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JAPAN: Nation selected

Discuss about the Report for International Business for Culture of Japan.

The nation which I had selected for preparing international business report is Japan and I had selected this country because I had already visited there and was very convinced by the business culture present there and also want to establish business there in nearby future.

The culture of the country is stimulating, appealing and involves various dimensions like on one hand Japanese people dates back to their very old customs and traditions and towards other side the country is developing very fast as a result of the new developments in techniques, style which are constantly moving up the country. This feature makes its culture very unique.

Public: The persons living in Japan are very unique in social as well as cultural terms. A professional person in society is recognized as sole power in the company according to norms of society, but this principle is doing badly for the company. The demographic in Japan is still vague. The adults are mostly interested in jobs that run part time over whole day jobs and often collaborate with companies outside Japan (“Inside Japan”, 2016).

Faith and belief: In Japan religion is a combination of Buddhism and Shintoism. Buddhists prefer to go to temple for prayers while Shintoism believes in shrines. Japanese people do not have so much faith in God and so preached very rarely. Blessing, fortune and imprudent opinions obtains a lot of weightage for the people. Two most common occasions that are enjoyed with great joy are the New Year and O-Bon. O-Bon is a festival in which people consider that God came on Earth to observe the people’s livelihood. Museum Known as Nara and Kyoto where many Temples and shrines are located are the famous rooms for the people.

Interventions of the society: The most important norm of society is bowing of head. People bow themselves in front of others to apologise, to greet someone and to see off. Bowing reflects regard, remorse, gratitude and greeting of the people. Removing the footwear before getting into temple, residence or traditional guesthouse is considered good.

 Games: Japanese usually enjoys sumo fighting, Judo and karate, Kendo (a struggle in which people use weapons) and these all are club under the games of Japan (“Japan: cultural features”, 2016).

Diet: The Japanese often prefer to eat rice. People are fond of eating meat preferably beef. Fish as a food is considered rich. The people looking for vegetarian food can get soup, noodles and tofu steak. People are very fond of eating outside in eateries called Kaiten-Zushi.

Description of culture of Japan

Language: People usually converse in Japanese language and the system monitored in writing and reading is Japanese only. English is very rarely spoken by people (‘Go Japan go”, 2015)

Costume: Silk costumes called Kimono, lengthening all around the length of people is the oldest costume. In present generation Japanese usually wear jeans, t-shirts, suits (“Explore Japan”, 2015).

Political life: In Japan, dominion system of government is dominant and power is governed by the ruler and he is the only one who is identified as the sign of state and also of the harmony of people (Darlington, 2014).

Public: The demography in the country is around 3 million. People from different religions like Chinese, Malays and Indians constitutes the nation.

Language: A number of languages are spoken in the country. The language of the country is Malay and other people spoke Chinese, Tamil, English (“Singapore”, 2016).

Diet: Mostly people prefer non vegetarian food like chicken or fish and vegetarian food constitutes most commonly rice and vegetables.

Faith and belief: The country is very unique and constitutes a large number of religions like Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, and Christianism. Almost 10 religions are preached in Singapore (“Local custom and culture”, 2013).

Social norms: In Singapore collectivism approach is more favored and team is given more preference than a single. The person very near to the family are clubbed into that family (‘Singapore Guide”, 2016).

Costume: The traditional costume that are wore includes loose shirt, pants and a sarong tied on waist. At present costumes wore by people are jeans, t-shirts and suits (“Singapore costume and traditional dress”, 2016).

Politics: The form of government that is chosen in Singapore is parliamentary form and President is nominated only for a period of six years.

Business culture includes unity, debates, meetings for deciding towards a proposal, Team work, politeness, able manners and values, gentility (Tamburello, 2016). Business people are of helping nature and does not punish anyone for the mistake.

Misbelief: Internationally Japan’s culture is perceived incorrectly by people. They believe that it is really difficult to carry out business there. So for this reason many of the big organizations hesitates from opening up new business terms in Japan.

Dress code: Formal suits are preferred over casual ones in meetings. On some special day in office people can drape casuals as well. But too much overdressed is not liked by people at all. So it is considered good to wear formals. Mostly dark color is preferred.


