“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” The phrase with the same meaning exists in Japan as well. Regardless of how people from abroad see Japan, the Japanese believe that people tend to attack those who stand out from the group or society. “Ishiki Takai Kei” is the term often used these days to describe people, especially youngsters, who are trying to be someone special
What Is Ishiki Takai Kei?
Ishiki Takai Kei is a type of people who show off their efforts to the people around them, even though they have not achieved much. People often use that word to make fun of someone. “Ishiki Takai” means “Aspirational” and the word “Kei” means “Type” in English. I think “Hipster” can be the best translation to describe “Ishiki Takai Kei”.
Typical Examples of Ishiki Takai Kei
MacBook at starbucks
This is the most typical case. I’m sure there are many people like this worldwide, and even Japan isn’t an exception. I’ve heard that people making fun of others saying, “That kind of person must be using MacBook in Starbucks though he or she is just surfing the internet.”.
Use business jargons in daily conversations
Japanese business people tend to use English words such as Consensus, Scheme, Compliance etc. It seems that “Ishiki Takai Kei” people try to force themselves to use those jargons in everyday situations where they don’t need to.
Like the people so much obsessed with something instagrammable, being influential on social media is one of the top priorities for Ishiki Takai Kei. To emphasise their connection with celebrities and influencers, Ishiki Takai Kei often upload their photos taken with those people.
Why Do People Hate Ishiki Takai Kei?
In Japan, people say there are two types of people who achieve their objectives.
- Yuugen Jikkou (有言実行)
= do something with announcement
- Fugen Jikkou (不言実行)
= do something without announcement
So, the difference is whether people make an announcement in public before they start. And the vast majority of Japanese people prefer the latter type because they like a craftsman who works quietly, rather than a chatty man. To those people, Ishiki Takai Kei look like clowns and are an object of ridicule.
To be honest, I personally like those highly motivated people as I think we should at least be conscious even if we haven’t got results yet. Having said that, I recommend you not to use that word to someone as it has a negative implication.