Cultural evaluation

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  • 1. 1 Running head: CULTURAL EVALUATION Cultural evaluation: Changes in presentation of arguments to suit the Japanese culture Learning Team A Joann Barnes Sheryl Hill Knisha Robinson John Schram Ann Thrower BCOM/275 Version 2 February 10, 2014 Sandra Norris
  • 2. 2 CULTURAL EVALUATION Cultural evaluation of Japan The Japanese people have a unique culture. This culture affects the way they conduct themselves, the way they communicate, as well as the way they relate with other people. The Japanese culture sharply contrasts that of the western world and, therefore, several considerations needs to be done while engaging with the Japanese. Even while debating, the unique Japanese culture would require several changes to be done. One of the primary change that would need to be done in a debate paper for a Japanese audience is to make the debate informal. Unlike the western culture where formal debates are believed to be superior and where the quality of the argument matters a lot, the Japanese prefer informal discussions in which the debaters reveal personal information about themselves including their age. In Japanese culture, age and authority are considered the epitome of knowledge. The presentation of the debate would need to be changed so that the positive credentials such as the educational background and age of the author are revealed. In the Japanese culture, reinforcing one’s viewpoint with great certainty is considered self-centeredness. However, most western cultures believe that explaining one’s arguments with clarity is the best way of winning a debate. A typical debate in western cultures involved supporting one side of the argument and demonstrating that counterarguments are not valid. In Japan, dismissing the arguments of other persons is considered selfish and disrespected. Therefore, the debate paper must be changed to have a balanced presentation of both views and must not be seen to argue in favour of one side. The debate paper would also need to be modified to avoid asking questions such as “how” and “why” which are taken as attacks on a person’s authority or position. In Japan, people
  • 3. 3 CULTURAL EVALUATION are so assured of their views about certain issues that they do not expect to be criticised. Asking direct questions is seen as attacks on people’s believes and personalities and should, therefore, be avoided. The Japanese language is also unique and quite different from western cultures. The difference in translation between Japanese and English need to be considered in the debate in order to avoid confusion. For instance, the Japanese world for think is “omou” which does not refer reason but to “feel.” The debate will involve use of several Japanese words whose English equivalents are different. There is a cultural inclination to avoid debate on controversial issues in Japan especially when they touch on the complexities of the Japanese identity (Kingston, 2013). It is considered disrespectful and immoral to openly discuss such controversial topics. Therefore, the debate paper would need to be changed to have less controversial issues in order to avoid offending the audience and readers. The discussion paper must also be changed to include what the Japanese people would consider valid arguments. According to the Japanese culture, it is unprofitable to engage in a debate that is out of touch with social realities. Discussions on issues that are considered status quo may draw mixed reactions from the audience who may feel that the debate is not legitimate. For instance, certain aspects of the Japanese social-cultural systems such as the control of the government by some major banks and industries are considered status quo and not profitable to discuss.
  • 4. 4 CULTURAL EVALUATION References Kingston, J. (2013). Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.