Japanese culture offers a multitude of peculiarities hard to find elsewhere in the world, and Japan is today one of the most industrialized and advanced societies on the planet. Japan it is a highly urbanized country renowned for its technological advances, which combines its modernity with a thousand-year-old past.
Its millennial culture coexists with the capitalist and consumerist model that characterizes it, Which can cause pathologies as strange as Hikikomori. Well, in today’s article we will talk about a condition that suffers almost exclusively from tourists in this Asian country: the Paris Syndrome.
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Paris Syndrome: what is it?
Paris syndrome is a psychological condition experienced almost exclusively by Japanese tourists who are very disappointed when they visit the City of Light, In other words, Paris.
In 1986, a Japanese psychiatrist Hiroaki Ota gave his name to a new illness, which he says occurs because Japanese tourists feel disappointed when they visit this European city and fail to meet their romantic expectations. This condition is considered an extreme case of culture shock, causing symptoms such as anxiety, dizziness, sweating, delirium and even hallucinations, according to medical reports. But, Why is the city of Paris making the Japanese sick?
According to the French psychiatric magazine Nervure, the Japanese feel a huge disappointment during their visit to Paris, caused by unrealistic expectations on the city of Seine. Paris is the city of love, fashion and glamorous people, which is why it is a very popular destination for Japanese tourists. In Tokyo, the capital of Japan, it is possible to find French pastry shops or luxury boutiques like Chanel or Louis Vuitton because of the great admiration they feel for Parisian culture. About six million Japanese visit Paris each year.
An idyllic image of Paris that does not correspond to reality
Japanese media associate the city of Paris with romantic films like Amélie, where romanticism is present on every street corner.
They think that the French are very nice and that the city is governed by a harmony in which order is part of everyday life. But when the reality of the modern city of Paris does not match the expectations of many tourists and are able to see firsthand the rude behavior of some waiters or the confusing transport system, they begin to suffer from the symptoms of Paris Syndrome. Japanese tourists they are not able to withstand the exhaustion that the language barrier and culture shock cause, Which causes them serious problems of psychological stress.
An article in the ABC newspaper reports that the Japanese Embassy in the French capital provides emergency hospitalization services for the treatment of this syndrome. In fact, the Japanese Embassy in Paris repatriates up to 12 Japanese citizens per year to recover from the shock, according to Very Interesting magazine. This institution has a 24-hour helpline.
Causes of Paris syndrome
Paris is an incredible city, with very romantic cafes and restaurants and beautiful places to visit, like the Eiffel Tower. Paris is a culturally rich city, but it falls far short of Japanese expectations of the city of love. Japanese society is very disciplined and Japanese citizens are very calm and are used to living in a very vertical and hierarchical society which values the group above the individual, thus relieving tensions and conflicts and achieving social harmony. .
Japanese tourists are strongly impacted by the quality of service in Paris and when confronted with the behavior of certain French citizens, they are unable to understand it. The French can seem rude even without wanting to be.
In addition, the level of English is low in France, so the communication barrier is a reality. The atmosphere in Paris can be tense, Parisians can be really aggressive, and verbal aggression is a reality. This becomes very visible at some metro stops connecting the suburbs, where the presence of pickpockets and common criminals can be really dangerous. The truth is that unemployment is high in this country and racial conflicts exist, especially at night. It makes Paris insecureAnd tourists are easy prey for pickpockets as they always carry cash and are a bit clueless.
Visiting Paris: a bad experience for some Japanese citizens
In the idyllic view of Paris that Japanese citizens have, the streets are full of attractive people, which is not always the case.
Japanese people expect everything to be beautiful, and visiting the depressed parts of the city (eg by train) can be a huge shock to them. Paris is a city to visit, but for some Japanese it can be a bad experience.