Doing business in Japan.
Konnichiwa! Today I’m going to cover a very interesting topic – Doing business in Japan. At first let me introduce myself – I am Linda-san. And it would be a great pleasure to present this mini-guide of doing business in this unique country. So let’s start.
Japan’s cultural identity is as strong as that of any nation in the world. Her closed door policy, which existed from the early 1600s to the middle of the nineteenth century, created an isolated society. Much of the way of doing business in Japan was born and refined during that closed-door period.
Rules and Etiquette - The importance of manners in Japan cannot be overemphasized. They have been strongly influenced by Confucian ethics and tradition for millennia. The Japanese people still embrace Confucian ideals that emphasize the importance of relationships between family members. These relationships serve as models that extend to the larger society and into business. Hierarchy – In society and business, the status of any Japanese individual is clearly defined. This status prescribes how one behaves and speaks. Upon meeting an individual, it is therefore important to know his or her position within the institution. The ritual exchange of business cards serves that purpose very nicely. Gender roles – Although women are fast gaining more visibility in the work place, the role of “salaryman” (office worker) is still male dominated. Women’s social participation is reflected and influenced by the Japanese language which diverges into a more polite and formal style of speech when utilised by women. Harmony – As a country that values sentiments of collectivism over those of individualism, Japanese tend to place a significant emphasis on loyalty towards the group. It is still common for companies to provide life-long employment to individuals who, in return, devote long hours and often sacrifice personal gain for communal good. When doing business in Japan it is important to recognise...
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