Cross-Cultural Effects on Business in Japan, Case Study Paper

Published: 2022-05-20
Cross-Cultural Effects on Business in Japan, Case Study Paper
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Business ethics
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1819 words
16 min read

As a competent international professional and expert, more so in business-related occupations ability to interact and coexistence with people from the diverse cultural background is a primary job-related skill. Moreover, culture and religion of a people define and dictates their attitude, behavior, and lifestyle (Alston & Takei, 2005). Therefore, the cultural background has a significant influence on international cooperation since good ethics is critical for work etiquette and mutual interaction for business prosperity. Japanese highly value protocols and decorum in the manner they conduct their business relations and meetings. Consequently, Japan's ritualized and peculiar business culture is always considered to a significant hindrance for foreigners with interest to establish their businesses in the Japanese market. The strict manners and protocol are also portrayed in their greetings, language and any gathering be it business related or family gatherings. Therefore, for a productive and prosperous business plan as well as seeking a proper establishment into the Japanese market issues of culture and etiquette is paramount.

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Significantly, good buyer-seller relations promotes conducive business environment thus upholds economic growth and development. The proper relationship between the buyer and seller is a factor of excellent communication and mutual interaction between the parties. The most important of it all is the buyer's willingness to buy which is highly driven by a person's attitude and emotions. Japan being an etiquette and protocol-oriented nation any foreigners especially the westerners who seek to do business in the market should embrace this and have an understanding of their Culture.

Japanese language

Researchers show that most multilingual professionals are either working outside their countries or are international investors. The ability to know many languages especially a foreign language can be considered a talent thus very imperative in international business. Natives always feel delighted and resonate very well with foreigners who speak their language. In most cases, they view them as part of them and as one who loves them and their culture and hence always ready to offer any assistance. Therefore, number one sentiment the foreign investor ought to consider too is to embrace and master some critical wording in the Japanese language to foster good relations with the locals.

Business meetings

An investor one is expected to attend various business meetings to seek partnerships and expand market coverage. Personal presentation and interaction with people in such instances dictate the treatment and response one receives. Just as in any meeting for a morally upright person, decency is a crucial factor since most people judge from the looks. In Japan, it is vital that the foreigner play safe and dress formally for any meeting. In other words, should consider displaying a conservative demeanor since it is uncommon for Japanese to brash shoulders or be abrasive.

Recognition of leadership hierarchy

Respect is an essential virtue in winning peoples' trust regardless of class and leadership status. As a foreigner investor in Japan, it is vital to recognize the local leadership whether cooperate or political. Japanese has their way of seating especially in meeting hence a critical point to note. The head or high-ranking persons seat at the head position to the table as the subordinates sit on the sides of the same table. Moreover, the status or ranking decreases further away from the table header of the table. Do not take the lead in everything right from the seating to the drinking and eating if present instead waits for others to initiate and follow later.

Japanese business etiquette

Notably, Japanese business etiquette is more or less similar to that the United Kingdom where good manners and politeness are critical. The business etiquette in Japanese is very formal something that has impeded many foreigners to access Japanese markets. Many formalities are marked with the first meeting where issuance of a business card is a critical ritual.

First meeting and card issuance

The first meeting is determinant of the investor's fate for accessing the Japanese market. The first meeting is essential not only to the foreigner, as it will display his or her first impression but also to the Japanese side in matters of assessment. As one could expect, a lot of protocol and formalities are involved but most importantly are the rituals accompanying the issuance of the business card. The bowing is a sign of respect. The business card should be printed from both sides to include both Japanese and English. While offering the card, it must be offered with the Japanese writings side facing upwards and facing the recipient. The highest ranks present their cards last and giving the card with two hands is a demonstration of high respect that they value as a people.

There are also some issues and factors of consideration for a foreigner aspiring or relocated to manage a business in Japan. As a manager, for instance of a multi-billion international company, one can be deployed to work in Japan, and the following are the take-home tips and advice for managing Japanese employees.

Motivation and promotion

When it comes to motivating or commanding one for job well-done one most managers, prefer making it public singling out an individual, this may cause a lot of rifts among the employees since Japanese are not compatible with such behaviors. As a people, they prefer short verbal feedback since shows an explicit notification of the work done by the employees since it is quite encouraging and important to notice what employees do. Alternatively, a better way to acknowledge Japanese employees is by inviting them to important meetings as well as asking them to assist with a high profile projects (Alston & Takei, 2005).

