Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Black; Group Psychology?

When I read a newspaper, one reader's column caught my eye:

I've seen many students looking for job recently and wondered why they all are wearing black suits. Asking my neighbor about it, I was explained that it was a common trend and if anyone wore a different suit, he or she would be conspicuous. .... I think the way of dealing with everything in the same way should be thrown away... (Yomiuri, 02/03/2009)

Well,..I agree and that's just what I wonder when I see students hunting for job in a city this season. I know the reason also(and the neighbor is almost right.) and maybe that's kind of one of the Japanese behavioral characteristics.

The Japanese people have been taught to listen to others first and not to say words that may hurt someone, or to say what they want to after thinking over what impact they will have on others by saying it. Therefore, it is, I am not sure, the reason why many Japanese people are likely to look around before expressing themselves.

Hmm,...I don't know if the above behavior is very similar to that seen in other countries, say, USA or Germany, but, of course, I agree on the idea that people should say what they want to after thinking about whether or not it is appropriate; It's one of basically social manners regardless of which country we live in.

However, it seems to me that it's the very Japanese-like social and conventional behavior. I don't know if this trend should be modified, but, as this reader puts, it may make us somewhat suffocated. Well,... I like much brighter scenery, though.


vrc15 said...

Interview clothing for Americans is on the conservative side as well (if you're smart :) but black is far from the only color one could wear to an interview. Navy blue, gray, brown, even a very dark green would be fine. I think most people choose a color that flatters their coloring best. Women have a few more choices but still tend to the conservative.

If everybody showed up wearing black, the interviewer would probably ask himself or herself if someone had died. :)

The idea that most American interviewees have here is that you *want* to be conspicuous and set yourself apart from the crowd, but in a good, acceptable way, by being well-groomed and providing interesting, distinctive answers and superior experience which proves your worth. But one does not want to be memorable for weird or negative reasons. So you must conform, yet not conform, and that's very much in line with our overall culture as well. It's a fine line to tread, isn't it? It can be very tiring. :)

I would be interested to know what color tie Japanese men choose for their interview. It's hard to tell from that photo. Typically an American man will have a conservative, unremarkable suit, but will choose something more colorful for his tie.

Taro said...

Hi,dear VRC, thank you for your nice comment and reference. (and I think you are the one who gave me an email before and at once I would say thank you again.)

To be honest, your comment is very interesting to me. I've just asked someone living in other countries(like you American citizen) about this matter. I've wanted to make a brief comparison between the Japanese and the American way of interview clothing.

Judging from your insight, it seems almost similar to the scenery we could see in a city this season(March and April) in Japan.

I recalled that I had seen many students wearing relatively dark-colored suits in the job seminar in the US last July and August. I felt as if I saw the Japanese students and I had a little smile because I had kind of a sense of closeness.

Again I felt close to the Japanese way of preparing job interviews:
around every March and Spring there are many seminars or events around the country for college/university students. These are held to give them a free lecture on how well to set themselves apart from the crowd in an acceptable way.

That's what you said, that is, students are generally told to prepare well-groomed, interesting and distinctive answers and ambitions that prove their worth.

Also, they are told about how well to wear suits and ties, and, for ladies, how well to make up there.

We can see many students there take notes seriously and ask questions in earnest. However, we can seldom see them do the same way in their school classes.:(

I feel it's so tiring too:), but I guess it is necessary for them to do so.

Your question about tie is very interesting too, but I am not sure what color tie general students are wearing. I guess many of them tend to have a conservative, plain colored tie as well. They are less likely to have a stripe-patterned or a colorful one.

vrc15 said...

I suppose the interview uniform is going to be pretty similar for any modern industrialized country. You can't escape the suit!

Of course, once you get the job, you can let loose a little bit. At least we do over here. On the other hand, I work in the entertainment industry and not at, for example, a bank or IBM, so my staff and I can get away with casual clothing. :)

Taro said...

Thank you, VRC15-san,

Yes, you said it! I don't mean I don't like a suit. Rather I prefer it because I don't have to choose what to wear everyday.

I just only may change a tie and shirt. Very easy:)