culture is deeply rooted in their values and they play a critical role in
some of the elements that are essential Japanese values:
piety--respect and care for ones elders--is an important factor for
the Japanese. They have a great deal of respect for their
elders and value them as critical members of society. The elders are also the people who will pass
down oral traditions from generation to generation.
|In Japanese culture, those who
say very little are considered credible. Their non-verbal cues and
communication are more important than verbal communication.
|The Japanese are a people with
deep-rooted traditions that are thousands of years old. More
the Japanese have endured many
hardships throughout the years, their history is considered a principal
factor in the basis of their values.
|Many Japanese rituals and traditions
are based on their deep cultural roots in religion. The
two main religions practiced in Japan are Buddhism and Shintoism.
More on Religion
|Family is significantly valued
in their societal viewpoint. Family members are always put before
others in society. More on Family Communication
people value the importance of a strong government in order to keep
peaceful and harmonious relations among all its people. More
||Nature is greatly valued in
Japanese culture. These strong sentiments and beliefs are seen
through the meticulous care that they put forth in landscaping
is highly valued in Japanese society. It will eventually help determine
one's social position and status. More
information found here was gathered from both Samovar and Porter books.
- "He who speaks has
no knowledge and he who has knowledge does not speak."
This proverb is a prime example of the value that the Japanese place
(Samovar and Porter, Reader, p.8)
- "The duck that
quacks is the first to get shot." The Japanese
have many proverbs, like this one, implying that they find silence to
be greatly important. They are a people who find non-verbal cues
more important than verbal ones.
(Samovar and Porter, Reader, p.8)
- Someone who "hears one
and understands ten" is someone who is quick enough to speak
before his or her position is revered as intelligent. This proverb
shows that the Japanese value non-verbal cues. (Nihon-no-Kotowaza)
- "More haste, less
speed." This proverb means that when you are
hurried, it is often quicker to take another route. This shows how the Japanese value time. They do not believe in rushing
to do things, and do not live by demanding schedules that are planned
minute by minute.
- "Seven falls,
eight getting up." This Japanese saying
tells one to get up eight times for every seven you fall down.
This saying is one of encouragement to persevere and not give up.
- "All human affairs
are like 'Saiou's' horse" which means that
someone's fortune or fate is unpredictable and unchangeable.
This proverb shows the way that the Japanese believe in allowing fate
to guide them.
village, obey the village." The proverb tells one
to obey the rules of where you are; it shows the strong value placed
on rules in a collective society for the better of all people.
- "One does not make
the wind blow but is blown by it."
This Asian proverb says that Asians believe that fate guides them, not
their own actions.
(Samovar and Porter, Reader, p.8,
Samovar and Porter, Communication, p.37)
- "No use shutting
the stable door after the horse has bolted."
The proverb says exactly that; there is no point in trying to prevent
something that has already occurred. This proverb shows the
importance of learning from your mistakes and not allowing them to
happen again; the Japanese culture values the past and also learning
- "Once a fool,
always a fool" is very self explanatory. The only cure
for a fool is dying. The Japanese believe that everyone is
guided by his or her fate.
- "The mouth is the
cause of calamity." This proverb communicates how
the Japanese view the usage of verbal language. They believe that
through the use of indirect language, they will save-face and help others
to do the same, which creates social harmony. This quality shows
that they find collectivism to be important to their society. (Nihon-no-Kotowaza)
who know do not speak and those who speak do not know." This
proverb stresses the importance of silence over speaking in Japan.
(Samovar and Porter, Communication, p. 38)
The Japanese language follows
many of the same Asian culture language rules. Many Asian
cultures have rather ambiguous verbal language; they are more indirect
and use fewer words.
|They have more concern with
the emotive quality of the conversation than with the actual meaning
of the words they are speaking. Much of this occurs because they
are a high-context culture, which means that they put a much higher
emphasis on non-verbal communication.
||They do not engage in much
verbal language due their collective nature. This means that
they care more about the group than the individual. Along with
this, they rarely use personal pronouns because they provide a more
individualistic base for communication.
||Japanese culture also speak more cautiously due to the fact that they prefer avoiding
confrontational language or negative language. They do this
because they do not want to damage the group and to allow others to
save face. Therefore, they are usually a courteous culture with
their words making them more formal speakers.
||They use an indirect way of
speaking in order to save face. This
indirect approach is used to avoid direct confrontational
||The Japanese use verbal
language only when necessary. They favor silence and the use of
non-verbal cues over verbal language because they find talking too
much to be chaotic. They also believe that speech is unnecessary when one can make his point through other means.
The ability to use non-verbal language over verbal shows credibility
and intelligence in the Japanese culture.
||Japanese culture mainly uses language to show social status. They use different
vocabularies for different social situations. They also use
different forms of the word "you" depending on whom they are
speaking to or about.
||In Japanese language, gender
roles are clearly defined depending on the situation. Japanese
women have certain styles of speech for different
the Japanese language, there are three alphabets.
- Kanji - These are
symbolic characters. These characters represent
meanings rather than sounds. One must know
approximately 3000 characters to finish high school. Link
to Kanji Chart
- Hiragana - These are
phonetic characters. There are a total of 46.
They are used for particles and verb endings.
- Katakana - These are
also phonetic characters and total 46 as well. They
sound the same as hiragana characters when read aloud but
katakana characters are used mainly for foreign words into
the Japanese language. These are simplified versions
of hiragana characters.
Japanese language is a phonetic language. It is
important to pronounce every character so that one does not lose
the meaning of a word. Also, each character is pronounced
with equal emphasis.
are some commonly used Japanese phrases:
- Hello = Konnichiwa (kon-nee-che-wa)
- I am... = Watashi wa ____ desu
- Thank you = Arigato (a-ree-ga-toe)
- Good morning = Ohaya gozaimasu
- Good Afternoon = (same as
- Good Evening = Konbanwa (kon-ban-wa)
- Yes = Hai (ha-i)
- No = Iie (ee-eh)
- Excuse me = Sumimasen (su-mee-ma-sen)
- Good bye = Sayonara
Correct use of verbal language in the Japanese
culture is very important and must be done properly.
information gathered here was found from Samovar and Porter, Communication
Between Cultures, chapter 5. Summarized facts were also found at
this site: http://www.shinnova.com/part/99-japa/abj10-e.htm.
The commonly used phrases were found at http://www.k111.k12.il.us/king/japan18i.htm