Communication: Interaction between people shows weakness and indistinctness and meaning or manifestation is also less interpreted from the communication. There is no similarity between what one person thinks and what other speaks in society. So the conclusion can be taken wrongly and opposite can happen (“Japanese communication style”, 2016).

Language spoken in business terms:

In business terms people widely use Japanese and English is spoken very less and people also don’t understand much of it and is mostly accepted wrongly. So Japanese is the only language (Japanese communication style”, 2016).

Business lunch: Just before starting with lunch they often do prayer. People often believe in cleaning all their food and not wasting at all. For eating people mostly use chop sticks and is considered as the trade mark (Tamburello, 2016).

Body style: People during business discussions sit in a straight back position and prefer to remain quiet for most of the time.

Decision making: Most of the decisions are concluded by a team and not more emphasis is paid on individual because of collectivism approach (Gundling, 1999)

Business Meeting: In Japan respecting others is considered as very general and good. People consider that introducing themselves is not good so wait for being introduced by someone. Gifts wrapped by a gift paper is considered wonderful. Meetings should be scheduled beforehand. Reaching in time and regularity is important. Persuading Japanese is very difficult and it can take lot of time and plenty of appointments to indulge in business with them. They believe in establishing larger duration relations. These people consider to present a gift to person on superior position after discussions (“Japan guide”, 2016).

Business compromise: The Japanese people are very calm and so handle situations peacefully. Mostly decisions are written on an agreement and people do not like loud pitch voice. People do not generally say no and nor prefer to listen no for anything. They are against giving discounts.

Visiting Cards: It is advised to print one side of the card in Japanese language. Cards are usually given by respect using both hands and slight bowing of head. When the meeting is running always prefer to keep the card before them (“Japan Guide”, 2016).

Behavior of business people: The behavior of the businessman is straight and predictable. People do not use glitter pens or dresses. When they listen anything with good concentration they normally close their eyes. In business for writing they use black or blue pens.

Faith and belief

Business norms: At business meetings it is advised to greet everyone by bowing of head. They do not know anything about handshake. Position of seating is very crucial in Japan. The head usually occupies the head of the table and the executives preceding them occupies the adjacent position and thus the lower ranking persons sits on other side. It is always advised in business that when no person is sitting you should also not sit (“Japanese business meeting etiquette”, 2010).

In Japan in any café or restaurant when anyone arrives, he is given respect and all the people of restaurant greets him and when he vacates the place he often hears thank you. Even the chef of the place also came out to wish the person but it is not so in Singapore. They don’t give so much of respect to outsiders. Service by waiters is considered a portion of the regular service. People do not give tips while people in Singapore give tips to receive the best service (“Doing business in Japan”, 2009).

During a business meeting in Japan when the problem arrives people prefer to remain quiet to get instant relief from stress and will plan the meeting for some other day but in Singapore people don’t get silent and meetings generally are not postponed.

Language used in business communication is Japanese in Japan and mostly English in Singapore.

With reference to cost of living Japan is the most costly country and Singapore is comparatively cheaper and occupies sixth position in world ranking (“Living in Singapore vs. Tokyo”, 2012).

The working hours or the office timings are 12 hours in a day for Japanese while in Singapore office hours are approximately hours in a day (“Living in Singapore vs. Tokyo”, 2012).

In Singapore a person introduces himself in a meeting at his first arrival by announcing his title trailed by family name and lastly by giving his name. But contradict in Japan, it is not considered good to introduce himself but considered as a token of respect if some other person greets him.

Japanese are very slow in their process for making judgments and conclusion is reached after arranging a large number of discussions. The process is very old but it is very appropriate and incidences if mistakes are very less. In contrast it is very rapid and not much meetings are arranged in Singapore. So incidences of mistakes are quite high (Hashimoto, 2016). 

Interventions of society

Respect to others in Singapore is given by handshake while in Japan bowing of head is prevalent and nobody knows about handshaking as a tradition. The greater the person head is bending the greater respect he is giving.

More emphasis is given on professional life and people consider work as worship. After the office hours a party is also arranged to discuss the proceedings regarding the work. On the other hand in Singapore family life is given more importance. Work life is considered as a necessity and after work timings the employee go straight to his home (Hashimoto, 2016).

People of Japan are work oriented so they want to spend their whole life working for a company but in Singapore people frequently resign from jobs as a result of greater pay or larger resources.

