Mentsu, Polyphony Digital, & Us...

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VBR

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Mentsu; face.

Mentsu wo ushinau;
to lose face.

Mentsu wo tamotsu;
to save face.

Kao o tateru; to give face.



(not to be confused with Western concepts of losing/saving face)



"The instinct to preserve face is something so ingrained in Japanese culture that many Japanese are not aware that it influences their behaviour. It’s not something that [the] Japanese often talk about...The desire to avoid causing loss of face for oneself, one’s organization, or for others can be said to be the motivation behind many things that Japanese organizations do that are puzzling to [Westerners]...Japanese companies seem reluctant to admit mistakes or discuss problems publicly...The persistent fear of loss of face is behind these otherwise inexplicable behaviours."

Saving Face: A Little Discretion Can Go A Long Way In Japan, by Japan Intercultural Consulting (source).​



I've long been bemused by the lack of response from PD regarding community feedback. The suggestions forum here on GT Planet on is awash with innovative ideas & common sense solutions to pretty much all of the problems & issues plaguing the GT series, yet most of them seem to have gone completely unnoticed by PD. However, after being enlightened by @Slapped & @Majorwolf72 regarding the Japanese cultural phenomenon of Mentsu, I'm now beginning to understand why this might be the case. Please read the quotes below thoroughly, as well as some of the linked articles (especially the first one), & have a good long think about them before replying...


The problem lies with the Asian culture of losing face. Many years ago I worked for a company sourcing technical...thingymibobs from Japan...and on the whole, things well exceptionally well - until they didn’t and then it was an absolute...nightmare.

...from time to time something wouldn’t work as expected. When that happened we did a full analysis and worked out how to solve the issues. We then went back to the supplier with a report of the issue and also our proposed solution.

This is where the problems really began as there was no way in hell they’d implement our solution. They would throw everything...at the issue to solve the problem except implementing the solution we’d proposed, despite our solution being pretty much the only obvious way to correct the problem.

Naturally, this left us totally and utterly frustrated as we couldn’t use the products, and nor could we get the suppliers to successfully resolve the issues.

The answer to our problems came about when one of our team was in Japan...and the interpreter...explained to him the reason why our proposals were not being implemented, and it’s basically about losing face - I’ll explain.

It’s no problem for a product to have an issue...What is a problem, however, is providing the supplier/manufacturer with the solution. If a Japanese manufacturer were to implement our proposals then it would be an admission that they could not solve the problems themselves, and therefore face would be lost, hence why they tried everything else to solve the issues.

What we had to do was provide them with only a problem description, but in such a way that our already worked out solution was the only obvious choice.
I‘ve been trying to bring that message across to the good fellow Europeans and Americans here a dozen times at least, they still won’t believe you and rather tell themselves that reason will have to prevail...

Nothing will make a Japanese [person] accept your better solution to a problem...My dad was doing business with them way back...and always said: "If there‘s a problem, you have to start over from zero. Improvements they won’t do.“

It may seem strange and utterly stupid to us...But it is the way it is.
...I was born in an Asian country and raised in an Asian culture. That's why I can totally sympathise with PD's quirks and idiosyncratic ways of working.


So, in essence, every time we give PD solutions to problems in GT Sport, they wouldn't be able to implement them without "losing face". Maybe we need to find a way of bringing problems to their attention without overtly giving them the solution, & if we could do it in such a way that gives them face (kao o tateru) then all the better.


💡




More Information about Mentsu;


https://talkaboutjapan.com/save-face-in-japanese-culture/

http://www.locoinyokohama.com/2009/02/16/its-all-about-the-mentsu-面子-baby/

http://www.nihongonosekai.com/newspapers/Japanese_Naturally/articles/19880730jn.htm

http://successacross.net/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfsdernews/10.08.2010_To_save_face.pdf



Two very in-depth studies on Mentsu;


https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1134&context=iaccp_papers

https://web.uri.edu/iaics/files/9-XXIII-1-Lin-Tao.pdf




Discuss...
 
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1,294
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I think you're reading too much into cultural norms and stereotypes. Mexican Americans are known for overvaluing masculinity and masculine behavior. This idea is referred to as "machismo". As a Mexican american, I can tell you that machismo is no different than toxic masculinity in American culture.

