Monday, June 09, 2014

Merciless Japanese savages

I filched some data on the putative femininity of several countries from Staffan and correlated with hostility towards immigration from the World Values Survey, suspecting there might be a relationship between virility and skepticism of xenophilia. Alas, there is nothing approaching a statistically significant connection (r = .11, p-value = .53).

Looking more closely at the masculinity rankings from the Hofstede Centre (or, alternatively, Hofsteed Center), note the following progression from most masculine to most feminine: From Japan to New Zealand to Pakistan to Ghana to Russia.

Huh? That doesn't strike me as a recognizable pattern of any attribute or characteristic I can conjure up, not least of all a listing of the most manly firmness. It'd be more plausible if it ran in the opposite direction, but even then it would leave me a bit perplexed.

Men do a lot more killing than women. So is there a correlation between homicide rates and the Hofstede masculinity measures? Only a very weak and unreliable one, at r = .21 and p-value = .22. The masculinity measure is described as "society ... driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner/best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational behaviour. A low score (feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable."

Japan is the place among all others where standing out from the crowd is an admirable virtue?

The value of this measure appears to be quite suspect.

WVS variable used: V39


Anonymous said...

Something about it just feels right to me.

Japan does give off something of a manly vibe.

On the surface Russia may seem manly, but they have to deal with endemic corruption, poor infrastructure, lack of societal values, etc. that all speak to a lack of ordnung.

A more masculine society wouldn't have to deal with stupid problems like unpaved streets and tuberculosis because it would have a certain level of masculine "orderliness" so those things would be taken care of--see: Japan.

Russia resembles the clothes-strewn floor of a teenage girl's bedroom.

Great Britain used to be the manliest country in the world, and it's empire was the demonstration of that.

viakorea said...

Right. I had misgivings about the results when I compared Korea and Finland. Korea was considered to be a feminine society despite having arguably the most grueling and competitive work/study cultures. Didn't make much sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Japan is the place among all others where standing out from the crowd is an admirable virtue?

Hofstede would say, I think, that this seeming contradiction is a consequence of low individualism.

Which I understand, but then the lack of orthogonality among components makes this challenging. When is being the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit a quality of "femininity" and when is it a quality of "collectivism"? When is caring for others linked to "collectivism" and when is it linked to "femininity"? When is having a focus on quality of life rather than discipline and success linked to "masculinity" and when to "indulgence/restraint"?

The sum of Hostede's factors represent personality fairly descriptively, yet each factor does not seem to be informative individually.

The Japanese perhaps do prioritize discipline and success over happiness, and I'm sure the masculinity factor denotes something, but whether it is anything particularly male....

In individual personality research, it is typical to represent masculinity and femininity as two separate personality traits - usually men score high in masc and women in fem, but there are exceptions and variance. That might've been a better approach.

Audacious Epigone said...


It is perplexing over here in the occident to conceive of Japan and Korea as being on such opposite ends of the spectrum on a 'personality' trait like that.

Audacious Epigone said...


How much different is that from masculine = good, feminine = bad, though?

That's not to imply you're incorrect, but I don't think that is how the masculine-feminine spectrum is being conceived of in this context.


Take a look at the whole list, though, not just Japan at the top. It really seems jumbled to me--hard to string together much of a narrative to explain it.