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Reason why Japanese do not sing along at concerts

Posted January. 22, 2022 07:26,   

Updated January. 22, 2022 07:26


South Korean music fans are well-renowned for their enthusiastic joining in sing-alongs at concerts among famous overseas singers such as Metallica and EMINEM. By contrast, there is no such thing as a sing-along in Japan. Despite their geological closeness as East Asian countries, South Korea and Japan have a lot of cultural differences. Where did this difference come from?

The author, a cultural psychologist, focuses on the fact that the two nations have a different self-view by mentioning Dr. Yoshiyuki Inumiya’s analysis.South Korean people have an independent and self-motivated view of themselves, which drives them to try to influence others while their Japanese counterparts tend to allow themselves to be affected by others’ influence – called an objecthood self-view. Given that defeating a competitor is one of the most significant influences that you may have on someone else, it is understandable why MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) are well received by South Korean gaming fans.

Traditional South Korean mask dances or outdoor stage performances (madang nori) show a great example of how performers and audiences communicate impromptu and limitlessly. Likewise, sing-alongs blur the line between singers and their fans. The Korean-specific implicit sentiment of Jung may allow you to read others’ mind through your lens and help them out. On the contrary, given that acceptance of others’ influence is a virtue in Japanese culture, Japanese people try not to cross the line so that they will not give any inconveniences to anyone else.  

It is all about cultural differences. One culture is not superior to the other. Although the preface of this book begins with the line “The golden cross has just started,” I hope you not to mistakenly think that South Koreans who cross the line are superior to Japanese people who draw the line.

Seong-Taek Jeong neone@donga.com