Orientation and rewarding

Japanese people prefer working in-group hence has a strong group orientation. Also, they want to feel that the group they rarify to or belongs to is prestigious. Therefore, it is advisable to award people in groups rather than on individual basis. As this will promote the spirit of teamwork amongst the employees, also, they like it when their families and friends recognize the company they work for as a sign of prestige (Hodgson, Sano, & Graham, 2008).

Age and status

Japanese culture strongly upholds and value respect for age and status as well as the hierarchy in all aspect of social organization. They fill free to interact with somebody they consider their equal, not a self-proclaimed high-status person as they articulate status to someone's role in the society.

Japanese names

Cultural naming systems differ from one country to another based on life experiences and culture. Identifying an individual by his or her name makes the person feel recognized and values. A foreigner might confuse the name of a person with various things in Japan such as Suzuki. Furthermore, there are some cross-gender names such as San which is similar to Ms, Mr, and Mrs in English, Hence very important for interactions and working relations (De, 2006).

Handshakes and bowing

In Japan bowing is an important part of everyday life and in the context of doing business. Bowing to senior people in Japan is a sign of respect and greetings. Additionally, men keep their arms by their side whereas women, on the other hand, cross their fingers or hands. In Japanese, it is considered aggressive or wrong manners to maintain eye contact while bowing to a senior person.

Dress cord

It does not hurt to overdress, nonetheless, with contemporary modern society claiming to be civilized indecent outfits and dress codes have cropped in. Japanese people prefer formal dressing on many occasions where men were dark colored business suits, white shirts, and ties. On the other hand, women dress conservatively.


Japan is made up of multicultural communities with diverse lifestyles but what is conspicuous about them is the value of humility and modesty. They embrace and like humble and not arrogant foreigners hence crucial in winning their customer loyalty as well as willingness to buy (Hodgson, Sano & Graham, 2008).

Building relationship

Number one fundamental virtue in building and maintaining a lasting business relationship is trust. Japanese culture is more relationship oriented as they always want to trust and know someone before starting a business with him or her. Therefore, as a foreigner seeking to launch a business in this region, you must be trustworthy.


Even though religion has no prominent role in the life of Japanese people, as a businessperson, it is essential to know the religion of a people you are doing business to avoid conducts and thing, which might offend them. Shinto and Buddhism are the two dominant religion in Japan; they conduct weddings, rituals, and funeral that have a religious background (De, 2006).

Relocation advice

An estimate of about 75% of foreigners residing and working in Japan are from the neighboring countries. Japan population is highly educated and there an attempt of trying to find a job or attempting to be a queasy business professional in the region is in vain.

Japanese lifestyle

Japanese likes prestigious lifestyles; moreover, some of the Japan cities such as Osaka and Tokyo are known to be expensive cities. Therefore, one aspiring to open this market in this region must have something good ready to spend since the country is generally know thought the world as the most expensive.

Document translation

Although not a requirement in every case, it is imperative to do document translation especially for those business documents to be left behind. Document translation makes communication more active, which efficiently promote business as most of the people appreciate the effort and this strengthens the business bonds (Kopp et al., 2011).

Social interaction

Japanese people like meeting at restaurants, bars, and Karaoke lounges to unwind and relax if invited for a business meeting after work it critical that you attend since you meet most of them and interact more on business and social matters for much bonding (Nishiyama, 2000).

Privacy is valued

Just in any other community privacy are appreciated, Japanese people notoriously reserved and private. Therefore asking many questions of personal questions, which at times seemed a way of building a relationship, can be considered rude or pushy.

In conclusion, people are what they eat, believe, and practice. Therefore, a culture of a people dictates what people are, attitude and their lifestyle. These factors and virtues have considerable influence in business. To interact and trade maximally with Japanese, it essential to know issues such as code of ethics to foster prosperous business in the region.


Alston, J. P., & Takei, I. (2005). Japanese business culture and practices: A guide to twenty-first-century Japanese business. New York: iUniverse.

De, M. B. (2006). Japan: Understanding & dealing with the new Japanese way of doing business! S.l.: Phoenix Books.

Hodgson, J. D., Sano, Y., & Graham, J. L. (2008). Doing business with the new Japan: Succeeding in America's richest international market. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Nishiyama, K. (2000). Doing business with Japan: Successful strategies for intercultural communication. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

Kopp, R., Rudlin, P., White, T., King, L., & Creative Content (Firm). (2011). Business etiquette. London: Creative Content.

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Cross-Cultural Effects on Business in Japan, Case Study Paper. (2022, May 20). Retrieved from

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