The Difference in Communication Style Between High and Low-Context Country(Japan and Western Countries)

Topics: Anthropology, High context culture, Communication Pages: 3 (950 words) Published: January 19, 2013
When we compare Japan and other Western countries, there lies a significant difference between them. Japan is island nation and hadn’t experienced colonization nor invasion from another country in the history. Therefore, those who born and live in Japan belong to same ethnic and share common belief. On the contrary, countries such as the United States and Canada have been welcoming a large number of immigrants from the world and they consist of many ethnic groups and its culture is mixture of many countries. The anthropologist, E.T. Hall categorized these two difference countries as High-Context and Low-Context. High and Low describes the amount of information people share in their country. This category shows us the difference in communication style and method. These differences can be seen in the way people utter, how much they rely on nonverbal communication and how they establish relationship with others. First of all, I will talk about the difference in how they talk. Since Japan is a homogeneous country and it’s society has been around from the very long time ago, Japanese people share common sense and context. When speaker talks to the audience or listeners, speaker expects them to know these things and takes it for granted. This mutual understanding is called unspoken agreement. This understanding exists only in High-context culture and it makes it harder for people who do not get used to Japanese culture to grasp what speaker intends to inform. This causes many problems not only for foreigners live in Japan but also for Japanese who work overseas. Even though their English is decent and quite understandable, if their content of speech is based on unspoken agreement, his speech becomes vague and the listeners will hard time understanding speaker’s idea. On the other hand, American talk more expressly and put every information needed in that speech. This is because, there are many ethnic groups( Asian, African American, Caucasian and etc..) in one...
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