japanese-culture
Honne and tatemae are Japanese words that describe recognized social phenomena.
Honne (本音) refers to a person's true feelings and desires. These may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one's position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one's closest friends.
Tatemae (建前), literally "façade," is the behaviour and opinions one displays in public. Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one's position and circumstances, and these may or may not match one's honne.
The honne/tatemae divide is considered to be of paramount importance in Japanese culture. The very fact that Japanese has single words for these concepts leads some Nihonjin specialists to see this conceptualization as evidence of greater Japanese complexity and rigidity in etiquette and culture.
The conflict between honne and giri (social obligations) is one of the main topics of Japanese drama throughout the ages. Stereotypically, the protagonist would have to choose between carrying out his obligations to his family or feudal lord or pursuing a forbidden love affair. In the end, death would be the only way out of the dilemma.
Contemporary phenomenona such as hikikomori and parasite singles are seen as examples of late Japanese culture's growing problem of the new generation growing up unable to deal with the complexities of honne/tatemae in an increasingly capitalist society.