and covers concepts such as Wabi-Sabi, Ma, Uchi-Soto, and many others. Kiyoshi lists his top three foreign misconceptions and why Face is everything in Japan. Other topics we cover:

  • Uso mo houben (white lie) and how it relates to harmony in Japan
  • The backstory behind writing “Japan Unmasked” 
  • Why modern non-academic topics and chapter titles for Japan Unmasked
  • Wabi Sabi and Ma explained from Kiyoshi’s perspective
  • Impermanent, Incomplete, Imperfect, the three “I’s” of Wabi-Sabi
  • 4.6 Amazon rating and the one review which made him most happy
  • “Perfection” in Japan is used as a defense, and relates to face
  • Why he has not had his book translated into Japanese, but predicts the Amazon ranking 
  • True or false:  Japanese only smile in photos when they make the two-finger piece sign
  • Top three foreign misconceptions of Japanese: Productivity, Personal Space, and No Individuality 
  • Uchi-Soto (in-group & out group) and Omote-Ura (Public face and private face)
  • His favorite untranslatable Japanese word

Japan Unmasked: https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/Kiyoshi-Matsumoto
Kiyoshi Matsumoto: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kiyoshimatsumoto/

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