Applying the honor system in Japan

As noted in a post from yesterday, we’ve been exploring some group cultures that self-govern with built-in honor systems. Yesterday’s post mentioned the important role honor plays in golf where players self-report rule violations and some courses collect green fees using an “honor box.”

The Japanese response to the recent earthquake and tsunami presents another example of applying the honor system in practice. During coverage of the aftermath, viewers around the world were surprised to discover a lack of looting in the devastated areas, and commentators were quick to identify the reason:

“There’s a general sense of social responsibility that’s very fundamental to Japan. Part of that is self-regulation on the part of individuals, part of it is a society in which people are very conscious of their reputations in the eyes of their neighbors and colleagues,” Swenson-Wright told AOL News today. “They’re reluctant to do anything that would invite criticism.”

Another factor is Japanese people’s deep-rooted sense of honor, embodied in the words today of their emperor, who rarely speaks publicly and stays out of politics.

Use the comments section below to share other examples of cultures/groups that operate under an honor system of sorts.

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