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A research about Japanese Culture’s effect on Sino-Japanese Trade

2019-10-24 10:11:34


With the development of economic globalization, the exchanges between different countries and different regions have become more and more frequent. After the reform and opening-up, especially after joining World Trade Organization, economic activities between China and other countries are getting closer than ever before, a lot of multinational corporations set up their business in China in order to be engaged in business activities. And Japan, as our neighboring country as well as our largest trading partner, has almost two thousand years history of exchange and communication. There are many similarities in Chinese culture and Japanese culture, but also exist apparent differences while developing. Some scholars say, Japan’s successful economy is very closely linked to its unique corporate culture; and its unique corporate culture also has a strong connection with traditional Japanese culture. This paper will analyze the influence on the Sino-Japanese Trade based on Japanese culture.
Keywords: Japanese Culture; Sino-Japanese Trade; effect


1. Introduction
On September 29, 1972, the Chinese and Japanese governments signed the “Sino-Japanese Joint Statement” and declared the restoration of diplomatic relations. Therefore, Sino-Japanese trade relations entered a new phase. After 1972, the Sino-Japanese trade relation history can be roughly divided into three stages: during 1970’s Sino-Japanese trade has developed rapidly. The turnover of import and export trade between China and Japan has changed from 10.4 billion U.S. dollars in 1972, up to 8.91 billion U.S. dollars in 1980, for an increase of nearly 9 times.
After 1980, Sino-Japanese trade relations have been generally developed well, namely, while supporting the economic development of China’s economy, Japan is not friendly to political relations. So in some of the Sino-Japanese trade years the turnover was decreased, for example, compared to 1981, the turnover of Sino-Japanese trade was dropped by 12.2% in 1982. On the other hand, because of trade friction between Japan and the occident, Japan felt the importance of economic cooperation with China. In this period Japan’s direct investment in China increased rapidly. In 1990 the number of Japan’s direct investment projects increased by 6.4 times compared to 1983; the contract amount by 4.6 times; the amount of actual use by 2.7 times.
After 1990, Sino-Japanese trade relations have developed rapidly in the process of competition and friction. In 2000, the turnover of import and export of Sino-Japanese trade reached 83.17 billion U.S. dollars, for the first time breakthrough of 80 billion U.S. dollars. However, since 1997, due to the impact of the Asian financial crisis, Japan has begun to limit the number of high-tech industries investment in China.[1]
In short, the Sino-Japanese trade, in many ways, has made great achievements. However, at present, there have been some problems and contradictions hindering the Sino-Japanese trade relations. The future development of Sino-Japanese trade relations has been paid attention by two governments and peoples.
2. Japanese Culture
“Sakura” is the national blossom in Japan. Hsiao (2004) explained that Japanese’s love for Sakura is closely related to its social and cultural background. Japanese think that Sakura is the most important symbol of life – “be transient and glorious”. Such spirit is identical to samurai spirits. The temporary blooming and fading of Sakura is the same as a samurai’s “determination to death”. Bushido serves as the foundation of Japanese deity spirit. It combines the concepts of Buddhism and Confucianism. These three schools have been integrated to develop morality and justice uniquely possessed by Japanese. Japanese culture features “shame”. “Shame” refers to avoid doing something which loses a person’s face. Bushido unconsciously dominates Japanese nationals and has become some power unable to resist.
Wen (1993) pointed out that Japanese culture and customs have been deeply influenced by China. For instance, the classic apparel worn by the Prince Imperial of Japan on his wedding ceremony was a copy of that in Tang and Sung dynasties in China. 1,200 years have passed. However, Japanese still keep their traditional culture and further glorify it. Japanese have imitated, transplanted and digested Chinese culture. After Meiji Restoration, Japanese positively absorbed western culture and achieved a blend culture of Japanese and Western styles. Feng (2004) mentioned that Japanese have possessed unique wisdom in various aspects either in politics, economy, technology or culture. Lin (1997) suggested that Japanese are pursuing perfection in materials in the society. They admire individual accomplishments and believe in humanism. An individual’s specialty is considered important cultural property and is encouraged by the government. Humanism valuing technology and citizen cultivation is the greatest social resource in Japan. They advocate technology and skills without shutting themselves from others. Consequently, they are able to be innovative on a basis of tradition. Japanese do not copy everything. They have been impacted by Chinese and western culture. They sensitively adapt themselves to the world trend of development while continuously and quickly receiving new concepts and things. They combine the new trends with their traditional culture and then create a new type of hybrid culture.
3. The cultural differences between China and Japan
Culture includes language and non-verbal behavior, customs, ways of thinking and values of four aspects, they are a great influence on business negotiations.
3.1Verbal and non-verbal behavior
The Japanese language and nonverbal behaviors tend to be closed, inward-looking, and the Chinese language and nonverbal behavior is more focused on outward-looking, and the open.
