When the nail sticks out

rants, raves and randomness

Collectivism in the Philippines and Japan

Japan is considered a very collectivist country. No surprises there. Read more in my other blog to get a background of Japan’s collectivist society. 

This segment will talk more about Japan vs. Philippines when it comes to the interesting spectrum of individualism and collectivism.

Japan vs Philippines : Which Asian country is more collectivist?

What is baffling is:  if you compare the Philippines and Japan, the Philippines, who is parading as an individualist, turns out to be more collectivist than I-am-collectivist-and-proud-of-it Japan. Look at the Hofstede center’s  comparison of the two countries :

The Geert Hofstede Center : Philippines vs Japan

The Geert Hofstede Center : Philippines vs Japan

From the Geert Hofstede Center:

The Philippines, with a score of 32, is considered a collectivistic society. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. In collectivist societies offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link), hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups.

What?! That can’t be!!!

If my country is more collectivist than Japan, does that mean that I am more collectivist than Japanese too?

So I completed the Hofstede survey ,answering as honestly as I could. The results don’t surprise me: I have frequently gotten in trouble for not “conforming”.

The Geert Hofstede Center : Me vs Philippines

The Geert Hofstede Center : Me vs Philippines

As a kid, I was told I was unique and I was supposed to thrive in my uniqueness. To make matters worse, I ended up in the “breeding ground of destabilizers” , the University of the Philippines, where we were encouraged to question everything we’ve taken for a fact. My professors, who were of various religious, political, social and academic backgrounds prodded us to “widen our horizons” and find our own “truth”. In short, to disband from the collective glue that has held us safely in place. Gradually, I started questioning the authority, the status quo and virtually everything else that seemed like a bs to me. I was frequently labeled as “walang pakikisama” (one who doesn’t try to get along with others) , “selfish” and loyal only to myself. Someone who’d never do this :

collectivismpakikisama

Pakikisama: Getting along well with neighbors. Image from this site

At work, things didn’t improve.  I found myself always unable to respect authority or someone’s moral ascendancy just because he or she was my senior or my boss. I was the troublemaker, small but terrible, the “troll” who sows “discord”. Someone like Tim:

Tim doesn' t care meme from Facebook

Tim doesn’ t care meme from Facebook

But maybe I’m just being delusional. A collectivist inside pretending to be an individualist. I bet every Filipino I’d ask would claim they are individualists too.  But what is it and why do we shun it?

Collectivism Explained : Definition, Causes, Manifestations

Collectivism Meme from Facebook

Collectivism Meme from Facebook

It may be true, that ,unlike the Japanese, Filipinos prefer to call each other by first names, and we may disdain associating ourselves with our company outside of work hours. And unlike Indians, many may marry for love and abhor arranged marriage. But still, we are very collectivist when it comes to our families/clans/tribes, peers and most of all, religion.

From Wikipedia :

Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human. Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature.

And while many Filipinos would probably contest the results of the Hofstede center, the book, the Art of Choosing states the reasons behind getting a low score on individualism :

It is important to note that a country’s score on scales like these is nothing more than the average of its citizens’ scores, which aren’t solely dependent on the prevailing culture and can cover a significant range. many of the same factors that affect the culture of a nation or a community can have an effect on the individual as well. Greater wealth is associated with greater individualism at all levels whether we compare nations by GDP, or blue-collar and upper-middle-class Americans by annual income. Higher population density is associated with collectivism, as living in close proximity to others requires more restrictions on behavior in order to keep the peace. On the other hand, greater exposure to other cultures and higher levels of education are both associated with individualism, so cities aren’t necessarily more collectivist than rural areas. People become slightly more collectivist with age as they develop more numerous and stronger relationships with others, and just as important, they become more set in their views over time, meaning they will be less affected than the younger generations by broad cultural changes.All these factors, not to mention personality and incidental experiences in life, combine and interact to determine each person’s position on the individualism-collectivism spectrum.

Iyengar, Sheena. The Art of Choosing.New York: Hachette Book Group,2010.34-35. Print.

While I find this paper a bit outdated, here are some excerpts that may support the Hofstede study :

Asian countries like the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan are  good examples of being defined as the collectivist culture. Mohan J Dutta-Bergman and
William D. Wells are the authors of the article “The Values and Lifestyles of Idiocentrics  and Allocentrics in an Individualist Culture: A Descriptive Approach,” who define
collectivist culture as: “…the close linkage among individuals who see themselves as  parts of one or more collectives and are primarily motivated by the norms and duties of 
those collectives, emphasizing connectedness with other members of the collectives..

