The action of saying good-bye with "smile" deeply strikes our heart.
Why is that so?
Thailand is often called "the land of smile", and it is true that whoever we see in this country, people welcome you with beautiful smile.
As Japanese, we feel comfortable to see their smile, but some expatriates find that smile is the cheating one trying to escape from their responsibility, especially when the language becomes a barrier between two nations.
The meaning of smile is not universal?
Patric Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) wrote many essays on Japanese culturem and one of those known as "The smile of Japanese" is very interesting when thinking of the reason why Japanese always smile.
He pointed out that White people find it peculiar when Japanese people have smile as usual on their face even at the time facing a pain, a shame, sadness or a disappointment.
That surely call to our mind living in modern days.
Hearn explains that it is a Japanese custom to show your lovely smile to your parents, relatives, teachers, friends and people who feel affection to you in everyday life.
On the top of it, he also writes that it is the Japanese manner to show your happy smile all the time in public avoiding the others feel uncomfortable by looking at your face.
So, even at the time you are overwhelmed with grief, it is considered to be rude to show your serious or unhappy face to the people who feel affection to you.
Because as a result, they feel anxious or pain from your unhappy face.
It is analysed by Hearn that smile of Japanese people is taught in such a way since little and it is embedded in people's heart at the instinctive level.
The key to understand the magic of Japanese people's smile is due to their good manner.
This smile is distinctively different to a sneer, which is a mask of true heart, but it is purely coming from the manner of caring the other people's feeling.
I totally agree with Hearn in this point.
One of famous Japanese novelists, Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) wrote on a mother who lost her only son, I remember.
The guest in the story visited the mother to offer condolences, and the mother welcomed and expressed her thanks to the guest with a calm smile.
"How can she be so calm showing her smile when facing such a tragedy?", the guest wondered, and he tried to pick up something he dropped on the floor.
Then he saw that lady was grabbing her handkerchief so strongly with shaking hands, and he realised how deep the mother's sadness was.
This is the smile of Japanese facing the big sorrow.
The sorrow inside of the smile is so deep that the others cannot easily imagine.
People who have seen such a smile, are deeply moved by its beauty and straighten our back to pay respect back to that smile.
I felt the same way in the lyrics of "Good-bye with Smile" by Fujifabric.
It is obvious for us that He is not smiling because he is happy to break up with his girlfriend.
It was maybe a short period of time, but they spent the time together as a couple.
At the end, He had to say good-bye to the love one, but it was not his real will to make her feel bad at the last moment in their relationship as she was the one He loved once.
He wished to come to the end with a beautiful memories.
That might be what He thought about.
That is why He thought about the breakup over and over for many weeks, looking for mistakes that He made.
This smile is not from strained endurance.
It was the smile from superior spirit caring about others, and it is the best smile coming from Japanese unique manner and sense of beauty.
Let's wipe our tears today and show our best smile!
Enjoy listening to "Good-bye with Smile"