Comparing Japanese Communication Dynamics to Western Culture

Each region has its own culture and traditions. Some nations and groups have strong links to their culture, which influences most aspects of their everyday existence. People are a little bit more enlightened in westernized countries like Europe and America, thus they choose to design their own desired lives rather than letting it be determined by the customs. Unlike nations in the Asian continent and some African nations, whose communication patterns are heavily influenced by culture, civilized westerners desire to enjoy their life and have the freedom to behave as they wish. Having gone to Amine Convention as my friend was Sam, Japanese the paper shall discuss the communication dynamics in the Japanese culture and the comparison with the western culture. The paper shall discuss the Japanese communication dynamics in comparison with the western communication styles.
There are many Japanese artifacts. Some include antique pottery, sculpture, ink painting, paintings, calligraphy on silk and paper among others. Painting, however, is the preferred way of art expression. The Japanese realized that sculpture is not such an excellent means of artistic expression, most of it was linked to religion and the medium’s usage reduced as traditional Buddhism declined, Japanese Ceramics are the best in the world and it entails their earliest recognized artifacts in their cultural setting (Khanduri, 2004). Japanese architectural setting favors natural materials, and an interaction of inner and outer space are greatly articulated. Some of the historical art include Jōmon art, Yayoi, Kofun, Asuka, and Nara art as well as Heian art.
Their artistic expression can be seen even in their unique building expressions like the temples or Shinto shrines. Some of the temples and shrines have been preserved as national treasures. When it comes to Japanese communication symbols, there are many. A foreigner will really have to read well to be able to understand such symbols. Symbols are in public places such as toilets, roads. They are used to communicate or show directions, for example, in doors; there is push or pull, or left and right in the West, however for Japanese they use symbols
When I interviewed my friend Sam, Communicating in Japan is very difficult at times. If a connection is not established, one cannot understand anything. Japanese tend to communicate in short but meaningful sentences and may be very vague in their responses or needs. Silence has deeply become a part of their communication (Lebra, 1987). Their communication styles tend to be non-verbal, so one has to really understand the body language. Japanese body language along with verbal communication shall help one is avoiding misunderstanding. Some of the gestures include eye contact. When a person makes eye contact with another person, that person looks the other way. For Japanese, making eye contact is regarded as rude, leads to discomfort and may be a taken a symbol of aggression (Maynard, 1997). When speaking to a Japanese person, one needs to keep their eyes at an appropriate level, such as the person’s name.
There is also a list of many gestures which is used by the Japanese when communication; it is paramount for a person to understand them. When angry for example, making a horn-like sign from the head sung the index finger implies so. Requesting for forgiveness, favor or being grateful for something, is done through a single clap of hands in front of the face. A bow is a key part of this Japanese culture (Maynard, 1997). It is utilized when greeting in a meeting, to attract attention, show appreciation or empathy or give an apology. Westerners in Japan, however, shall not bow. Mostly they just shake hands with the Japanese with a slight nod in the head. In the United States of America, people offer a handshake, but if the Japanese bows then one is required to bow i.e. imitate how the person bowed if one does not know. For Japanese, it is important to greet the senior people first, although this is same in all cultures around the world.
All in all, Japanese try to avoid communication with non-Japanese as to them it is not a good experience. Their communication styles differ greatly with to of other culture. When compared to the western communication styles, there is a huge difference. Westerners rely greatly on words. They want communication to be clear, concise and to the point (Chang, 2009). Westerners value individuals with good presentation attributes and are gifted in debates or discussions. A huge part of training, they get in school as well as business is projected at improving the talents for verbal communication.
On the contrary, Japanese as mentioned before relies on non-verbal communication. Words are significant, but not as important as body language, gestures, tone of voice facial expressions as well as other sounds like sounds that they make when faced with an unpleasant condition. They talk of haragei, the art of mutely communicating belly to belly, via intuition instead of utterances. One cause why Japanese rely a lot on nonverbal communication is because of what the scholars call a high degree of shared context (Singhal & Nagao, 1993). A case is communication with siblings, parents or with a spouse. Some gestures and facial expression mean a lot. One raised eyebrow may mean one forgot to perform a certain chore. Such a high context communication require only small amount of words so as to get the message across. Japanese communicate this way to everybody even foreigners.
Japanese depict their communication method as ichi ieba ju wakaru- hear one comprehend ten. This is the concept where the speaker talks 10%, a listener can then make out the other 90% based on nonverbal and shared context. Westerners want to hear all the 100%. The West has often praised the art of articulate self-expression, so comparing the two cultures is quite perplexing. Another key difference is the gestures. Gestures are not used by the Westerners. In fact, it might be considered rude to make some gestures or facial expression, especially when communicating formally or with an older person (Chang, 2009). Some gestures are a sign of disrespect; verbal communication is given more emphasis. There is also no bowing in the western culture. Whereas eye contact in the West is a symbol of self-confidence, it is deemed rude in the Japanese context.
When correspondences between Japanese and Westerners, westerners will have to ask further questions to have extra explanations as well as information (Shively, 2015). This implies that hey will have to ask to follow up queries after the Japanese offer the first 10%. That is how communication with Sam went. Questions such as; please explain further? Give more background information on this, any advice more advice? Such questions can help one understand what the Japanese person is saying. If a person does not ask such questions, Japanese assume that they have figured out the other 90 percent.
One needs to signal if they need more information. It is important for the two cultures to hone their skills when communicating with one another. Japanese in the western world will have to enhance their communication skills as everyone shall be communicating verbally in the US. Westerners, on the other hand, have to hone their antenna and adjust themselves to understand the basic non-verbals of the Japanese they interact with(Takanashi, 2004). This allows them to get more messages and improve their capacity to interpret between the lines. Westerners also need to avoid talking too much when interacting with Japanese. It may be seen as a lack of refinement.
In the Bible, the tongue is regarded as a lethal weapon which must be guarded jealously. If used wrongly it can bring curses, however, used well can bring blessings (Kraft & Kraft, 2005). The biblical principle of communication is that it ought to be done with respect and regard to the other people’s culture. Jesus used a language that what understood by all his audiences. There is no need in relaying information that may not be comprehended by anyone. Japanese avoid talking too much to avoid a problem (Kraft & Kraft, 2005). Biblically a wise man is often thought as a man of few words. The main purpose of talk is to nurture or relay a message rather than destroy. A person’s feelings should be put into consideration.
Communication may vary depending on different cultures; however, the most important thing is appreciating the different cultures and learning to adapt to it if a situation requires. The world is a global stage, and everyone needs another to survive.

Chang, L. C. (2009). A study on Japanese culture and styles of business negotiation. Journal of Global Business Management, 5(1).
Khanduri, K. (2004). Japanese art & culture. Heinemann-Raintree Library.
Kraft, C. H., & Kraft, M. G. (2005). Christianity in Culture: a study in dynamic biblical theologizing in cross cultural perspective. Orbis Books.
Lebra, T. S. (1987). The cultural significance of silence in Japanese communication. Multilingua-Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, 6(4), 343-358.
Maynard, S. K. (1997). Japanese communication: Language and thought in context. University of Hawaii Press.
Shively, D. H. (Ed.). (2015). Tradition and modernization in Japanese culture. Princeton University Press.
Singhal, A., & Nagao, M. (1993). Assertiveness as communication competence a comparison of the communication styles of American and Japanese students. Asian Journal of Communication, 3(1), 1-18.
Takanashi, Y. (2004). TEFL and communication styles in Japanese culture. Language Culture and Curriculum, 17(1), 1-14.

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