Cimatu, Janice. Le Foundation. The Social and Psychological Approach of the Collectivist  Culture. 2008. Web. October 23,2013. <http://www.le-foundation.org/files/Social_and_Pyschological_Approach_of_Collectivist_Culture.pdf>

Collectivism in the Philippines : from the family to clans, to tribes, to regional affiliations and religion

We are collectivists. There, I said it.

Being a  part of the collectivist culture, it is an advantage to get to know better your own culture in  terms of: family values, personal values, social customs and lifestyle, and work value or 
ethics. 

According to the book Culture and Customs Of The Philippines by Paul Rodel, he  mentions that: “the Filipino Family plays a more central role in the lives of its members,
and in the nation’s greater social political life, than do families in many other cultures.”  (Rodel, 120)

Cimatu, Janice. Le Foundation. The Social and Psychological Approach of the Collectivist  Culture. 2008. Web. October 23,2013. <http://www.le-foundation.org/files/Social_and_Pyschological_Approach_of_Collectivist_Culture.pdf>

And, there’s more :

Collectivism in the Philippines : Family bond

Collectivism in the Philippines : Family bond

Shapiro, Marsha. Asian Culture Brief: Philippines. National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC-AAPI). Web. October 24, 2013.<http://www.ntac.hawaii.edu/downloads/products/briefs/culture/pdf/ACB-Vol2-Iss3-Philippines.pdf>

Aha. Family life. While some claim that family is very important to Japanese, I don’t think they are as binding as the Filipino family in modern times. In Japan, once you have your own family register, legally, you are considered your own unit. Yes. On your own.  Parents don’t expect their children to send them money to support them. Cousins, if they exist, hardly know each other.  Also, Japanese don’t have middle names : upon marriage, a female dissolves her own family name and adopts her husband’s (or the husband adopts that wife’s last name, if it pleases him). Without a middle name, it is easy to dissolve affiliations  (and your descendants’ affiliations) to one’s clan. Tracing your blood relatives becomes much harder. Technically, you are no longer a Tanaka but a Suzuki – not even your passport will show that you were once a Tanaka. All your children will be (and forever more) a Suzuki.

Unlike Japanese, Filipinos tend to be more clannish and uphold the well-being of the family/ clan.  Women continue to use (and affiliate) themselves to their own clan, in addition to their husband’s. Think political clans. Royal clans. Clans that are moved to violence to fight for what they believe is theirs, like when  a Muslim royal clan fought (against Malaysians) for Sabah, despite calls by the government to stop.  To add to that, tribal wars  still happen. one may conclude that there is no question where many Filipinos’ loyalties lie : before the country, the tribe; before the tribe, the clan; before the clan, the family; and then of course,  before the family, God. And who better to represent God on the Philippine Islands but the Catholic church?

Indeed, the Catholic Church continues  to be politically active. And they don’t deny it either:

This year the CBCP chose to dwell on the way we conduct politics in our country. Since 1945, when the CBCP itself started functioning as a Conference, more than half of its pastoral letters and statements have dealt with political questions (see PL). In 1991, the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP-II) devoted a good amount of time and space in its final document to the discussion of the role of the Church in politics (see PCP-II, par. 330-53). Why has the Church been unusually pro-active in addressing the subject of politics since the end of World War II and especially since the Martial Law years and the restoration of our democracy in 1986?

Cruz, Oscar. Official Website of the CPCP Media Office. Pastoral Exhortation on Philippine Politics. September 16, 1997. Web. October 13, 2013. <http://cbcponline.net/v2/?p=387>

Yes, the church can make or break a law. It openly supports or opposes certain bills.

The fight against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill is the biggest challenge the Catholic Church is facing this Christmas season, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday.

Macairan, Evelyn .‘The Philippine Star. Fight vs RH bill is Catholic Church’s biggest challenge.  December 16, 2012. Web. October 23, 2013 <http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2012/12/16/886554/fight-vs-rh-bill-catholic-churchs-biggest-challenge&gt;

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is now training its guns on the anti-discrimination bill, saying the possible enactment of the bill into law would open the door for the legalization of same sex marriages.

