Lost in Translation

Politeness and formality are characteristic of business communication in Japan. In order to successfully enter the Japanese market, it is vital that you build up good working relationships with your Japanese contacts, partners or suppliers by respecting and following proper business etiquette. The primary cultural differences which Europeans will encounter in business communication styles are outlined in this section.

Table of Contents

  • Business Communication
    • Honne v. Tatemae
    • Indirectness
    • General Positive Responses vs. Next-Step Focused Responses
    • Importance and Subtlety of Non-Verbal Communication
    • Information Sharing
  • Misleading cues and Misunderstandings at Meetings
    • Literally Translated or Misused Expressions
    • Avoid using your local language
    • Japanese Intonation
    • Signs of Agreement and Enthusiasm
    • (Mis)Interpretation of Silence
  • Communication Hints
  • Expert reports & Webinars
  • Further Reading