By Boye De Mente
Ebook through De Mente, Boye
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Extra info for How to do business with the Japanese
The awareness of foreign companies in Japan, including those on the scale of the Fortune 500, naturally tends to be limited to groups that have a professional interest in that particular industry, and even then, with a few exceptions, the awareness is shallow, and it is unwise to leave it at this level. This means that most companies wanting to establish a business relationship with a Japanese firm must take it from the beginning. And while paid-in capital, share of the market, annual sales, profits, and other such numbers are important, the Japanese view is that people make the company.
There is a tendency for foreign businesspeople to accept what they see and hear in Japan at face value, often to their later chagrin. Reality in Japan is often not what the foreigner perceives it to be. Both the Japanese and foreigners often make decisions on the basis of "gut feelings," but problems arise when these decisions are cross-cultural.
Looking at many aspects of Japan, one sees a surface that may hide any number of realities. The same is true in business. What you see, and what the inexperienced foreigner is apt to take at face value, is often far from the truth. The surface harmony that prevails in most Japanese companies, for example, generally masks a morass of friction and discontent, as wa (harmony) suffers more and more from the strains of a changing life-style. Japanese society in general has traditionally been based on presenting a carefully fashioned face to the public and outside world, Page 15 while taking great pains to camouflage reality behind manners, screens, language, and other opaque barriers.
How to do business with the Japanese by Boye De Mente