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who wrote this page[edit]

It sounds as if it were written by a somewhat 'nationalistic' Japanese:

"However, if one expects to stay in Japan for a long time, this particular one can become uchi easily, provided she/he puts up with all the responsibilities that come with being part of a group (which is actually, the atomic essence of being uchi). This includes prioritizing the group to personal inspirations, picking up Japanese customs and a generaly homogenic behavior pattern which eases interpersonal communications, be it family, corporation or other"

I found this quote a little hard to believe. I imagine a brief trip to, with it's pictures of 'no-foreigners allowed' sign posts and details of anti-foreigner discrimination would quickly show most people that the above quote is not based on fact. This quote and to some extent the article, are pure examples of nihonjinron.


As an expat in Japan for the past ten years, I think I can safely say that 'nationalistic Japanese' wouldn't be hanging out on the English version of Wikipedia. First and foremost, you couldn't pay gents like that to learn/speak English. They hate it with every fiber of their being, as they hate most things non-Japanese. Second, most Japanese (and we are talking something like 85% of the population) do not speak/write/understand English period, let alone write a native article like 'Uchi-soto'. (My apologies to the writer of the article if I am incorrect.) If you stopped reading for a while and actually lived and worked here, you would understand this. While as an expat American in Japan, I appreciate David's efforts to bring equality, he can get a bit out of hand at times. (Frankly, I don't like either hot springs or hostess bars, so I don't care about being allowed in or not.) Take his site with a healthy grain of salt. No, it's not all happy days here, but no country is perfect.

Actually, I'm more concerned that this article mentions nothing about the history of these two words and focuses solely on how they are currectly used. There is 2-3000 years of history and culture going into these two words and without addressing that, it can be difficult for those not familiar with the Japanese language to understand uchi-soto. -- (Made in DNA (talk) 01:17, 30 October 2008 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Chinese- versus Japanese-derived pronounciations[edit]

Just to explain a minor point in the edit I'm in the process of making... I've never liked using "native" and "Chinese-derived" as terms for kun- and on-readings. The use of the word "native" sounds like it implies that the on-readings aren't a fully integrated part of the language, which couldn't be further from the truth. It would be like saying English is made up of "native words" and "Latin words". That may be true, but if you exclude the Latin words from English, you're no longer dealing with Modern English. I think it's better to say "Germanic words" and "Latinate words". Similarly, I think it obscures the truth less to say "Japanese-derived" and "Chinese-derived" words or pronounciations.

And which does harumaki fit into? (Kun'yomi for a Chinese food. Ha.) I'd prefer to say yamatokotoba, myself, but I have no idea where that should link to. Perhaps an article On-yomi and kun-yomi should be pulled out of Kanji, and yamatokotoba redirected to it.... --Aponar Kestrel (talk) 20:26, 2004 Oct 1 (UTC)

Some of the stuff I added might be relevant to Japanese language and politeness, but not directly to uchi-soto. If someone knows a better place where it belongs, feel free to point me in the right direction, or move it yourself.-Bigpeteb

Slow down there...[edit]

Woah, woah. Omitting honorific name suffixes? That doesn't sound right at all. Using -kun instead of -san (or -san instead of -sama), yes. Using humble instead of honorific words for "boss", yes. But omitting honorific suffixes entirely, no; that's rather impolite, unless you're 20 or below and a student.

Also, remember that "casual" speech and "humble" speech are not the same. "Humble" speech is a subclass of honorific that lowers the status of the speaker. It's still conjugated in polite tense. If you spoke to someone in another company in "casual" speech, it would be doubly rude, because you're not humbling yourself, and you're not honoring the other by using polite speech to them.

It would be nice if there were some standard terms for honorific, humble, and honorific. Perhaps "honorific" for the class of extremely polite speech, "humble" for the lowering subclass, and "exalted" for the raising subclass? (Does that make sense?)

Still, although I disagree on some of your details, it's generally a good-looking edit. Removing all the language examples was a good call, since it mostly duplicated Japanese honorifics anyway. (Although I still think there should be an Honorific page, as I know more languages than just Japanese use them. I just don't happen to know any.) I wish this page would go more into social sacrifices families make and those kinds of things, because that's just as big a part of uchi-soto as polite speech. As it is, a lot of this is just usage information that could arguably belong on Japanese honorifics. But not being Japanese, I don't feel qualified to write too much about anything else in terms of uchi-soto. --Bigpeteb 14:26, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yep. Omitting san/kun/sama/etc. Quite common. The office boy where I worked was quite commonly called Taguchi by the most senior staff (as in "Hey, Taguchi, could you grab me the ___"), and Taguchi-san by most of the others. There is no "humble" word for boss; your boss is your superior. You wouldn't use a humble form for anyone other than yourself or your in-group.
Say you're working at X Co. The phone rings and the caller asks for Hayashi-kacho (your boss), but she's out. Most likely you'd say something like 申し訳ないですが、林(Hayashi)はただいま留守にしていますけど... (roughly, "I'm very sorry, but Hayashi is out at the moment...").
If this isn't quite clear, what I mean is that in some cases superiors can drop polite suffixes when speaking directly to inferiors, and all in-group people will drop polite suffixes when speaking about members of their in-group with outsiders.
You're right, casual and humble speech are not the same. I don't think I've suggested in the article that they are; if it seems so, it should be made clear that's not the case.
I think it's fine for us to define the terms you mention for the purposes of this article (and others). I suggest the following:
  • Casual speech: used between friends of the same age and social standing, immediate family members, and so on.
  • Polite speech (keigo): the standard form used in most day-to-day interactions with immediate superiors, people of similar rank, strangers, and so on.
  • Humble speech (kensongo): used to lower one's own or one's in-group's standing when speaking with a superior or a member of an out-group.
  • Exalted (sonkeigo): used to raise the standing of or honour a listener or third person who is a superior or a member of an out-group.

Exploding Boy 16:52, Nov 1, 2004 (UTC)

Higher up on the page the terms plain and polite are used rather than casual and polite. An alternative would be formal/informal. Exalted is not so common - how about "respectful"? And humble is usually called "kenjoogo", not kensongo.--Grape1 17:49, 4 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible Katakana mistake?[edit]

First year Japanese student here, so I may very well be mistaken... but the Katakana spelling of soto in the opening sentences of the article currently is "外".... wouldn't that translate to "ta-to".... the correct katakana being "ソト" ? Again, I am a beginner here and not by any means fluent in Japanese, but just curious. (talk) 07:12, 9 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately you are incorrect. タト versus 外 (soto or gai). 外 is kanji, not katakana. Check with your teacher/professor. ;) (Made in DNA (talk) 01:17, 30 October 2008 (UTC))Reply[reply]

No worries, again, just curious... thanks for the clarification!

cheers. (talk) 07:32, 11 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]