In regards to saving face, I currently work in a female dominated corporation and despite not being Japanese we have many intelligent and resourceful women who refuse to lose face to their peers. Despite the Japanese term, "mentsu" is still a very universally human trait regardless of where a corporation is located. Is mentsu more prominent in Japanese culture than Swedish culture? Possibly. However, saving face still exists in all cultures just to varying degrees.

You could have conveyed all of this under the pretense of, "PD doesn't want to lose face." without having to bring cultural presumptions into the discussion.
 

VBR

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I think you're reading too much into cultural norms and stereotypes. Mexican Americans are known for overvaluing masculinity and masculine behavior. This idea is referred to as "machismo". As a Mexican american, I can tell you that machismo is no different than toxic masculinity in American culture.

In regards to saving face, I currently work in a female dominated corporation and despite not being Japanese we have many intelligent and resourceful women who refuse to lose face to their peers. Despite the Japanese term, "mentsu" is still a very universally human trait regardless of where a corporation is located. Is mentsu more prominent in Japanese culture than Swedish culture? Possibly. However, saving face still exists in all cultures just to varying degrees.

You could have conveyed all of this under the pretense of, "PD doesn't want to lose face." without having to bring cultural presumptions into the discussion.


The concept of Mentsu in Japan & the western concept of losing face are very different from each other. Comparing them as if they are the same thing betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the topic in question. Perhaps some research on your part would be advisable.

That said, you are right that I am presuming Mentsu to be the reason behind PD's lack of willingness to implement our suggestions.
 
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VBR
The concept of Mentsu in Japan & the western concept of losing face are very different from each other. Comparing them as if they are the same thing betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the topic in question.

But you compared them.
 
1,294
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VBR
No, I didn't. Where in the OP do you imagine I did?
"Mentsu; face.

Mentsu wo ushinau;
to lose face. Mentsu wo tamotsu; to save face.


"The instinct to preserve face is something so ingrained in Japanese culture that many Japanese are not aware that it influences their behaviour."

I'm just following your lead man.

My point still stands. Observing cultural tendencies is one thing. To presume or assume an entire culture's behaviors based on those observations is another. There is nothing inherently Japanese about how PD handles their feedback. Many western games developers do the same thing.
 

VBR

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I never compared the western concept of face with the Japanese version of face anywhere in the OP. You are committing a Strawman fallacy. As for your other pointless points, I'm not interested in getting drawn into mindless contention, take it somewhere else, please.
 
1,294
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VBR
I never compared the western concept of face with the Japanese version of face anywhere in the OP. You are committing a Strawman fallacy. As for your other pointless points, I'm not interested in getting drawn into mindless contention, take it somewhere else, please.

You provided the translation, I didn't. I'm just working with what you gave me. If you claim the comparison is pointless, I'm fine with that. I have no axe to grind here. I just don't think that your cultural observation provides any insight beyond what typically happens at many corporations around the world.
 
1,717
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We all need to act like a (stereotypic) dum blonde in a sit com.

"Umm.. i have a problem with my car going too straigth when i want it to turn. I have like no idea what this is. Could someone please help me to not not turn..?". And here comes PDI in a shiny armor and says: "Fear not my beloved dum dum. Its called understeer - our team of experts have noticed this way before you and our amazing game developing prowess can fix it for you in an update.. soon.."
 
618
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@VBR
What bothers me is that for years GT has had the ingredients for great driving and racing itself, with GT500 being the flagship series, and tracks at least as good as the best in contemporary F1. Almost all of this has been abandoned when all they had to do was just proceed with the technological developments and introduce the necessary structure for GT Sport to become big with a natural hierarchy in place. This would have given them a fraction of the issues instead of making blanket changes dictated from the bottom.

Current ABS after 1.39: acceptable now for all, but still a bit compromised.
Default balance of most cars; unacceptable
Physics in general; a lot better than GT6
Usage of the fastest cars; unacceptable for an esport
Track combos; mixed at best which is a mystery since the old ones were terrific.
Vision cars; not sure what they are about because they tend to be heavy with ultra low profile tyres which creates immediate understeer....
 
