Japan Culture Shock | The 1st Time in My Life I Got Unfriended on Facebook

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I was unfriended on Facebook yesterday…by a Japanese friend from the Ballroom Dance Club. This is the 1st time in my life that I got unfriended on Facebook.

We became friend on Facebook last week after the Kansai Area dance party. Yesterday, I was unfriended.


We attended 3-4 practices together, went to the dance party together, danced on the dance floor together, went to dinner together, chatted on LINE together, but after all, I was unfriended. @@

The reason is that, the seniors in the club have a rule among themselves that – do not add juniors as friend on Facebook until summer.

According to that friend, it’s because some juniors may decide to quit the club before summer. If seniors became friends with juniors on Facebook, and what if they quit later? They won’t be a member of the community then.


Why can’t we be a friend even outside the club? We have got along well lately haven’t we? Do you mean that i’m still not your friend until I’m qualified as a “real” Ballroom dance club member?

I was a little bit angry to hear that I had to be unfriended because of the stupid reason. My friend wasn’t wrong. She really wanted to add me on Facebook but it seemed that the other seniors accused her of adding me on Facebook.

I suddenly felt every conversation I had with the members in the club may have been hallucination. Was that just a dream?…No, I took videos and pictures on the dance party. It’s kinda disappointing…

BUT, they have their point

When I put myself in their shoes, I get to understand their point of doing so. It’s true that privacy is very important in Japan, or many other countries as well. They upload many pictures and information on Facebook about their club activities, so it’s kind of like “national secret” that should be known only within their community.

Then It makes sense that only adding those who are decided and passionate about dancing will be better to manage the internet social networks.

What about the other normal friends?

But I still have a question. What about the other normal friends on their friend list? They don’t dance. They don’t join the club activities. Why can you keep them as your Facebook friend? Why can’t I be one like them – your normal friend?

Well, the answer I got was “Sorry Shen, It’s a rule of the club.”

So, I was unfriended. And need to wait until summer to see if I’m qualified to be a friend on their Facebook. I’m now on probation period lol. Wish me good luck to have my friend back ya.

Comments from my friend (added on 20/5/2013)

I got some comments after posting this article and some of them were very constructive. Here is the comment by Tommy from Sweden.


I believe this is a fundamental flaw in today’s society, as it sets a strict rule:
“Do not mess with outsiders!”
Which ‘can’ in some cases develop into some type elitism, rejecting or limiting interaction with ‘outsiders’. Although, this is only in the most extreme of circumstances, it can even in normal conditions limit the personal growth of one’s character!
Japan is considered a collective society and I do not have any problem with that, but sometimes I would like to see more individualism in some people/groups.

…if the rule considered the club’s official FB-page I could understand, but even limiting their own members private FB-pages!? If somebody in the club breaks the rule what will happen?

– Tommy from Sweden


Naruhodo! OIC!

Japanese people really care about privacy and have a strong sense of collectivism. They tend to make group and once they do, there will be a barrier to cross if you want to join in.

It’s not that they are fake or they are racist or they don’t like you, It’s just that they put their existing group members as the 1st priority. They care about older membership because it means they have gone through many things together and shared common memories.

So If you are a new comer to a certain Japanese community, It’s an unspoken agreement that you are likely to foster friendship with the people in your badge, unless you are someone special and the seniors like you very much, then they would let you in to their badge community. It’s complicated right? But it makes sense in Japan.

Now is your turn. What do you think about this action? Would you unfriend a friend because of the rules of your club? Let me hear your opinion. ^^

A Chinese Malaysian, Blogger, Vlogger on YouTube, Tour Guide in Japan. He believes 1 day his videos can bring Japan and Malaysia together. マレーシア華人、ブロガー、YouTubeクリエイター、日本にいるツアーガイドです。いつか自分の動画は日本とマレーシアを繋げる架け橋になると信じています。 Read more ABOUT him.