Communication Style Analysis in Japan Vs. America

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1462 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 1462|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Role of Behavior in Communication Style
  3. Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Differences
  4. Recommendations for Cross-Cultural Communication Style
  5. Conclusion
  6. References


According to the Hofstede’s theory, we can see that America is a country which is individualism, having relatively high uncertainty avoidance, indulgence, and good performance on rewards system country. Because American focus on job content, career and professional. Also, the way of leadership in America they always run by professional managers. According to the Trompenaars’s theory, America is an emotionalism country, the main job goal for them is increasing economic profit. However, in Japan, they have relatively higher power distance, masculinity power and long-term orientation. About rewards system, Japanese put their focus on social benefit, pay for the relationship of partners and it has equity-based rewards. In leadership style aspect, they are based on family, family plays very important role and the main objective is for the family orientation. I think the most interesting and biggest difference is their different communication style.

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Role of Behavior in Communication Style

There are some different aspects in their communication style. They all have some verbal and non-verbal language, but they have different behaviors and meanings in these two cultures to express. First of all, Japan is a high context country, which is used to bowing heads at the first meeting or meet some important people and they like using inference and metaphor to express their thoughts. They focus on the process of communication, but their communication style is implicit, such as they like using “I will try”, “That sounds a good idea”, “let me think about it” etc. Also, the communication style between superior and inferior is totally different to America because Japan is a high hierarchy country, they have obviously line between people in different level. Moreover, “Face” in Japan is very important. They have strict moral standard like Fuki said: “behavior is not ruled by any inner principle, but by an external feeling of shame” (114). I think this is one reason why Japanese dislike to say no and like keeping silence in normal occasion when they make communication. Their purpose is keeping harmony and It is polyconic country which devoted to relationship, they are really care of their behaviors and moral thoughts. It’s flexible and relatively easy for them do change the plan. They don’t matter the deadline because Japanese think that the relationship is the key of success. But America is a low context country which prefers to speak very directly, they pay more attention to the outcome. They just say no if they are unwilling to do the provided missions such as “no” “I cannot do that” etc. They focus on the fact and convenience. It’s monochorionic culture which has a fixed schedule, they only can do one task at a time. In their opinion, they think time is money, they don’t want to loss time to deal with the relationship by taking communication, they just want to get the response and take actions to finish it. They are used to taking deadline seriously. Failing to plan means fail to them. Under this situation, they have relatively low hierarchy. From this we can see, they like short-term relationship and respect privacy.

Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Differences

About non-verb communication, they have big differentials. In Japan, they always use the two-sided business card which one slide is Japanese, and the other slide is English as our first case study After hours dinner in Japan. But in America, they only have one-slide card like most of other country. Also, keeping silence is very important in some occasion especially meeting. Also, long pause is allowed during the conversation, they don’t need to say something during this line but in America, silence will make people feel uncomfortable and more nervous, they will try to make the atmosphere active and say some funny words. Furthermore, there are some tattoos in Japanese culture, such as a small gift when do business trip is very important and welcome. Moreover, 4 and white are representing unlucky. So, you cannot buy white flowers or white holiday cards for your friends or partner in Japan. Also, when they do introduction always from the highest level to the lowest level, but in America, it doesn’t have so many aspects need to consider. We still can see some differences about gesture in the process of communication between these two countries. In Japan, people will try to keep avoiding the eye contract, they make fewer use of arm gestures, and to show their respect, they always lower their head and close their eyes. By contrast by America, they like making eye contact, nodding is represent agree, they like hugging and using arm gestures. From the above, we can see some non-verbal differences about communication style between Japan and America.

According to the above, we can see some differences of communication style between them. In the business area, they also performance very different. American focus on the profit and they are very honest and never say some beautiful words only for own benefits on the surface, like the case between Daimler and Chrysler, when the American find that the German company lie to them, they solve the problem by the law directly and powerful. From the case “That’s the reason Kirk Kerkorian, Chrysler’s largest shareholder, sued Daimler for $9 billion, charging fraud. “Apparently in Germany, one can say pretty much whatever one wants to the shareholders of a company,” says Terry Christensen, Kerkorian’s lawyer”. Here in the United States, what you say to the shareholders has to be true” (91). American simple and strong way can show German its power, they dislike tricks or metaphor, they just like say it and do it. However, Japanese always try to make the communication more enjoyable and refuse some proposal indirectly by some other words or ways to express. For example, I met a Japanese girl Ami, she is an exchange student from Japan, when I asked her to come with me to grab some food, she always says like, “I need to do some homework, maybe later.” Or “I am not sure that…” I know she is keeping our friendship carefully, but for myself, if you don’t want to eat just tell me directly. Not only this, but also that in some business meeting or conference a website from Tokyo wrote in many traditional companies in Japan are basically public ceremonies to officially establish something that has already been amply discussed and decided behind closed doors. As such, bringing up problems or stating one’s opinion could be viewed as disturbing the group consensus, even if done with the best of intentions. additional companies in Japan are basically public ceremonies to officially establish something that has already been amply discussed and decided behind closed doors. As such, bringing up problems or stating one’s personal opinion could be viewed as disturbing the group consensus, even if done with the best of intentions (Terzuolo). Compare to America, they have enough freedom to speak out their opinion even though they won’t be accepted.

Recommendations for Cross-Cultural Communication Style

I think if American and Japanese have a chance to corporate, they need to understand the communication style very careful because communication is the first step to understand each other, and they will spend the most of time taking communication. Also, if they can have a good communication, they can achieve success very quickly. Both can do better in this area. The following are some recommendation for them. Japanese should learn how to refuse and in business meeting, workers’ opinions should be allowed to proposal because it will help the development of the company. It not represents unrespect to the supervisor and disturbing the rule of company. If it keeps this condition of high hierarchy will cause some good and creative ideas will be ignored. Trying to open the mind to make friends rather than consider many aspects which will limit yourselves. For American, they can use some high-context communication timely, and when you refuse someone, you need to think about it benefit and lost not too directly especially in business occasion. Moreover, two-slide business card is a very formal communication style to meet people and introduce yourselves, and start to learn to work with group will find more interesting knowledges than individual work because work on your own for a long time, you will lack of some thoughts about the company’s benefits.

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In conclusion, Japan and America have very different communication style about communication style, they all have advantages and disadvantages.


  1. NAKAI, F. (2002). The Role of Cultural Influences in Japanese Communication : A Literature Review on Social and Situational Factors and Japanese Indirectness Fuki NAKAI. Japan: Fuki NAKAI, p.114.
  2. Terzuolo, C. (2019). Navigating Japanese communication styles in the workplace: Tips from GLOBIS MBA School. [online] JAPANTODAY. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].
  3. Neubauer, F., Steger, U. and Radler, G. (2000). The Daimler/Chrysler Merger: The Involvement of the Boards. Corporate Governance, 8(4), pp.375-387.
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Communication Style Analysis in Japan vs. America. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“Communication Style Analysis in Japan vs. America.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
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