1,717
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@VBR
What bothers me is that for years GT has had the ingredients for great driving and racing itself, with GT500 being the flagship series, and tracks at least as good as the best in contemporary F1. Almost all of this has been abandoned when all they had to do was just proceed with the technological developments and introduce the necessary structure for GT Sport to become big with a natural hierarchy in place. This would have given them a fraction of the issues instead of making blanket changes dictated from the bottom.

Current ABS after 1.39: acceptable now for all, but still a bit compromised.
Default balance of most cars; unacceptable
Physics in general; a lot better than GT6
Usage of the fastest cars; unacceptable for an esport
Track combos; mixed at best which is a mystery since the old ones were terrific.
Vision cars; not sure what they are about because they tend to be heavy with ultra low profile tyres which creates immediate understeer....
I think PDIs and recent GT games problem is perfectionism. They aim so high its not achievable with console limitations which leads to compromises and watering down.
 

PzR Slim

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I think PDIs and recent GT games problem is perfectionism. They aim so high its not achievable with console limitations which leads to compromises and watering down.
That would hold true if they strove for perfection in everything yet it's patently clear that some of their work is shoddy at best. For me they focus far too much on the fine details of some things and totally disregard others to the detriment of the overall experience.
 

RACECAR

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I think PDIs and recent GT games problem is perfectionism. They aim so high its not achievable with console limitations which leads to compromises and watering down.

I think its less "Perfectionism" (That Word or similar gets thrown way too much I feel, usually by the fanboys that can't acknowledge flaws without jumping to a unnecessary defense because they perceive criticism as an attack) and more "Ambition". They often aim so impossibly high and seemingly every time, can never even get close.
 
1,717
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HI-tauer
I think its less "Perfectionism" (That Word or similar gets thrown way too much I feel, usually by the fanboys that can't acknowledge flaws without jumping to a unnecessary defense because they perceive criticism as an attack) and more "Ambition". They often aim so impossibly high and seemingly every time, can never even get close.

I never see perfectionism as a positive thing as the world is not perfect. I see it as obsession that slows things down and wastes resources.
 

VBR

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You provided the translation, I didn't. I'm just working with what you gave me. If you claim the comparison is pointless, I'm fine with that. I have no axe to grind here.

The translations came from an article I was using while researching. It was just a literal translation of the words themselves, which doesn't convey the actual or full meaning it has in Japanese. That's why I suggested you do some further digging to understand the differences between what face means in Japanese & what it means in English.

"...mentsu...is used just as the Japanese translation of the English face concept1 , despite the inherent differences between these two terms."



I just don't think that your cultural observation provides any insight beyond what typically happens at many corporations around the world.

Concepts of Face differ among cultures, therefore, it's an anecdotal fallacy to judge one by another. To assume that Face is the same or similar for "...corporations around the world..." is to misunderstand the inherent differences between what Face means in their respective cultures as well its relative importance. Western vs Asian concepts of Face are very different from one another. Also, Mentsu is only one word used to describe Face, the Japanese have many words & terms for the concept. It's a very complex subject.


EDIT: For the basics of what face generally means to Asians, try this: https://www.tripsavvy.com/saving-face-and-losing-face-1458303 And how it specifically pertains to the Japanese, try this; https://talkaboutjapan.com/save-face-in-japanese-culture/


👍
 
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VBR

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While the literal translation of mentsu may be "face", I think the word honour may be more accurate to describe it.

According to some, there's no accurate way to describe it with one word in English. Words used to translate Mentsu include; face, honour, dignity, reputation, appearance. "According to a lexical definition (Koujien 5th., 1998), the word mentsu means “the social reputations or social appearance”."
 
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VBR
So, in essence, every time we give PD solutions to problems in GT Sport, they wouldn't be able to implement them without "losing face". Maybe we need to find a way of bringing problems to their attention without overtly giving them the solution, & if we could do it in such a way that gives them face instead of losing it then all the better.

Losing face, it's universal and familiar to all of us in our own cultural way. No matter who you are, this idea of losing face, saving face is universal. So while we try to have an intelligent discussion on an important function within GT, could we try to minimize the back and forth on semantics by giving each other some room for personal interpretations and move the heart of the subject forward--how might we consider new and effective ways to influence PD better?

