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Cultural Competency — Japan

How to Create Trust-based Relationships with Japanese Counterparts


“The nail that sticks up will be hammered down”
出る杭は打たれる (でるくいはうたれる)

On the face of it, it’s easy to mistake Japan for a Western country. However, once you peel back the outer layers, Japan is a very different culture.

Anyone who has worked in Japan or with Japanese colleagues can testify to this.

How should you deal with this?

If you know the pillars of Japanese culture, you can handle difficult situations such as giving and soliciting feedback, conducting lengthy negotiations, and gaining the trust of Japanese clients.
This is especially true when it comes to communication. It’s not just about knowing how to address Japanese counterparts, it’s about understanding that a significant portion of communication is non-verbal — so you need to pay attention to both body language and words.

Concepts such as “saving face”, (“Nemawashi”(根回し) and others are fundamental to building business relationships in Japan, as is understanding power dynamics and where people are in the hierarchy.

Our individually tailored programs and consulting services will help you better understand the rules of the game in Japan and create strong sustainable business relationships with your Japanese partners.

You will learn how to:

  • Understand how to meet, greet and manage your first meeting
  • Build trust with your Japanese counterparts
  • Understand what makes the Japanese tick and how it affects your business
  • Avoid criticism and carefully manage conflict
  • Manage and empower Japanese employees

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