Calleja, Niña. Inquirer News. CBCP wants anti-discrimination bill cleansed of provisions on gay rights. December 7,2011.  Web. October 23, 2013 <http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/106981/cbcp-wants-anti-discrimination-bill-cleansed-of-provisions-on-gay-rights>

Not only that, they can also make or break a politician, by endorsing those whose ideals are in line with theirs (or just keen to please them).

It is openly endorsing senatorial candidates who they think will repeal this law and conducting a negative campaign against those who had approved the law or now openly back it.

Robles, Alan. Raissa Robles. Catholic Church in the Philippines turns openly political to crush RH Law. April 28, 2013. We. october 23, 2013 <http://raissarobles.com/2013/04/28/catholic-church-in-the-philippines-turns-openly-political-to-crush-rh-law/>

But it’s not only the Catholic church. Some sects also enjoy immense power and influence in the Philippines to actually shut down Manila :

The gathering of the secretive and politically influential Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in the historic district of Manila forced all schools and some government offices to close.
Global Post. Powerful Philippine sect shuts down Manila. October 14, 2013. Web. October 23, 2013.  <http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131014/powerful-philippine-sect-shuts-down-manila-0>

Still not convinced that the Philippines is, indeed, a collectivist culture?

If you think this is just some irregularity of our “individualist” culture : think again. The church wouldn’t be acting with impunity all this time if it didn’t enjoy a great following who can be moved to do almost anything for the salvation of their souls.  But if, somehow, you still refuse to be convinced by my arguments, by claiming that you are neither religious nor family-oriented and therefore these don’t apply to you, then let’s look at another evidence of collectivism in our culture: our peer relationships.

Collectivism in the Philippines : Peers

Collectivism in the Philippines : Peers

Shapiro, Marsha. Asian Culture Brief: Philippines. National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC-AAPI). Web. October 24, 2013.<http://www.ntac.hawaii.edu/downloads/products/briefs/culture/pdf/ACB-Vol2-Iss3-Philippines.pdf>

I will admit that yes, I do belong to groups, some of which I have remained active and fiercely loyal until now. Yes, I have compromised and gone somewhere I didn’t want to go, because it’s the company that mattered. Haven’t you?

What about on social media? Don’ t you think there are one too many collective trends on Facebook (which is probably not limited to Filipino users)?

Do you remember the time when everybody in your friends list changed their profiles pics to cartoon characters?

collectivisminsocialmedia

From this site 

What about Throwback Thursday? 

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday From Knowyourmeme

And what about collective cyber-bullying?

collectivismlao

This website states :

Many of the Asian cultures are collectivist, while Anglo cultures tend to be individualist.

This can often have an impact on the amount of time a given task may take. For example a market research firm conducted a survey of tourist agencies around the world. The questionnaires came back from most countries in less than a month. But the agencies in the Asian countries took months to do it. After many requests, it was finally done. The reason was that, for example, American tourist agencies assigned the work to one person, while the Filipinos delegated the work to the entire department, which took longer. The researchers also noticed that the replies from the Philippines always came from a different person.

Rutledge, Brett . The Artciulate CEO. Cultural Differences – Individualism versus Collectivism.  February 26, 2013. Web. October 10, 2013 <http://thearticulateceo.typepad.com/my-blog/2011/09/cultural-differences-individualism-versus-collectivism.html>

By writing this, I don’t mean to insult Filipino culture. In the first place, I don’t think collectivism is the ultimate evil while individualism is the ultimate good.  Like capitalism/socialism, what we need is a good, healthy mix of these two extremes.  For one, I wouldn’t want to swap my strong family ties for anything else.

Perceptions, Decisions and Actions of Collectivists

Our collective-orientation affects the decisions that we make in our lives. But not only that, it also affects our perception. Imagine being shown a video of fish in a tank. Believe it or not, a study done on Japanese and American subjects yielded interesting results.

Whereas people of Western culture tend to engage in context-independent cognitive processes and to perceive and think about the environment in an analytic way, people of East Asian culture tend to engage in context-dependent cognitive processes and to perceive and think about the environment in a holistic way.

In an illustrative study, both Japanese and Americans were shown a short video clip depicting an underwater scene with fish, small animals, plants, and rocks, and were asked to report what they saw in the clip (Masuda & Nisbett, 2001).

