The Japanese do not sleep nor nap. They only do inemuri.

Although the stereotype above cannot be always true, most of the time it is the case.

Inemuri is falling asleep when you are trying to stay awake or dozing off. For example, during the class you can’t keep your head up, you are struggling to stay awake; however, your eyelids just want to close. Inemuri have come from Japanese culture before the economic bubble burst, where days of the Japanese society were full of work and fun activities, and there was no enough time for sleeping. Thus, people have started to be seen in sleeping on the train, at work, on the bus, at school, and other public places. Although this situation sometimes has been complained by the society, there was a feeling of pride underlying it.

Taking a nap is acceptable.

In Japan, however, if a working person is caught having a little doze at their desk, it is considered completely acceptable and normal, at the same time it is a sign that the person is diligent, hard-working, active, and successful. This situation is not only limited at the workplace but also can be seen in the school environment. If we look at the western culture, for example, a person dozing off at the workplace or at school will be sent to their master,  parents of the children will be informed and the trouble cases is going to arise. At the Japan classes, however, if the teacher has caught the student dozing off during the classes, they will assume this is because they are good students who were up all night studying; of course, it depends on the student.

It is a sign of motivation.

Japanese people consider taking a nap at work to be a sign of motivation because it is believed that the individual probably has been working so hard and so late during the previous day that he or she feels tired. It means the person is hard-working so that he or she is able to indulge in inemuri. Although the art of sleeping is considered as a sign of motivation and is accepted in Japan workplaces, there are also exceptions, where some of the companies are very well-disciplined and have strict rules on this.

Sleeping in public is very common.

One study has concluded that 39.5 percent of Japanese adults slept less than six hours a night. These people spend their daytimes at the workplace and during the night they either decide to have fun activities or work harder. This is being repeated every week and consequently, you may find people sleeping in public places. Inemuri is not restricted to the workplace, but you can find people napping in shopping malls, cafes, buses, trains or even in crowd places. In contrast to the western culture, it is not something absurd in Japanese culture.

Cultural Shaping behind Inemuri:

It has been known that ancient Japanese society used to catch hell if they slept late at the night. On the other hand, scholars and samurai used to receive praise and compliment for staying awake and not sleeping too much. Waking up early, at the same time, has been seen as a virtue and grace since the acceptance of Buddhism. Now we can consider this acceptance of inemuri as a cultural shaping and the process of transition. In my opinion, the acceptance and the normal consideration of inemuri are much more logical than a person to be totally absent in the school or workplace.

 What about crime cases?

The crime rate is very low in Japan, that’s why people feel comfortable to engage in Inemuri. You can see people taking naps while traveling by bus or train, carrying their bags next to them without being anxious about thefts, that is also one plus an advantage for Japanese society.

Images: Pexels & Flickr: [1], [2]

Copyright: Dream Humanity