Communicating with Japanese in Business
As companies continue to expand beyond borders to develop global markets and standards,we are living today in a kind of»virtual reality» –one can see the same products,the same logos,whether one is in London,Bangkok,or Rio de Janeiro.A French businessperson may work with a Japanese to sell products designed in Israel,manufactured in California,and assembled and tested in Malaysia.Add to this communications technologies such as videoconferencing and e-mail,and the world indeed seems to be shrinking.In this climate of international collaboration,surrounded by the illusion of sameness,we may easily assume that»business is business,»and that,when dealing with business associates in the same industry,we»speak the same language»despite cultural differences.This can be a dangerous assumption.
In fact,the more experience a non Japanese has in doing business with Japanese,the more aware he/she becomes of the difficulty of communication as an obstacle.As Japan has become a key part of the intricate global business environment,the foreign businessperson working in Japan or with Japanese companies outside of Japan may encounter a wide variety of communication gaps arising from differences in cultural values and assumptions,business customs,and
language.This booklet is designed to provide practical insight and strategies for navigating the seemingly opaque waters of business communication in Japan.The next section describes the underlying values and cultural foundations of the Japanese people.Such understanding will help readers to better assess typical communication gaps arising from differences in business practices,which are described in the following section.Each issue is presented with
actual case studies that have been collected from the real-life experiences of business people world-wide.The final section then introduces typical language related gaps that occur when communicating with the Japanese.
The foreign businessperson who understands the cultural background of his or her Japanese customers,suppliers,and business associates will be better prepared to build strong partnerships and take advantage of expanding business opportunities in the global market.