Besides, PD may even have their own distinct "corporate" version of losing face which complicates things further. I'm all good with starting with generalizations to approach a subject, but getting caught in the weeds too early and never really going anywhere = analysis, paralysis.

So the general premiss by the OP is that PD has been unresponsive to fans' criticism of their product and perhaps understanding their cultural norms could lead to a more effective relationship. Yea, it's an interesting way to think about it and it deserves some quality thoughts.

My first thought on this is this. It's a really important subject, and businesses that have a robust communication/feedback loop with their fans will likely catch and fix problems earlier, design cohesive improvements/new features that fans will embrace and generate new ideas to imagine next generation experiences. So the question then becomes--how?

Fans can shout to PD--currently trying this at this moment, not very effective.
Have organized, evidence based threads--works to some degree, not very clear but somewhat effective.
What else?

Just an idea, perhaps it's not our responsibility to cater to PD? Why should the paying customer have to endure poor customer service? Shouldn't this be the other way around? Outside of gaming, usually it's the businesses that are actively engaged in winning customers over to their portfolio of products and they utilize every resource available to strengthening their value proposition...why does it seem to be somewhat backwards for PD?

For some reason, good intentioned fans seem to think they should do more to improve communication with PD. I'm finding that to be a bit strange, and propose that this is exactly the type of behavior that only serves to encourage PD to continue as is.

I think PD needs a wake-up call. They have many loyal and educated fans that want the GT franchise to succeed, but one has to be honest here and say so far, they have not taken a professional step forward to cement a relationship for the future through establishing mutual respect with their fans. Whatever you guys come up with in this thread, I believe there is one and truly one method for getting PD's attention--once and for all. Fans need to stop playing this game. And as a result if PD's financial planner calls attention to falling revenue, then things WILL change. Kaz will have to change...but if he's entrenched in 'losing face' and not able to evolve--or any of the many traits that ultimately lead businesses to fail--then they will go away...what a waste that would be, especially with so many passionate fans that would have welcomed the opportunity to strengthen PD's business.
 
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GTRP_mirial
Fans need to stop playing this game. And as a result if PD's financial planner calls attention to falling revenue, then things WILL change. Kaz will have to change....

It would be good all drivers from S to A to boycott everything until the penny drops which will trigger proper communication with a bunch of coherent, experienced sim racers to give this game proper feedback.
 
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It would be good all drivers from S to A to boycott everything until the penny drops which will trigger proper communication with a bunch of coherent, experienced sim racers to give this game proper feedback.

Actually since this is a game that's proposed mission is to be for all levels of racers that feedback from all, from the very best of the racers to those just playing to start out with would make a better more balanced game for all players regardless of their skill levels.

Those of the higher skill levels have different wants or perhaps desire even a different competitive structure within the online portion of the game than those of a somewhat lower level.

To make this game better PD would be better served to do their best to accommodate those from all levels, not just the top, or the bottom or even the middle but all players that want to play the game.

A lot of players that started to play Gran Turismo 1 at a young age still play the franchise today and some of those players are todays top guys.

To make the futures top guys you need to get that influx of young players playing and staying with the GT franchise as years go by, most of those kids do not start at the top so the game needs to also draw them into the fold and offer a level to hold their interest while still giving the top guys what they desire at their level.
 

VBR

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Losing face, it's universal and familiar to all of us in our own cultural way.

I would agree with that statement, generally speaking.


No matter who you are, this idea of losing face, saving face is universal...could we try to minimize the back and forth on semantics by giving each other some room for personal interpretations...

There is no universal concept of Face, it simply doesn't exist. What does exist, is several different ideas in several different cultures. And, as already stated; there are fundamental differences in how it manifests itself in Asian vs Western culture. Therefore, us Westerners having "...personal interpretations..." regarding how we imagine it works in Asian cultures, based merely on our own very different version of it, would be anecdotal (it's not semantics). Also, the importance placed on Face in Asian cultures, & the many bizarre ramifications of it, just do not even exist in the West.


...move the heart of the subject forward--how might we consider new and effective ways to influence PD better?

