“Culture is the collective programming of the mind
which distinguishes one human group from another”
- Geert Hofstede
TANGIBLE and INTANGIBLE ASPECT OF CULTURE
We tend to define culture with tangible aspect, what we see, smell, hear and touch, such as language, food, music, art, architecture, clothing, behavior. That is the surface of iceberg. (iceberg Model by Edward Hall). Under the surface, we have intangible aspect of culture which are, not visible, such as unspoken rules and core values, which are influenced by the history, geography, climate, religeon and education of the human group, the country.
This core value formed by a human group may not totally align with the very value that individual holds, however, it is imbedded deeply in our subconcious mind and most of the time, we automatically act, behave, make choices, decisions based on this core value.
Our first contact with culture is the tanglible aspect and from their, we conjour up questions and mysteries. As we dig deeper, we will find the shining diamond – solving your riddle, the answers to our questions.
It is essential to understand the core value of the culture, the driving force of the human group.
Needless to say, we also need to be aware of our own core value, what drives us, as well as others.
Unless we are aware, we tend to see and judge things with a filter of our our own value, like wearing a colored glasses.
To interact with people from different cultures, it is essential to be aware of your own core value and be concious not to make the instant conclusion or judgement from your own set of values.
By understanding the core value underneath of each other’s tangible culture, we can be more compassionate to each other and establish a nurishing relationship.The core value that drives Japanese.
The core value of Japanese society is "Harmony"(wa 和).
Harmony with nature, Harmony with Ki, the life force energy. It shows in the Japanese cultural practices, rituals. In Japan, our life evolves with the season, surrender to nature, ride on the wave of nature and be harmony with it.
Harmony is what drives the Japanese people. In the Japanese society, being harmony with people around us is more important than in the west. It means that they would avoid anything that would destroy the harmony with the others. It is known that the Japanese always say Yes and no No.
They are indirect and ambiguous not to make others forced with an idea.
They are very suggestive. You can also see that in Japanese traditional art.
It is a virtue. However, if you are coming from other country, it is a challenge to conduct business.
For more than 20 years, I have been bridging business between Japan and Europe and have helped global companies on their joint ventures and M&A. By making most of my background, my study and my professional experience in the global corporate world, I am dedicated to help you to do business smoothly with the Japanese.
For "hands on advice, please read my series of articles SENRYAKU, Before your business trip to Japan, 5 things to prepare and 4 Japanese Business Rituals.
These will give you a great head start.
THANK YOU FOR READING
If you wish to learn more about doing business with the Japanese,
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