In Japan, some people live with the feeling that their facial expression is offending all those who see it. While we’ve all had the experience of offending someone by saying something we shouldn’t have, to be the owner of a face that constantly offends has got to bring its own kind of self-torture and humiliation.

According to new research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, conducted by Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki under the auspices of the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, an odd Asian syndrome called jiko-shisen-kyofu or “fear of one’s own glance,” has raised its very bizarre head.

In western thinking and psychiatry, there is no equivalent to this psychological disorder, which assumes that a glance, or the way a certain individual looks at people, is intrinsically offensive. The fear stems from the belief that it somehow causes discomfort on the part of the beholder. The resulting shame often makes sufferers understandably reclusive.

“Fear of one’s own glance is likely more pronounced in Asian cultures because of the East’s concern with the concept of shame… I’m Chinese and I know that Asian societies have slightly more problems with shame than others. Shame… arises out of concerns related to shaming one’s family, as Asians place a heavy emphasis on family and their family’s standing. In the East, it is a big deal to offend other people,” says Dr. Andrew Wong, a psychologist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado.

Cultural differences explain the disparity in levels of understanding.

It does however seem to be a “shame” that people can be so very hard on themselves.




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.