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Does Japan Hate Kyoto?

by Ewa Nowogorski

Do non-Kyoto people hate Kyoto? And do Kyoto people hate anyone who is not from Kyoto? The answer for both questions is both yes and no.

I recently stumbled across this information, and you may have come across it on the internet as well, that Japan hates Kyoto, and while the urge to generalize may be strong, not all Japanese people think the same.

Upon casually interviewing some Japanese people, including someone from Kyoto, I have found that there are mixed answers and feelings. Older people not from Kyoto seem to be aware of this notion, but the younger generations are completely unaware. Meanwhile, people from Kyoto do seem to have the sense that non-Kyoto people hate them, and they hate non-Kyoto people back equally. And again, it must be stressed that usually the older generations and super proud people have this mindset. It is similar to the way some Southerners hate Northeners in the USA.

But why do the people who hate Kyoto hate it so much? Well, the answer has some historical roots. For hundreds and hundreds of years, Kyoto was the capital of Japan, and usually the richest snd highest status people lived here. It has hundreds of years of culture and refinement behind it, and so Kyoto people are usually very proud of the fact that their ancestors have been there for generations, even though Kyoto is no longer the capital. Kyoto people also sometimes look down on non-Kyoto people, and this smug-ness is what sets everyone off the wrong way.

Being from Kyoto is somewhat of a status symbol, and exactly where in Kyoto one comes from also improves or worsens status. Originating from more prestigious areas gives people a greater sense of validation as a human-being. For that reason, Kyoto people can also look down on other Kyoto people if they come from worse areas.

Kyoto people also have rather roundabout ways of letting people know when they are annoyed with them or have overstayed their welcome. These subtle messages can be hard for even some Japanese people to understand, and the misunderstandings and animosity that result are yet another reason why Kyoto and the rest of Japan sometimes do not get along.

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