In Japan conversation is mostly done by meeting face to face which they believe as very important for strong business but in Singapore internet and calls are used over personal meeting (Hashimoto, 2016).

Power distance: This dimension usually defines the limit to which there is uneven arrangement of power (Frost, 2013). It is basically the extent up to which the individuals with low power understands irregular arrangement (‘Geert Hofstede”, 2016). Japan’s this dimension score is 54. It reflects that it touches the border line. This means that individuals are very particular about their placement in society and so their behavior is accordingly governed. The country does not show hierarchy as can be seen from very slow pace of working and making judgments as no person occupies the top position.

Individualism vs. collectivism: This dimension measures the extent to which an individual is important over a team (Frost, 2013). It is exactly the ratio of reliance of a country on its men power. It has marks of 46 towards individualism. Therefore Japan shows many characters of collectivism such as establishing unity among people in a nation and also people will be afraid of doing harmful things as a fear of damaging their integrity. The country is not so much collectivist as it does not have any joint family. There is a paternalistic approach according to which the eldest child will get a lot of things and the younger have to strive (‘Geert Hofstede”, 2016).

Masculinity vs. Femininity: According to terminology masculinity is stated as more modest, more assured and shining society while femininity defines life with superior quality and helpful in nature (Frost, 2013). It is defined as what motivates with in a human being is to do better (Masculinity) or wish what you desire (Femininity). Japan’s score is 95 that implies it to be masculine. As a collectivist society, sureness and struggle cannot be observed. Struggle is prevalent within teams. Masculinity can be observed in making processes, in restaurants and eateries where struggle is for best and accurate (‘Geert Hofstede”, 2016).


Uncertainty avoidance: It is defined as the extent up to which a nation feels threatened as of future doubt (Frost, 2013). The country’s score is 92 which is highest. As Japan is regularly affected by landslides, tidal wave, cyclones, volcanic bursts. So Japanese have to prepare themselves for the uncertainty. As before opening any venture all related task study is done and risk factors are considered.

 Long term orientation: It is defined as the extent up to which a nation gives importance to future without considering the present and history (Frost, 2013). The nation have to make some conclusions for the present and future by considering the past. It has a score of 88 in which Japanese predicts their life as small in big past. Businessmen are keen in financing a huge sum of money in research and development even when there are very hard times. The reason being that the nation thinks with respect to long terms and not for short span (‘Geert Hofstede”, 2016).

Indulgence: It is stated as the extent to which Japanese rules their desires and drives. The nation has a score of 42 which demonstrates that Japanese society is very confined and people consider relaxing as irrelevant and so there is a possibility of doubt and disbelief. People thinks that their actions are limited by ethics of society.


The international company which has to start up in Japan and run their business there has to have a deep knowledge regarding the culture, customs, the business sense of the people living there, business environment, the greetings they expect from other people, the costumes which they admire and person need not to feel sorry for his dressing sense. The culture and the business culture prevalent there has an impact on the people living there. So a deep understanding is essential.

List of References

Greet Hofstede. (2016). ITIM international.

Inside Japan. (2016). Retrieved from:

Explore Japan: housing, food and clothing.  (2015). Retrieved from:

Japan Cultural features. (2016). Retrieved from:

Drlington, R. (2014). A short guide to Japanese Political System.

Local Custom and culture in Singapore. (2013). Inter nations.

Singapore. (2016). Countries and their cultures.

Singapore guide. (2016). Commisceo Global.

Singapore costume and traditional dress. (2016). COSTUMEi.

Japanese business meeting etiquette. (2010). Japanese business resource.

Japanese communication style. (2016). World business culture.

Doing business in Japan. (2009). Venture Japan.

Japan guide. (2016). Commisceo Global.

Gundling, E. (1999). Communicating with Japanese in business. JETRO: international communication Department. Tokyo, Japan.

Tamburello, N. (2016). Business dinner abroad?  Crash course in business dining etiquette. The muse.

Frost, A. (2013). Japanese culture and Hofstede’s five dimensions. Kyoto Restaurant.

Living in Singapore Vs Tokyo. (2012). Moteki.

How different are Japanese? (2009). Japan Watching.

Hashimoto, R. (2016). 10 cultural contrasts between us and Japanese companies. Freshtrax.

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