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Negotiation styles and business communication

As reported in an article, Project Planning and Expectations Dealing with the Japanese (n.d.), there are many differences in the styles of negotiation between Japan and the U.S. Deals are formulated over the phone, in person or just by corresponding with each other in writing in the U.S. (where people like to be very direct their goal in negotiations), whereas negotiations over the phone or by fax are unacceptable and have to take place face to face in Japan. Furthermore, great importance is given to the harmony among the team members and therefore decisions are reached by consensus and take a lot of time in Japan.

People in the U.S., in general, believe that communication is primarily "verbal" or "written," but "nonverbal" language is as important in Japan (if not more important than written language; and silence is considered a virtue in Japan as well) :

A common Japanese proverb would be, "Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know." It is during these periods of silence that the famous belly language (haragei), the sensing of another’s thoughts and feelings goes on. …When speaking to one another, the Japanese put more space between themselves than Westerners do, especially in formal situations. By trespassing into this "personal territory," you can make a Japanese feel very uncomfortable. …Speaking in a loud voice is considered rude and threatening. [15]

Japan is well known as a "collectivist" society where people are extremely sensitive to and concerned about relationships, and a noteworthy Japanese quote, "The nail that sticks out is hammered down," indicates how individualism is negatively viewed in Japanese society, whereas U.S. society values "individualism" and "uniqueness"; in other words, Japanese culture discourages individualism, and U.S. culture embraces it :

Some differences in culture may also be linked to differences in the way the self is construed as well as societal regulations. Asian cultures, such as Japan, have an interdependent construal of the self; are socially oriented; and are concerned with fitting in, belonging, promoting other’s goals, and being indirect. On the contrary, Americans typically have an independent view of the self and seek independence from others.

The globalization of business and industry enormously enhanced entry by U.S. and European companies into the Japanese market. The number of foreign operating units in Japan increased from 1,500 to 3, 400 companies over the past decade :


…while the Japanese need to adjust to and adapt to a more direct style of communication to help bridge the gap, non-Japanese should receive training in the Japanese style of communication so as to minimize misunderstanding and conflict...on a national policy level, it is of essential importance to mobilize budgetary resources toward developing the negotiation and communication skills needed to communicate effectively with the respect of the world. This is a new challenge in the era of globalization. In the process of pursing such policy of objectives, I think that the following teaching of Confucius should be kept in mind: He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger. [15]


Cultural communication research tends to focus on understanding communication within one culture from the insiders’ points of view (Gudykunst and Mody 2002). Understanding cross-cultural communication should be a prerequisite to understanding intercultural communication because cross-cultural communication looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds endeavor to communicate, and thus, the core of cross-cultural communication is to establish and understand how people from different cultures communicate with each other. A new challenge for cultural fluency as a guide to effective intercultural communication is to generate approaches of investigation on how people from different cultures and speaking different languages actually influence each other in specific intercultural contexts.

Critics argue that the dominance of English influences the Japanese language and Japanese people's views of language, culture, and identity, which are affected by the world view of native English speakers (Kubota 1998). Both critical consciousness and practical skills in English are necessary for Japanese people to appreciate English for social transformation.

Finally, including nonverbal communication in Japanese communication behavior, "a holistic analysis of Japanese interpersonal communication is necessary…social, political, and economic surrounds of the Japanese society that influence people’s perceptions of norms, rules, and competence must be taken into account for a more meaningful and useful approach to theorizing interpersonal communication competence for Japanese" .




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3. Brightman, J. D. (2005). Asian culture brief: Japan. NTAC-AAPI Information Brief Series, 2(6). Retrieved August 10, 2006, from http://www.ntac.hawaii.edu

4. Brislin, R. W. (1994). Working cooperatively with people from different cultures. In R. W. Brislin & T. Yoshida (Eds.). Improving intercultural interactions (pp. 17-33).

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6. CILT, the National Center for Language. (2005). Intercultural skills: A guide to working with other cultures. Retrieved August 12, 2006, from http://www.cilt.org.uk

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9. Bartell, M. (2003). Internationalization of universities: A university culture-based framework. Higher Education, 45(1), 44, 48, 49.

10. Hans Köchler (ed.), Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations. Tübingen: Erdmann, 1978, ISBN 978-3-7711-0311-8, Final Resolution, p. 142.

11. Bartell, M. (2003). Internationalization of universities: A university culture-based framework. Higher Education, 45(1), 46.

12. Rymes, (2008). Language Socialization and the Linguistic Anthropology of Education. Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2(8, Springer), 1.

13. Teather, D. (2004). The networking alliance: A mechanism for the internationalisation of higher education? Managing Education Matters, 7(2), 3.

14. Rudzki, R. E. J. (1995). The application of a strategic management model to the internationalization of higher education institutions. Higher Education, 29(4), 421-422.

15. Cameron, K.S. (1984). Organizational adaptation and higher education. Journal of Higher Education 55(2), 123.



1. Intercultural communication

2. Introduction

3. Notion of culture

4. Cultural dimensions

5. Cultural psychology

6. Culturally unique concepts

7. Nonverbal communication

8. Cultural Fluency and Willingness to Communicate

9. Words and ‘Haragei’ in Intercultural Communication

10. Negotiation styles and business communication

11. Conclusion



The ministry of education and science youth and sport of Ukraine

Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University


The USA and Japan. Cross cultural dialogue


Prepared by the student of the 5th year (specialist), group 51

The institute of foreign language philology

Department of language and literature (english)

Stukach Viktoriia



Lutsk- 2013

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