In the daily dealings of the Japanese use more subtle means to express intention of euphemism, there are more positive commitments, recommendations and guarantees do not use 'no' and 'you'. Chinese people, when speaking or answering questions in the negative is relatively straightforward. The Japanese always keep a silent, often 'to heart mass mind' in silent mode to maintain a certain tacit understanding. In social activities, the Japanese like to use self-deprecating language, such as 'Nice to meet you', 'Cuchadanfan, care and attention' and so on, talk to him often use the phrase. Unless special circumstances, the Chinese people are generally very few silent. The Japanese and the Chinese people to speak the lack of humor is very funny.
Japanese facial expressions, always gives people a sense of reservation. Most of the Chinese people will show his feelings to be realized. Between the Japanese greeting when the bow is the most basic courtesy, in China, especially the men, many occasions to express through handshake greetings.
3.2 Customs
Customs include a number of social activities. The Japanese will be seen as a gift to each other, said the material reflects the mind. Li is not thick, properly presented to the other party will be impressed. And volunteers to a friend's house or relative's house guest, and master the Chinese kinship, compared to the Japanese etiquette is a little too focused. The Japanese guests are not in the office, but in the conference room, reception room, they will not easily lead people into office confidential department. Business banquet is held in large hotel cocktail party. China may be in the office, conference room and reception room to receive guests, in order to welcome still be required to banquet guests.
Japanese behavior constrained by certain norms. In formal social occasions, men and women to wear a suit, dress, bogey disheveled, behavior-stricken, and shouting. Although the Chinese people pay attention to the etiquette, the request is not too harsh.
3.3Different Ways of Thinking
Tolerant attitude towards the Japanese reality realistic way of thinking, the Japanese give all the realities to bear in silence. The Japanese hold to interpersonal relations based way of thinking. They often neglect or even betray the relationship between the constraints of universal human social norms.
Chinese people use the system's way of thinking is more romantic than the Japanese. Chinese people think although the emphasis on interpersonal relationships, but it will not ignore the constraints of social norms.
Value orientation of the Japanese to occupy the most important position is the 'workplace'. In other words, the workplace community occupied the center of social values. The big companies such as Japan is like a family, employees of enterprises have a strong sense of belonging and destiny of a sense of community. The Chinese people's value orientation is relatively diversified. We place emphasis on national interests and collective interests, but also the realization of the importance of personal values.
Japanese men are still respected the traditional hierarchy. Lower absolute obedience is superior male status than females, the male outside the home, women inside. The difference between the level of the Chinese people is relatively small, family division of labor are more ambiguous.
4. Japanese Style of Business Negotiations
4.1Establishing the relationship of negotiations
Japanese possess unique ways of negotiations. They are considered to be “tough in negotiations” or “the knights of the round table”. Japanese believe that good human relationships help facilitate business interactions and development. They value human relationships very much. Human relationships and the degree of trust determine the establishment of business relationships with Japanese. Japanese also believe that a certain form of introduction is beneficial to faster establishment of business relationships between both parties. Therefore, Japanese businessmen will try to find someone or a company they have worked with to be the introducer before any negotiation is started. For further exploring the information about their rivals, Japanese businessmen often invite them to a hotel or other places.
4.2 Decision-making program
In a decision-making program or process, Japanese always make each member involved in a negotiation feel important about his or her participation. There are two features: first, it is from lower level to higher level. The higher level makes an approval. The lower level or subordinates make discussions over a certain project before submitting it to a higher level for making a final decision. This process works on a basis of sufficient discussions which lead to easy implementations. However, poorer efficiency is shown due to excessive time for decision-making. Second, the agreement on a negotiation goes before group decision-making. Japanese businessmen often divide their members into several groups in the process of negotiation. No one is held responsible for the overall process of negotiation. The decision requires the opinions given by all of the members. Any decision will be carried out only when all of the members reach to an agreement.
4.3Concept of time
It takes longer time for Japanese businessmen to make decisions since group decision-making comes after overall agreement. Japanese businessmen are often criticized by the foreigners involved in the same negotiation. It is not practical to hastily reach a consensus in the process of negotiating with Japanese. Japanese businessmen do not pay attention to deadlines or limited time. They carry out the negotiations in a peaceful and calm manner under the pressure imposed by their rivals. In addition, it requires a lot of time to develop private relationships with Japanese in order to freely express their opinions in negotiations.
4.4Ways of communications
Japanese businessmen value “face” pretty much. They do not like to have conflicts in a public place. They usually communicate with people in an indirect and tactful manner. The way they express themselves is mostly clear and understandable. However, some replies which sound affirmative may be negative in reality. Such indirect communications may mislead their rivals. Once Japanese agree to a proposal and make their decision, it would be very difficult to change. They often stick to their arguments. Changing a decision requires the agreement reached by all of the members taking part in the negotiations.
4.5Attitude toward contract
Japanese businessmen have their own set of standards and principles. They think mutual trust is the most essential part while doing business and it is not necessary for them to sign detailed contracts. Such concept has been changing recently. However, even if there is a written form of contract, the contents in it are simple and brief. They mostly depend on oral agreement. A written agreement only serves as a reference when disputes arise therefrom.
