Akihisa Kumayama

American Graduate Schoolof International Management

When negotiating with Japanese business people, American business people
sometimes feel uncomfortable, puzzled, lost, irritated and the like, based on some
unfamiliar customs and behaviors demonstrated by the Japanese business people.
Nothing is more comfortable and secure than understanding the cross-cultural aspect.
Understanding can facilitate communication and avoid misunderstanding.
Understanding then can also make the Japanese business people feel comfortable. This
also enhances business negotiations.

When it comes to dealing with the Japanese business people, they negotiate with
the American business people, bringing their own cultural background. In many cases,
what may be considered to be acceptable by American standards may be unacceptable to
the Japanese. Japanese and American cultures doe not seem to have many things in
common. At the same time, no Japanese would give American business people a single
clue. informing them that what they have done might not have been acceptable.

Although minor mistakes are permissible, misunderstandings and failure to
recognize important cultural subtleties may lead to stagnation or dismissal of the
negotiations. In reference to the cross-cultural aspect, more strict rules must be
observed for the Japanese culture than for the American culture.

In this paper, many cross-culturally related areas in business negotiations are
discussed. They are gift exchange in negotiations, values, exchanging business cards,
and the like.

Naturally, these cross cultural areas are not the entire core of the cross cultural
business negotiation. However, the initial understanding of the Japanese cross cultural
business negotiations may be a good start.


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