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Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Anastasia Smirnova
A Comparison ot the Feeling of Guilt in Modern Japanese and Western Societies (Based on Naikan-Therapy)
Asian Studies
(Bachelor’s programme)
All people in the world have a sense of guilt. However, the attitude to this feeling varies depending on the ethnos, since its formation is strongly influenced by the socio-cultural background. Despite the negative connotations in everyday life, the feeling of guilt can be a positive force that changes a person for the better. This work is devoted to the study of attitudes towards feelings of guilt in Japanese society. The analysis of the interpretation of guilt was carried out on the example of a special form of Japanese psychotherapy, which is called Naikan (translated from Japanese as «introspection»). This is a special technique of meditation, during which a person plunges into an existential awareness of guilt and, through working through it, comes to change his personality for the better. The concept of “personality” in Japanese society is interpreted differently than in the Western one, therefore, comparison of the interpretation of this term in two cultures was also given attention.

A comparative analysis was chosen as the method of this study. This makes it possible to identify similarities, analogies and similarities from seemingly different things and raise the question of the mutual influence and interconnection of these two things. Also, a method of case-study was applied when analyzing cases from psychotherapeutic practice.

During the work, the following results were obtained concerning the Japanese approach to guilt feelings:

• Direction of guilt to the outside world;

• Formation of a mechanism to avoid self-deprecation;

• The predominance of maternal transference and the significance of obtaining maternal forgiveness;

• Striving to build interpersonal relationships following the example of a mother and child relationship based on an amae structure

The results of this work may be useful for further work relating to cross-cultural research, philosophy and ethnopsychology.

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