Doing Business with Japan

Doing Business with Japan: Successful Strategies for Intercultural Communication

Kazuo Nishiyama
Copyright Date: 2000
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  • Book Info
    Doing Business with Japan
    Book Description:

    In Japan, evidence of the country's Westernization abounds, yet despite appearances, it has remained "uniquely" Japanese. For this reason, the uninformed Westerner doing business there will find it difficult and even frustrating to work with Japanese unless he or she gains a good understanding of Japan and its people. The author draws on his extensive bilingual and bicultural experience to provide readers with an insightful look at many key aspects of doing business with Japan, ranging from initiating and maintaining business contacts, effective interpersonal communication, decision-making styles, negotiation tactics, presentational speaking, working of Japanese multinational companies, and living and working in Japan. Businesspeople, academics, non-academics, students, and others who are interested in learning how to communicate effectively and successfully with Japanese in international business contexts will benefit from the author's sound recommendations and advice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6222-0
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Japan is the second-largest economic superpower, second only to the United States. Consumers in almost every country seek out products manufactured in Japan, such as automobiles, electronic home appliances, television sets, stereo players, transistor radios, digital cameras, and compact disc players. Japanese tourist spending has become a very important factor in world economics and an extremely important “intangible export” for many tourism-oriented countries.

    In Japan, skyscraper office towers, Western-style hotels and restaurants, freeways full of cars, high-speed trains, slick subways, supermodern international airports, highly automated and productive factories, American fast-food chains, and Western entertainment and sports provide the impression that...

  5. chapter 1 Barriers to Intercultural Business Communication
    (pp. 9-28)

    Two major barriers to effective intercultural communication are differences in language and in culture. Unless both participants are truly bilingual and bicultural, they will find communication very difficult and sometimes frustrating. One of the parties in an intercultural communication is usually forced to speak a foreign language. If the foreign language ability of that party is less than adequate, he or she will be handicapped. In most instances, it is the Japanese participant who must cope with this handicap because English, not Japanese, is the most common language of international business. Serious difficulty expressing himself in English will become a...

  6. chapter 2 Government–Business Relationship and Business Organizations in Japan
    (pp. 29-42)

    Japanese business organizations are quite different from those in the West. Many of the major Japanese industries were started by the government shortly after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Even today, they are directly or indirectly controlled by the government ministries and bureaucratic elites. Unlike the adversarial relationship often found in the United States, the government-business relationship in Japan is one of close collaboration. This close tie is referred to as “Japan, Incorporated” by many American politicians and business leaders. They charge that Japan behaves like a huge conglomerate in which the Japanese government, particularly the Ministry of International Trade...

  7. chapter 3 Establishing Business Relations with the Japanese
    (pp. 43-62)

    The xenophobia of the Japanese people is well known throughout the world. Since they have lived and worked in a homogeneous society for many centuries, they are hesitant to accept foreigners and foreign ways. This unwillingness of the Japanese to open up their country has invited strong criticism from the United States and other trading partners. In particular, the Japanese are accused of putting up nontariff barriers against foreign imports. Nontariff barriers frequently pointed out by Americans are (1) Japanese government policies and procedures designed to discriminate against foreign imports, (2) the complex Japanese distribution system, (3) the largely culture-based...

  8. chapter 4 Interpersonal Communication and Sales Presentation
    (pp. 63-82)

    Interpersonal communication has become the most important means of communication in today’s international business. Thanks to the tremendous technological advancements in the electronic communications media and in air transportation, international businessmen are able to conduct their businesses via worldwide networks of fiber-optic links for long-distance telephones, facsimile machines, Internet computer networks, and video-conferencing systems. They routinely send and receive both verbal and nonverbal messages instantaneously through these means of communication. They frequently fly to and from foreign countries to hold meetings with their business associates overseas. In fact, millions of international businesspeople crisscross the Pacific and Atlantic oceans every day...

  9. chapter 5 Contract Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
    (pp. 83-116)

    Negotiating contracts and resolving disputes across cultural and linguistic barriers require good cultural knowledge, better communication skills, and a great deal of patience and perseverance. Negotiators, mediators, and arbitrators must understand how culture and language affect the process and the outcome of their efforts. Despite the fact that Japanese multinational corporations are engaging in business activities all over the world, Japanese businessmen still use their unique culture-bound ways, especially when it comes to contract negotiation and conflict resolution. Many foreign businesspeople find that the negotiation tactics of seemingly amicable Japanese businessmen are unbusinesslike, ambiguous, insincere, and even deceitful.

    Japan is...

  10. chapter 6 Decision Making in Japanese Business Organizations
    (pp. 117-134)

    The process ofringior group decision making in Japanese business organizations has always been a popular subject of academic investigation.Ringiis considered uniquely Japanese because it is so different from the common practices of decision making in Western business organizations. Another Japanese method of decision making considered peculiar by Westerners iskaigior “meeting.” Althoughkaigiappears similar to the business meeting conducted in Western business organizations, it is conducted quite differently. Many Western scholars and businesspeople are very critical of Japanese decision-making processes as intuitive and irrational.

    Glazer says,

    In business situations, the Japanese are unable to...

  11. chapter 7 Public Speaking and Presentations
    (pp. 135-154)

    International businesspeople are frequently called upon to make speeches for various professional and civic organizations. They are also asked to make oral presentations to customers, peers, and higher management. Public speaking can be an effective means of reaching a large number of people in one setting, and making presentations is an excellent means of introducing technical information. The tradition of public speaking in the West dates back to the days of Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), and public speaking is taught in all institutions of higher learning in Western countries. Many Western businesspeople are excellent speakers, and they have no problem...

  12. chapter 8 Working for Overseas Japanese Multinationals
    (pp. 155-174)

    The rapid globalization of the Japanese economy has made a large number of Japanese companies into multinational entities that employ foreign managers, computer engineers, technical experts, factory workers, restaurant workers, and construction laborers. Many Japanese companies, particularly in labor-intensive manufacturing sectors, have established overseas subsidiaries and joint ventures to capitalize on cheap labor and to compete in local markets. Today, it is estimated that more than 750,000 local people are working for Japanese multinational companies in foreign countries. The number of these foreign workers will continue to grow as more and more Japanese companies relocate their manufacturing operations overseas.


  13. chapter 9 Living and Working in Japan
    (pp. 175-200)

    Japan is a very Westernized country in Asia. The large metropolitan cities of Japan are just like those of the United States and other Western countries in appearance. Nevertheless, many decades of strong Western influence have not really changed the basic Japanese national characteristics. The government is bureaucratic; the immigration laws are strict; roads and highways are congested; living accommodations are expensive and different; home appliances and furniture are small; food habits are different; social customs and interpersonal relationships are uniquely Japanese; and businesses are run according to Japanese rules. Many foreigners coming to live and work in Japan, especially...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 201-206)
  15. Glossary of Japanese Terms and Concepts
    (pp. 207-210)
  16. Index
    (pp. 211-215)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 216-216)