Americans referred mainly to features of focal fish (large, foregrounded, rapidly moving, brightly colored),whereas Japanese referred more to context and to relationships between focal objects and context (background objects and location of objects in relation to one another). Such cultural differences in attention were also found in other tasks stripped of sociocultural context t (Ji, Peng, & Nisbett, 2000; Kitayama, Duffy, Kawamura, & Larsen, 2003). For example, Kitayama et al. (2003) presented participants with a square frame in which a line was drawn. Participants were then shown other square frames of various sizes and asked to o draw a line that was identical to the first line in either absolute length or ratio to the surrounding frame. Kitayama et al. found that whereas Americans were more accurate in the absolute task, Japanese were more accurate in the relative task. These findings suggest that the Japanese were paying more attention to the frame (context) than the Americans were.

Miyamoto, Yuri,Nisbett, Richard, Masuda, Takahiko. Department of Pscyhology. University of Wisconsin. Culture and the Physical
Environment Holistic Versus Analytic Perceptual Affordances. Web. October 25, 2013. <http://psych.wisc.edu/Miyamoto/Cacl/Miyamoto%20et%20al%2006.pdf &gt;

It also influences our choices. The Art of Choosing explains :

Those of us raised in more individualist societies, such as the United states, are taught to focus primarily on the “I” when choosing. In his book Individualism and Collectivism, cultural psychologist Harry Triandis notes that individualists “are primarily motivated by their own preferences, needs, rights and the contracts they have established with others.” Not only do people choose based on their own preferences, which is itself significant given the number of choices in life and their importance; they also come to see themselves as defined by their individual interests, personality traits, and actions; for example, “I am a film buff” or “I am environmentally conscious.” In this worldview, it’s critical to that one be able to determine one’s one path in life in order to be a complete person, and any obstacle to doing so is seen as patently unjust.

Central to individualist ideology is the conceiving of choice in terms of opportunity – promoting an individual’s ability to be or to do whatever he or she desires. The cumulative effect of these events on people’s expectations about the role choice should play in life and its implications for the structure of society was eloquently expressed by 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill, who wrote, “The only freedom deserving the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, long as we do not atempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it… Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.

The way of thinking has become so ingrained that we rarely pause to consider that it may not be a universally shared idea- that we may not always want to make choices, or that some people prefer to have their choices prescribed by another. But in fact, the construct of individualism is a relatively new one that guides the thinking of only a small percentage of the world’s population.

Members of collective societies, including Japan, are taught to privilege the “we” in choosing, and they see themselves primarily in terms of the groups to which they belong, such as family, coworkers, village, or nation. In the words of Harry Triandis, they are “primarily motivated by the norms of, and duties imposed by, those collectives” and “are willing to give priority to the goals of these collectives over their own personal goals,” emphasizing above all else “their connectednessto members of these collectives.” Rather than everyone looking out for number one, it’s believed that individuals can be happy only when the needs of the group as a while are met. For example, the Japanese saying makeru ga kachi (literally “to lose is to win”) expresses the idea that getting one’s way is less desirable than maintaining peace and harmony. The effects of a collectivist worldview go beyond determining who should choose. Rather than defining themselves solely by their personal traits, collectivists understand their identities through their relationships to certain groups. People in such societies, then, strive to fit in and to maintain harmony with their social in groups.

Collectivism has, if anything, been the more pervasive way of life throughout history. The earliest hunter-gatherer societies were highly collectivist by necessity, as looking out for one another increased everyone’s chances of survival, and the value placed on the collective grew after humans shifted to agriculture as a means of sustenance. As populations increased and the formerly unifying familial and tribal forces become less powerful, other forces, such as religion filled the gap, providing people with a sense of belongingness and common purpose.

Whereas value for for individualism solidified mainly in the Enlightenment, multiple manifestations of collectivism have emerged over time. The first can be traced directly back to the cultural emphasis on duty and fate that gradually developed in Asia – essentially independent of the West – thousands of years ago and is still influential today. Hinduism and those religions that succeeded it, including Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, place a strong emphasis on some form of dharma, which defines each person’s duties as a function of his caste or religion, as well as on karma, the universal law of cause and effect that transcends even death. Another significant influence is Confucianism, a codification of preexistising cultural practices that originated in China but later also spread to Southeast Asia and Japan. In The Analect, Confucius wrote, “In the world, there are two great decrees : one is fate and the other is duty. That a son should love his parents is fate – you cannot erase this from the his heart. That a subject should serve his ruler is duty – there is no place he can go and be without his rulers, no place he can escape between heaven and earth.” The ultimate goal was to make these inevitable relationships as harmonious as possible. This form of collectivism remains foremost in the East today; in these cultures, individuals tend to understand their lives relatively more in terms of their duties and less in terms of personal preferences.

Iyengar, Sheena. The Art of Choosing.New York: Hachette Book Group,2010.31-34. Print.

Duties. Is it why arranged marriages are still prevalent in many Asian countries like India? Is it why Asian kids (allegedly) thrive more when decisions are made for them by their parents (based on studies)? Is it why many Filipinos strive hard abroad – in the name of duty to family? Is it why Asians don’t seem to like confrontations and prefer to say yes when we mean no? And is it why (it seems that) Japanese live to work while Americans work to live? (sample studies to follow!)

But even if we accept that indeed, we are duty-bound, and that we must consider the well-being of the majority ahead of ourselves, paradoxically, we also tend to believe that we are not in control of everything. “Bahala na” (Come what may) as we say in Filipino. There are greater forces at work and there is only so much we can do.

Collectivist cultures, by contrast, encourage people to think about control in a most holistic way. In perhaps the most famous passage of the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita, the god Krishna tells the hero Arjuna, “You have control only over you actions, never over the fruit of your actions. You should never act for the sake of the reward, nor should you succumb to inaction.” Because the world is affected by not just an individual’s goals, but also by the social context and the dictates of fate, people should ensure that their actions are righteous without fixating on obtaining a particular result. Similar acknowledgements of the limits in one’s ability to affect the world can be seen in the Arabic phrase, in sha’ Allah (God willing), which Muslim regularly append to statements about the future; for example, “I’ll see you tomorrow, God willing,”  and in the Japanese shikata ga nai (it can’t be helped), which is widely used by people coping with adverse circumstances or unpleasant duties. The individual is by no means powerless, but he is just one player in the drama of life.

Iyengar, Sheena. The Art of Choosing.New York: Hachette Book Group,2010.55. Print.

Note :  We also have our own version of in sha’Allah : “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.” Literally:   With God is mercy, with man is action.

Oddly, it also seems as though that collective cultures are more tolerant of different values too:

Paradoxically, individualist cultures tend to believe that there are universal values that should be shared by all, while collectivist cultures tend to accept that different groups have different values.

Rutledge, Brett . The Artciulate CEO. Cultural Differences – Individualism versus Collectivism.  February 26, 2013. Web. October 10, 2013 <http://thearticulateceo.typepad.com/my-blog/2011/09/cultural-differences-individualism-versus-collectivism.html >

(To be continued)

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18 comments on “Collectivism in the Philippines and Japan

  1. Joe America
    October 25, 2013

    A delight to read. About half-way through, it came to me that the only way to resolve some of the eccentricities associated with how Filipinos relate to one another is with the conclusion “All Filipinos are delusional.”

    Congratulations on being a Troll of the Highest Order. Even though it means you are collectivist because you belong to the group that aspires not to belong to any group.

    • ikalwewe
      October 26, 2013

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 I think Filipinos are facing an identity crisis. We are Asians, but we are (largely) Catholics and contrary to stereotypes, we speak English. We are Malayo-Polynesians but our vocabulary is more Spanish than Malay. We are exposed to western media that encourage western values (example: a pro-choice Cinderella and her prince who fight all odds for love vs Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, whose marriage was arranged). We are confused and, yes, I agree- even delusional. Are we more Hispanic than Asian? Are we more westernized than other Asians? When there is a form to fill-up and they ask for the ethnicity, I am always confused : Am I east Asian? South Asian? Or perhaps, Pacific Islander? Or “Others”? Ironically, even though we are collective, we don’t seem to work well together among ourselves. We can’t even make the most of collectivism. I think if we only learn to think critically and learn to favor truths (that hurt) then we may have a chance! Yes, indeed, become a Troll of the Highest Order! I recommend it to everyone.

      • Joe America
        October 26, 2013

        Your perspective is spot on as far as I can tell. But I do think, if you crick your neck just right and peer carefully through the haze, you can see that in the diversity and confused cultural patchwork is great richness, a depth of character not found in the singularly modeled, culturally homogeneous states. Failure to think critically allows the differences to fester rather than bloom . . . and thus we Troll . . .

