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Paris syndrome: the strange disorder suffered by some Japanese tourists

Paris syndrome: the strange disorder suffered by some Japanese tourists

May 9, 2021

The Japanese culture offers a multitude of singularities that are difficult to find anywhere else in the world, and the Japanese country is today one of the most industrialized and advanced societies on the planet. Japan It is a highly urbanized country and famous for its technological advances, which mixes its modernity with a millenary past.

Its millenary culture coexists with the capitalist and consumerist model that characterizes it , which can cause pathologies as strange as the Hikikomori. Well, in today's article, we will talk about a condition that almost exclusively suffer the tourists of this Asian country: the Paris syndrome .

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Paris syndrome: what is it?

The Paris Syndrome It is a psychological condition experienced almost exclusively by Japanese tourists who are very disappointed when they visit the city of light , that is, Paris.


In 1986, a Japanese psychiatrist Hiroaki Ota gave name to a new disease, which according to this happens because Japanese tourists are disappointed when they visit this European city and does not meet their romantic expectations. This condition is considered an extreme case of cultural shock, which causes symptoms such as anxiety, dizziness, sweating, delusions and even hallucinations, according to medical reports. But, Why does the Parisian city make the Nipponese sick?

According to the French psychiatric journal Nervure, the Japanese feel a tremendous disappointment when they visit Paris, caused by the unreal expectations about the city of the Seine. Paris is the city of love, fashion and glamorous people, and for that reason it is a very popular destination for Japanese tourists. In Tokyo, the capital of Japan, it is possible to find French patisseries or luxury shops such as Chanel or Louis Vuitton due to the great admiration they feel towards the Parisian culture. Around six million Japanese visit Paris every year.


An idyllic image of Paris that does not correspond to reality

The Japanese media associate the city of Paris with romantic films such as Amelie, in which romance is present on every corner.

They think that French citizens are very kind and 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 that many tourists have and are able to experience in their own flesh the rude behavior of some waiters or the confusing transport system, they begin to suffer the symptoms of the Paris Syndrome . Japanese tourists they are not able to withstand the exhaustion that the language barrier and culture shock pose , which causes them serious problems of psychological stress.


An article in the newspaper ABC reports that the Japanese embassy in the French capital offers emergency hospitalization services for the treatment of this syndrome. In fact, the Japanese embassy located in Paris repatriates up to 12 Japanese citizens a year to recover from the shock, says the magazine. Very interesting. This institution has an assistance telephone 24 hours a day.

Causes of Paris Syndrome

Paris is an incredible city, with very romantic cafes and restaurants and beautiful places to visit, such as the Eiffel Tower. Paris is a culturally rich city, but it is far from meeting the expectations that the Japanese have of the city of love. Japanese society is very disciplined, and Japanese citizens are very calm and are accustomed to living in a very vertical and hierarchical society that values ​​the group over the individual, thus relieving tensions and conflicts and achieve social harmony.

Japanese tourists are greatly impacted by the quality of service in Paris and when they experience the behavior of some French citizens they are not able to understand it. The French can seem rude even without wanting to be .

In addition, the level of English is poor 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 in some subway stops that connect to the suburbs, where the presence of pickpockets and common criminals can be really dangerous. The truth is that the level of unemployment is high in this country and racial conflicts exist, especially at night. This makes Paris unsafe , and tourists are easy prey for pickpockets because they always carry money and are a bit confused.

Visit Paris: a bad experience for some Japanese citizens

In the idyllic vision of Paris that Japanese citizens have, the streets are full of attractive people, something that is not always the case.

The Japanese hope that everything is beautiful, and to cross the depressed zones of the city (for example, in train) can get to hit them enormously. Paris is a city worth visiting, but for some Japanese it can be a bad experience .


10 of the Strangest Mental Disorders (May 2021).


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