Can Westerners Fit into the Japanese Senior-junior System?


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By Voices in Japan. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Yuki joins us again to talk about the senpai-kohai system. This senior-junior culture, underlies practically all relationships in Japanese society such as schools, offices, clubs, organizations and almost any other setting where groups are involved. Who is the senpai and who is the kohai is determined by the time you enter an organization. It is more than just a rank where older members receive special treatment. Senpais are mentors and are responsible for their kohais, and should take this responsibility very seriously. If a kohai screws up, the senpai will also feel embarrassed and responsible.
One of the main things that observers will notice is the way that the senpai and kohai communicate. The senpai usually uses casual Japanese whereas the kohai will always use polite Japanese (keigo, teinego, or sonkeigo).
For foreigners, it can be difficult to fully appreciate the nuances of this relationship, so having Yuki on will hopefully shed some light on this fascinating topic. Enjoy the show!
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