Its Not A Mistery But - Japanese organization culture


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Its Not A Mistery But - Japanese organization culture

  1. 1. ~ Category Theme ~ “It’s not mystery, but…” ~ Japanese organization culture ~ Chikafuji, Ryu (TAKA KONDO) Last Modified: Jan/5/2010 Nov/20/2009
  2. 2. ❖Comparing the culture between United States and Japan, people say that Unites States is heterogeneous culture, on the other hand Japan is homogeneous.
  3. 3. ❖America is,
  4. 4. ❖Urban. ❖Countryside.
  5. 5. ❖Friendly. ❖Hostile.
  6. 6. ❖Full of honesty. ❖Full of arrogance.
  7. 7. ❖Self-devoted. ❖Selfish.
  8. 8. ❖Rich. ❖Poor.
  9. 9. ❖Innovative. ❖Conservative.
  10. 10. ❖I could agree the argument, “Japan is homogeneous”, before I started to work in United States. ❖But, now I feel something weird about it.
  11. 11. ❖Regarding surface of things such as demographics, of course, there is no argument, I agree it 100%.
  12. 12. ❖How about internal aspect or mental things?
  13. 13. ❖I don’t think it is homogeneous, I think it is very heterogeneous.
  14. 14. ❖Right side square looks very homogeneous “white”, but if you use magnifier, it isn’t homogeneous.
  15. 15. ❖I feel an analogy in this color mixing logic.
  16. 16. ❖By the way, for fruitful discussion or better negotiation, to understand your partners’ internal aspect or mentality will help you a lot.
  17. 17. ❖Why?
  18. 18. ❖Because internal aspect or mentality influences persons’ or organization’s attitude or decision process significantly.
  19. 19. ❖Is Japan homogeneous culture in terms of internal aspect or mentality?
  20. 20. ❖Dr. Ruth Benedict(1887~1948), American anthropologist and author of “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”, described about Japanese culture.
  21. 21. ❖ When a serious observer is writing about peoples other than Japanese and says they are unprecedentedly polite, he is not likely to add, ‘But also insolent and overbearing’.
  22. 22. ❖When he says people of some nation are incomparably rigid in their behavior, he does not add, ‘But also they adapt themselves readily to extreme innovations’.
  23. 23. ❖When he says a people are submissive, he does not explain too that they are not easily amenable to control from above.
  24. 24. (snip)
  25. 25. ❖When he writes a book on a nation with a popular cult of aestheticism which gives high honor to actors and to artists and lavishes art upon the cultivation of chrysanthemums, that book does not ordinarily have to be supplemented by another which is devoted to the cult of the sword and the top prestige of the warrior. Quoted from: ✎ First chapter of “the chrysanthemum and the sword - pattern of Japanese culture”, 1946
  26. 26. ❖A lot of contradictions are described in Benedict’s book. (Some criticize her work)
  27. 27. ❖Many things have points in her book even though she had never been to Japan.
  28. 28. ❖I was born in Japan, got an education in Japan and worked at Japanese company.
  29. 29. ❖However, I have had similar questions with Dr. Benedict.
  30. 30. ❖In this theme, “It’s not a mystery, but…”, I’d like discuss about various aspects of Japanese organization culture with case examples.
  31. 31. ❖I’m hoping that my contents to be posted here will give you some hints for your better experiences in interacting with Japanese organization.
  32. 32. ❖Following pages are kind of trailer about which I’m planning to write. ❖Each title and its abstract is just current draft version, so I may not post it or change different topics. ❖Anyway, I’ll update this slide as needed.
  33. 33. #1 “Histories of Digital Still Camara” ❖ Digital Still Camera (DSC) market has been extraordinary sharp contest market which included two different industries, camera and consumer electronics. ❖ DSC was the first full-fledged consumer digital product except personal computers. So, it required close encounters of American IT industry such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, etc. ❖ DSC market destroyed film camera market, coincidentally, Camera Phone is creeping into this market. ❖ In early stage, Japanese manufacturers had over 90% global share in DSC market, and they have still major share in this area. ❖ To review DSC market gives us a lot of suggestions to understand Japanese organization cultures, I think. So, first of all, I’d like to write about a history of DSC.
  34. 34. #2 “Behind the Mystery” ❖ Most Japanese people are not religiousness. ❖ However, religions are still unconsciously influencing people’s action and way of thinking, I think. ❖ What makes Japanese culture so different from the rest is its quit unique “religion system(*)”. Japanese religion is highly syncretic beyond completely different religions. ❖ Not only religions, the ideas from “Bushi-do”, “Sa-do(tea cult)”, “Ka-do(flower arrangement)”, etc., are also blended. ❖ In this topic, I’d like to outline the above focused on business scene. (*) This expression might be eccentric for people who are monotheistic religion. First of all, basically, Japan is a polytheism nation like ancient Rome / Greek.
  35. 35. #3 “It’s not a labyrinth, but…” ~Decision Making Process~ ❖ Decision making process of Japanese organization, especially, big companies, is one of the most interesting things. There is big differences from American companies’. ❖ “Why does it take such a long long time?” ❖ “Who is the decision maker?” ❖ “What priority do they have?” ❖ “Why do we have to repeat same argument?” ❖ “Why are they so passive attitude?” etc. ❖ In this topic, I’d like to discuss about their decision making process and how to deal with them.
  36. 36. … to be planned.
  37. 37. ❖Contents of this theme will be posted in the category of “English” on: ❖If you have any question, please send e-mail to
  38. 38. ❖But, to guess the reason of contradictory is relatively easy as well as to expect the presidential election result of each states. * Map from: Prof. Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan