Trivia: What is "kenson"?

Aug 31, 2020


What is the meaning of “kenson”? Why is it important in Japanese culture?


One of the important practices in Japanese society is “kenson”, which is the culture of humbling/minimizing yourself. It is important to not appear as intelligent or as confident as you actually are. You always want to keep yourself at the bottom of the ladder.

This culture is practiced from a young age. Kids probably learn to humble themselves when they start school. If you are too confident, others will see you as braggy or arrogant. Since Japanese society is all about harmony, kids learn to act like others.

As Japanese people get older, it is even more important to kenson, which goes far beyond being humble. Many foreigners point out that Japanese people seem to lack confidence; this comes from being educated that thinking one is better than someone else is taboo.

What do you think about “kenson”?

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