Modern Investment in Japan Essay

Submitted By derekedws
Words: 677
Pages: 3

Modern Investment In Japan Japan is generally considered to be a high-context culture. High context cultures generally have long-established connections, causing a lot of communication to be understood through implication and less-explicit information. Speakers will often refrain from directly stating an objective, and will simply let the listener apply and infer her own experiences to “get the picture”. Commonly, many Japanese individuals will make assumptions about what the listener knows. This can make it very difficult for Americans, who often engage in low-context communication with one another, to follow along. Thus, Americans doing business in Japan must understand that word choice is of critical importance. Along these same lines, it will be important to remember that many Japanese individuals may interpret western humor differently. Michael Woodford, former President and CEO of Japan’s Olympus, wrote that western humor contained much stronger sarcasm and irony than Japanese humor 1. Thus, it may be prudent for our employees to hold back from making sarcastic and ironical remarks with our new Japanese partners, for fear of being taken the wrong way. This doesn’t mean that our employees should refrain from being themselves; rather, our employees should simply remember that they are operating within a much different linguistic framework. Japan is also commonly referred to as an extremely hierarchical culture. In hierarchical cultures, social status implies power. A lower status individual is generally expected to defer to the knowledge and expertise of a higher status individual. As an example, Michael Woodford wrote that “in Japan, those in the most senior roles are infallible and all-knowing 2.” Thus, it will be important to respect the hierarchical nature of Japanese business as our company attempts to integrate our company within the Japanese culture. Additionally, our company must remember that although management employees are “more powerful” than entry-level workers, there are many other sources of power in Japan. In other words, the hierarchical nature of Japan’s culture is not exclusive to business title. For example, older individuals are generally looked to as a source of wisdom and power compared with their younger counterparts. Because there are different types of power in Japanese life, it will be important to recognize that hierarchy may take different forms in our company’s day-to-day business life. Furthermore, Michael Woodford believes that “ascent up the corporate ladder is usually slow and methodical…giving a young person a lot of business responsibility in Japan [is generally] unheard of 3.” Thus, it may be important for our company to remain sensitive to the fact that the younger types of individuals we choose to lead our management positions in the United States may not necessarily be the