Japanese values are cultural assumptions and ideals particular to Japanese culture. The honne/tatemae divide between public expression and private thoughts/feelings is considered to be of paramount importance in Japanese culture.
In Japanese mythology, the gods display human emotions, such as love and anger. In these stories, behavior that results in positive relations with others is rewarded, and empathy, identifying oneself with another, is highly valued. By contrast, those actions that are individualistic or antisocial (those that harm others) are condemned. Hurtful behavior is punished in the myths by ostracizing the offender.
No society can exist that does not manage and integrate antisocial behavior, but Japan is among the few societies that most strongly rely on social rather than supernatural sanctions and that emphasizes as a central guiding principle the benefits of harmony. Japanese children learn from their earliest days that human fulfillment comes from close association with others. Children learn early to recognize that they are part of an interdependent society, beginning in the family and later extending to larger groups such as neighborhood, school, playground, community, and company. Dependence on others is a natural part of the human condition; it is viewed negatively only when the social obligations (giri) it creates are too onerous to fulfill, leading to, for example, suicide, which is a topic of great elaboration in Japanese history and culture. However, in the early part of the 21st century school bullying has become a topic of very great concern.