      • ikalwewe
        October 26, 2013

        I think that our society just doesn’t bring out the best in us. I read somewhere that there is only 1% poor Filipinos in the US, the least of all minorities. That means that given the right conditions, we’ve proven that – to quote Obama- yes, we can! My frustrations with Filipinos,Japanese and many other Asian countries, is when I try to point out what’s wrong, I usually get the “if-you-don’t-like-it-here-then-leave” reply. I can get away with criticising my country (foreigners like you will probably get criticized heavily for complaining), but here I am the foreigner and I get the same dose of defensiveness, they think I’m attacking the whole system when I suggested teaching the students the definition of pronouns. The way of thinking seems to be,”I didn’t know what pronouns were until I was in college. Why should I change things now?” But, aren’t we the change we are waiting for? Not that the Philippines is any better. At least I knew what pronouns were from a young age. 🙂

      • Joe America
        October 26, 2013

        Yes, those lovely pronouns. I found that when I first started participating in blogs, people were more critical of my commenting than they are now. Two reasons. (1) most understand that I have a track record of a deep interest in the well-being of the Philippines, and (2) I tempered my remarks. Of (2) there is an (a) I did a better job of not having to require that Filipinos be American, and (b) I eased up on the sharpness of challenge. Of (b), I let Angry Maude do the heavy lifting of whine and complaint. She’s the bad cop, I’m the good.

      • Tris
        July 12, 2015

        I agree that the Philippines is a collectivist culture. But I also believe that numerous religious sects, political views, dialects and sub culture are the reasons we cant function effectively as one like, Japan and Korea .

      • yasss
        March 1, 2017

        If Ikalwewe is your last nam can i ask your first. If it is your first name then what is your last?

      • ikalwewe
        March 3, 2017

        Why?

  2. boykulit
    November 4, 2013

    I hope this article will help Filipinos to pursue right collectivism for our nation’s progress.

    • ikalwewe
      November 4, 2013

      Hi. Thanks for your comment.

      • boykulit
        November 11, 2013

        you’re welcome.

  3. Pingback: Group Culture in Japan | rakenrol.net

  4. J (The Nutbox)
    March 13, 2014

    Great content. But sorry to nitpick: Japan used to be as clannish as the Philippines. The sense of community in the neighborhood, too, used to be strong. Kita Senju used to be a vast slum area, and elders swear people then share what they have, just like in Tondo. The manga Sanchoume no Yuuji captures this. I think everything changed when the economy boomed during the latter part of the Showa era. Consumerism and individualism set in as the country experienced prosperity and more people leave their communities to work in the cities. I guess the erosion of the family is a natural consequence of prosperity, no?

    • ikalwewe
      March 14, 2014

      The collectivist findings in Japan and Philippines weren’t done by me but by Hofstede center after a survey done on IBM employees. I was as surprised as you are, that Japan ranked much higher at individualism. Look at my most recent post on this :
      http://rakenrol.net/japan/?p=1832

      I honestly think Christianity encourages the concept of sense of self/ individuality than Buddhism or Hinduism (oneness). But then again maybe we are just collectivist in another way (religious/ family / barkada associations) and Japan the other.

      For one, why do people in the Philippines travel by group? I hardly see single, female travelers like me. And when I say I am alone, people go, “Whoa, talaga? ang lungkot naman!”

      Lastly thank you for your comment. Have a great day!

      • Tris
        July 12, 2015

        also, according to Hofstede “family is the base of collectivism” as mentioned above Japanese culture has weak family ties unlike other Asia countries such Korea, China and Philippines. In addition, some anthropologist believes that “Japanese are concerned with face in order to avoid shame”. I think in today’s modern Japan this is the reason they are going to a more individualist culture. Especially in the corporate world. It is alarming to know how many CEO and Managers have committed suicide.

      • ikalwewe
        July 21, 2015

        I still think Japan is more collective than the Philippines. On the good side – lower crime rates, lower asshole production, more cohesive and efficient etc. On the bad side – there is no room for individuality, harder to fit in for non-Japanese (and even for some Japanese) who dare think different. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Jin
    July 31, 2014

    I am an Asian. Using the “Collectivism Meme from Facebook” photo makes me feel like being insulted. It’s not funny at all and for me, sometimes I couldn’t distinguish caucasians in one picture. You look so same.

    • ikalwewe
      July 31, 2014

      I’m Asian too. I didn’t make the meme. Please take your issue to the person who made it. Thanks for your comment.

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