If you work with Japanese business person, there are many cases you are in trouble to proceed with one project from different cultural background. So please learn the essential thoughts of Japanese people which originate from each featured Japanese behavior which you might think it strange.

If Japanese say he/she can do it, you should trust his/her capability

When you ask a task for someone, this may be often the case that although a person for whom you ask a task says “I can do it”, it later turns out to be beyond his/her ability to complete it in your country.

Japanese people don’t have big mouths and exaggerate their abilities. So their mention “I can do it” is quite reliable enough to receive far better results than you expect. Japanese people don’t say “yes” to tasks which they understand is beyond their abilities. You can leave the task to Japanese workers at ease.

For Japanese, clients and customers are “God”

In western society, a service provider and a service receiver have an even relationship. Western people have strong awareness services or products are exchanged by money so that they say clearly “no” to clients about what they can’t do as service provider. However, for Japanese, clients and customers are like “God”. So you may worry that if you don’t put yourself in the client’s shoe, you may force the client a tall order. However Japanese people have no qualms about some overcapacity orders to make good results.

You may think you take advantage of Japanese hospitality but Japanese people want you not to hesitate to ask everything you need because they feel their mission is pursue more than perfect which is beyond your expectation.

Meeting is not for deep discussion but for annoucement of decision

You imagine that meeting is to discuss something interactively to settle one conclusion so people in meeting need to be aggressive about exchanging their opinions so it may sound really strange Japanese meeting is just for announcement of decision.

In Japan, the process of changing consideration issue to decision is not an extension of discussion in the meeting but the ground work in advance. You need to influence person who has authority for decision to individual issues. Meeting in Japan is just for announcement and confirmation of decided matters.

There is a reason that Japanese make slow dicision

There some reasons that it take a long time to decide something in organizations in Japan. Primarily, we could say the process to one decision is different between Japan and other western countries.

For example, if you request quotes to 4 companies to outsource some jobs which cost you 5,000 dollars and need to be completed in 2 months, you think about 4 companies providing the conditions down below.

  • Company A → quote: $5,500 work period : 2 months
  • Company B → quote: $4,800 work period : 2 months and half a month
  • Company C → quote: $4,900 work period : 2 months
  • Company D → quote: $5,000 work period : 1 month and half a month

In this case, you may probably turn down the quotations of A and B at a first sight without consideration. However, Japanese examine and compare all 4 companies from the viewpoint of whether it’s possible to pay more 500 dollars and whether it’s possible to make time to extend work period for an outside supplier. So Japanese consider to decide one outside supplier to make the job quality better than any other choices. Therefore, it takes quite long time to decide.

You may think it is really waste of time that you need to examine and consider the decision again additionally although you had already a trouble to spend times to calculate its budget and desired work period in a meeting.

If you think this way, you attach much value to the job process and pay no attention of quality of works you outsourced.

In other words, Japanese are more interested in results which can be output by outsourced works. Outsourced works are just a part of a gear of one project, which may help a project a bit, however, thinking about Japanese characteristic feature that they make products far better than clients expect, you may understand what kind of results Japanese pursue.

Drinking parties are a part of job in Japan

In my thoughts, western people go to drink with only theirs familiar persons in private after work. There seem to be rare case that a boss takes a subordinate to a bar in private.

On the contrary, Japanese people often hold a drinking party on the regular basis at Izakaya with mandatory participation.

Because Japanese people rarely talk what they really intend during work to keep a fine balance of mutual emotional distance. As is often the case with Japanese business person, a subordinate who looked to show his complete agreement to a suggestion during a meeting , as a matter of fact, turns out to be against a suggestion when drinking.

It’s always really troublesome to know Japanese people’s real intention. If you are a manager in Japan, you need always to consider a place to bring their real thoughts where they go easy to talk something without being self-conscience.

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