As the person who posted this thread, I can safely say that the heart of the matter was not intended to be about 'considering new & effective ways to influence PD'. I was hoping that we would educate ourselves about Mentsu, & consider how our ignorance of the finer details of Japanese culture might be affecting our hopes & expectations regarding improvements to the GT series. If we could collectively master the art of international communication, & thus get through to PD as a result, then that would be a nice bonus. But, seeing how this thread is going so far, I have little to no hope of that ever happening!


:lol:
 
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In regards to saving face, I currently work in a female dominated corporation and despite not being Japanese we have many intelligent and resourceful women who refuse to lose face to their peers. Despite the Japanese term, "mentsu" is still a very universally human trait regardless of where a corporation is located. Is mentsu more prominent in Japanese culture than Swedish culture? Possibly. However, saving face still exists in all cultures just to varying degrees.
Some things in this world.. well most things; but particularly something like this require being experienced and/or witnessed first hand in order to understand completely. It would appear that your drawing in your Westernized cultured experience without taking in the full spectrum of what VBR is trying to get across.

A true culture such as Japan, unlike here in "Murica" has taken thousands of years to develop its own idiosyncrasies and behavioral and social languages. Without an open heart and mind and without studying the culture, one cannot comprehend social phenomenon such Mentsu. The closest a normal Westerner can get to understanding Mentsu is comparing our perception of "saving face" to Mentsu but it's far more complicated than just "saving face."

Now consider when one lossed face just couple hundred years ago, the expectation was to put a blade into your own stomach (Hari-kari).... a tradition such as that doesn't just fade away.
 
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476
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VBR
Also, the importance placed on Face in Asian cultures, & the many bizarre ramifications of it, just do not even exist in the West.

What you call 'bizarre ramifications' is an interpretation based on what's normal for YOU in your culture. And calling Asian's way of defining FACE as bizarre is not what I call a good first step in educating others on concepts such as Mentsu--IMO.

As far as the West, I'm certainly with you that some distinct traits that exist overseas do not exist like carbon copies here in NA--who in their right mind would think so? HOWEVER, when you start talking about losing face, another important subject that is intertwined here--STATUS.

We may not behave like the Japanese in this or many other cultural characteristics, but there is a cultural norm alive in the West when it comes to 'Losing Face'. If you don't believe me--next time your boss calls you in to discuss something, communicate to him/her all the thoughts that you have about making things better through a substantial critique. You know, the stuff you and other employees talk about. See how that lands. Your boss may not react like a Japanese boss trying to save face, but his reaction will probably include a need to protect his authority--because of the disrespect you just showed him. Of course, a positive conversation can be had in the right context--such as employee feedback. But I'm talking about when the critique is not requested, people of authority tend to behave universally like all people--with respect to their cultural norms.

If you think about it without deeply held biases, there are boundaries in the West as well for what is acceptable. And Mentsu is a distinct, Japanese version of what is culturally normal to them.



VBR
As the person who posted this thread, I can safely say that the heart of the matter was not intended to be about 'considering new & effective ways to influence PD'.

Thanks for clearing up your view, would you mind if others explored their own thoughts on this topic or do you prefer that the rest of the people limit their thoughts only to your definition?

So here is your chance to save face in this thread. You did post this with the honest intention of creating an interesting dialogue (I buy that), but I'm not getting a sense that you are open to dialogue--especially from people who hold different views. Are you aware of the way you bark at people who are contributing to your thread?

So what are you going to do now that I gave you some unsolicited feedback about your communication? Those that get what I am trying to communicate here will want to know how you respond to this--and they can make up their own mind as to whether you are tying to save face, or confident enough to take some feedback and do what it takes to elevate your status.

Apologies if you are offended, I'm just trying to bring home the idea that everyone is operating with some form of Mentsu so let's not draw such deep divisions between cultures unnecessarily.
 
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Stephen220378
Personally I think a solid kick in Kaz's arse would be sufficient and if that fails a swift boot to the balls would see mentsu soon abandoned by PD :cheers:
 
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PD’s communication can be frustrating. But it is certainly improving and they’re listening to people with influence.

As a regular player I’ll judge ‘em on what they deliver. GT Sport launched undercooked, but their post launch support is the best I’ve ever experienced in this industry.
 
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