Apr 21, 2011

The Rashomon Effect

Happy News!! I have moved to www.vanitymoments.com

If you are not knowledgeable in world classic films of the yesteryears, there is little possibility for you to understand about Rashomon Effect. It is the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it, so defines Wikipedia. In simple terms, it is the state in which two or more people, who have gone through the same situation, giving different and sometimes contradictory accounts of the individual experience. The term is coined after the Japanese classic movie ‘Rashomon’ (1950), directed by the ace film maker Akira Kurosawa.

Machiko Kyō in RashomonNow let me invite you to my own day-to-day affairs to see how the Rashomon Effect marked a record in my life. Before proceeding, I strongly advise you to just scan the story of a natural food corner which I found in my new city. In that article, I had described, how tastily was I felt the variety of vegetarian food provided by the friendly supplier there. 

I received a lot of enquiries regarding the location of the food corner from my net buddies as well as from the office mates. One evening, while I was sitting in the food corner with my mate X-EN-Tric, I got a call from the Creative Guy, my colleague whom you have met in the posts tagged under the label Workplace Affairs. He wanted to come to the food corner with his dear wife, as they were en route to home after the routine city jaunt. 

“Is this a comfortable place for women?,” he inquired and I replied in the affirmative.
Toshirō Mifune and Machiko Kyō in Rashomon

Within the lapse of a few seconds, the Creative Guy appeared at the entrance of the eatery accompanied by his wife (now what’s her name? Ok! The Creative Girl!). I saw sparkle in their eyes; both of them are with much hopes and dreams about the wonderful dinner they are going to have, I thought.

The Creative Guy and the Girl chose a table at the corner, which they found as comfortable, and with smiles on faces, they ordered something that they felt appealing. Sitting at our table, we watched them, and especially I was anxious to know the result of the food which I recommended. 

I watched the changing expression of the Creative Guy with each bite. He was struggling really hard to swallow the food. Creative Girl also did not find the food satisfactory, which I could read from the way she tried to eat the Chapati with several gulps of water. 

With a pathetic expression, the Creative Guy looked at me and said shaking his head,

Akira Kurosawa at work“Nice food, really tasty!”. 

Let’s examine why this difference in experience happened. In the first phase, a person that is myself, who daily eats from the hotels, which supplies junk foods, goes to a new place in the city that provides natural food and finds the food there very tasty. Whereas in the second phase, a person, the Creative Guy, who daily eats the home-made food, goes to the same place, recommended by a person like me, who felt this place entertaining, and finds the food does not offer that much variety.

What happened was the difference in perception. And thus, the Rashomon Effect is proved correct.

In pictures: Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950).
In last picture: Director Akira Kurosawa at work.


  1. That's interesting Tomz! Thanks for the new terminology. This reminds me of a story I had read when I was in school.

    There was this King whose citizen once brought him a jar of water saying he came across this sweetest tasting water in the forest one day when he was very tired.

    The good king thanked him and tried a sip, thanked him again and drank the whole jar of water.

    The Queen sitting next to him got so mad that the king didn't even bother to share a sip of the sweetest tasting water the citizen had brought.

    When all were gone sensing something was wrong, the King asked the Queen what the matter was. When she told him what was bothering her, the King explained that the water was indeed hard and bitter but since the citizen had drank it when he was very tired and thirsty it tasted like the sweetest water to him which he promptly brought for the king. At the first sip itself the king realized it was bitter and so decided to drink it all, lest he shared some with the Queen and she spits it out then and there, saddening the citizen...

    The Queen apologized for her misunderstanding and they lived happily everafter!

    Now I know it is called the Rashomon effect!

  2. Hey, Tomz...I too now learnt a new Word...So thats what we can call for the 4 Blind Man explaining the Elephant story right???

    I too have gone through this sort of situations many a times...At times it is frustrating and at times it is Enlightening...

    Dont worry Tomz...if not the Creative Couple, somebody else would surely thank u for introducing them to the Food Joint...

  3. me tooo.. they do say we learn something new each day and today i learned abut this effect ... it is true what you said different perceptions ...

    I hope you still remeber the promise you made on that article to me :)

    Take care


  4. Dear Tomz,
    there is always a risk in recommending a restaurant/hotel/vacation-location - if I love strawberries the other people might detest it. But that is their risk! I remember a travel with my parents to France - some friends of them had swooned over a certain town. Well: there was a paper mill - and that stinks - but the friends had not noticed that (they must have been completely insensible to any sort of odour - it did not smell funny, it stunk!) Well, we went further to St. Tropez - so something VERY good came out of that (I was 17 then and it was absolutely "in" at that time) Maybe your colleague was able after the visit in that restaurant to appreciate how well his wife cooks :-)

  5. @NRI Girl,

    That was a great story and still I rmbr having it heard from some mentors..
    Yes thats a sort of Rashomon Effect..

    Thanks for quoting that beautiful story here..

    I think we can cite many examples for Rashomon effect from our own lives..

    Thanks you NRI Girl


    yes, u r there, the story of the four blind men and elephant is the universal example of Rashomon effect..

    I am truly delighted to supply one more phrase to your already vast vocabulary..


    Its a source of happiness being able to give you insights regarding new terms..

    Yes..I still rmbr that promise and let's check what magic is gonna happen in case of Rashomon effect once u had food from there


    I'm very happy that the memories of the sweet teenage are still alive in u..and yes, i think this comment from u is gonna make the creative couple happy

  6. Everyone has a different perspective on life. I think it's absolutely wonderful that we do. Wouldn't life be boring if we all liked the same things?

    Sorry I've been missing for a while. Still settling in and getting ready to move some more stuff from our house.

  7. what a coincidence..I wrote the same thoughts in my post, only thing I didnt know thisword:).

  8. hey tomz,
    nw i m facing the same issues in manglore.
    really funny.

  9. Nice one, Rashomon effect, so true...what's one man's meat is the other man's poison...nice post, very thoughtful sketch of the different ways people react to the same thing/event.

  10. everyone keeps learning daily new things.
    thoughtful post

  11. Those who haven't watched "Rashomon",would find it difficult to understand it.The movie was made in the fifties and has used many unique lighting techniques,it was mostly shot in a forest area.Even today,it is easy,breathtaking to watch.
    The story is that of a murder in a forest as seen by four different persons,and them describing the scene to a judge.They are totally different stories,of the same murder.And that is how the term , same thing,but seen differently.

    To make it simple,it is in the eye of the beholder!

  12. Ah, that's a perfect example about differences in perception. And, I just love the names you give to your characters :).

  13. Hi Tomz, I'm ashamed to say I'm woefully lacking in knowledge with regard to this subject so thank you for this interesting and informative post.

  14. @Walk2write

    yeah that's thoughtful point..life will be boring if everyone has the same likes and dislikes..


    So my post has benefited you..


    You will become used to it..not like the previous carefree days..Thnaks for the comment


    Thank you, and I like that simile..

  15. @SM
    thats true..thank you

    @Dr. Antony
    Thank you very much doc for posting an intro of the film here. I am very delighted to see another classic lover in the bandwagon..

    Happy that you loved the way I named my friends..

    @Pretty Witter
    Don't worry Pretty Witter..thats not a problem.. I am happy that you spent time to read it..


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