What are the most important communication differences to be aware of in order to carry out successful business with the Japanese?IntroductionCross cultural communication can be defined as a "process of sending and receiving messages between people who are in different cultural contexts". It is a difficult task to deal with business counterparts across cultures considering the different perspectives of different societies. Businessmen and negotiators need to be aware of national cultures along with culture dimensions and different business traditions. Japan has a long and meaningful cultural history, but from the aspects of traditional culture it is rather unique. One of the reasons could be that immigration and foreign impact has always been limited in Japan. Even though it went through seven years of American occupation, it did not seem to have influenced the Japanese communication style much. Japan's economic boom along with the US impact and the widening business relations with the West certainly introduced business negotiations in Japan, but there are still vast differences between the structure and the mechanism of Japanese and Western businesses.
In this paper I am going to introduce the cultural differences that could hinder business communication between Japan and modern Western countries. I'm aiming at covering areas such as differences between business structures and negotiations, different customs, traditions, expectations, different meanings of non-verbal communication and body language.
Japanese traditions and body languageBefore getting involved with business negotiations in Japan, Western businessmen need to be aware of the unique style of communication in general. Gestures and traditional customs might have completely different meanings than those in modern Western countries, such as Western Europe, Australia, North America or Canada. Therefore, prior to engaging into business with Japanese companies, business people need to adapt to completely different communication styles.
In most of the Asian cultures high emphasis...