5. Japanese cultural effect on business negotiation
Sino-Japanese cultural differences affect the two officers to carry out normal business activities. Cultural differences seriously affect the Sino-Japanese business communication between the negotiators and undermine the negotiations and friendly atmosphere, and make the negotiations stalled even failure.
5.1The existence of the negotiating parties the risk of misunderstanding
With their non-verbal language and cultural differences, communication barriers between the two sides. Such as the Japanese business negotiators often said that the 'Hayy', saying only that he did understand what you say does not mean that he agreed with you. Chinese negotiators, it is very easy for the Chinese language and Culture under the misunderstanding that he had agreed to his conditions for a.
5.2There is the risk of undermining the negotiations and friendly atmosphere
Since the Japanese did not pursue the impulse of self-expression, most of them in the negotiations have always been the attitude of silence, the atmosphere tense. Even if there is a language of communication is also very boring. This is the Chinese negotiators is a test, the Chinese saying goes, 'not a virtue and the sale of the' Chinese people like to warm, friendly business atmosphere of the talks. Japan's silent 'hospitality' would undermine the negotiations and the good atmosphere, which affected the negotiation process.
5.3There is the risk of the negotiations deadlocked
As the Japanese emphasis on courtesy, there will be excessive reception situation. First, it attended the reception, then Kara OK, commemorative photo shoot, drinking, dinner, gifts. In the long process of the reception mention the substance of the negotiations, but also the exchange of a lack of humor, it is very easy for the Chinese negotiators believe that good strategy is to negotiate the 'fatigue' strategy. The Japanese external trade is generally agreed that more than a collective subject, so the Japanese side in the negotiations for more than patience, they are often prepared to give full, thoughtful, methodical negotiation, decision-making slow and cautious. The Japanese side in the negotiations will continue to repeat questions, and even many people will ask the same question, usually for good conversation of the Chinese negotiators thought that the Japanese side does not believe his own statements or tease lose their patience. This number in the negotiations over the reception and overly cautious and Chinese negotiators will lose confidence in the negotiation and patience, so that the negotiation process becomes difficult or even deadlock.
5.4The existence of the risk of breakdown of the talks
Japanese negotiators do not pay attention to the constraints of social norms, in the negotiations are always practicing what it preaches. Although they agreed to the mouth, but do not think we should go to fulfill this promise. This is in good faith as a virtue of a Chinese businessman is difficult to understand and accept this. This 'what it preaches' is easy for the ongoing negotiations relative to any loss of the termination, but also easy to make the contract a dead letter, a direct result of talks.
6. Chinese business negotiators countermeasures
6.1Negotiating strategy for complementing with each other
Japanese businessmen pay attention to the strict caste system of hierarchy, so the Chinese negotiating team cannot have women and people who are too young to participate. Against Japanese businessman decision-making process of collective bargaining, the Chinese negotiation team should adhere to two or more people attend the event, the negotiating team members and between higher and lower levels of language and nonverbal behavior should be co-ordination to each other. The main negotiator appeared Mistakes or loopholes, auxiliary to talk about people you want to justify a supporting role, so that bargaining unit is always in step. In the negotiations, but also required to arrange for the members of the negotiating team to play good cop and bad guy sing.
6.2Negotiate information-gathering strategy for Sino-Japanese Trade
For the Japanese negotiators prepared and used to silence the characteristics of the Chinese negotiators should conscientiously do a good job in the negotiations before the market information, opponent Information and legal information collection, during the negotiation process, we should talk less, ask, listen, in the listening the process for the other side for more information.
6.3Negotiating strategy of patience and deadlines Strategy
For the Japanese business negotiators focus on the characteristics of red tape and slow decision making, the Chinese representative to take patient strategy, do a good job mentally prepared for long negotiations. No need to rush, rush revealing their true negotiations between the asking price. After a long and arduous negotiations, if the Japanese side does not decisively, you can use a deadline strategy, by providing for a deadline to force the other party in anxiety in decision-making.
6.4Negotiations Substitution Policy
Japanese business within the class consciousness of the Negotiating Group on severe stress levels of hierarchy, there is respect for the old tendencies, which the Chinese negotiators can use substitution strategies, this approach will yield unexpected results. Substitution strategy is the replacement of the negotiations in the negotiating process, please grade and high-status than the other person or older person show up to negotiate to deal with the deadlock problem.
6.5Negotiating strategy for off-site mediation
Japanese businessmen to participate in the formal atmosphere of the negotiations more boring, off-site mediation strategy can effectively alleviate the atmosphere. Outside the mediation strategy is on the outside to hold informal talks with each other, through communication and get more necessary information, multiple ways to find a solution to the problem.
6.6The location of the negotiation strategy
In order to avoid negotiations in Japan, many of the ceremony, the Chinese negotiators can select the venue for negotiations in China or a third country. This would also allow the Japanese negotiators felt the pressure of time, thus decision-making as soon as possible, while China can have more bargaining may be initiated, so that their dominant position.
6.7Flexible, comprehensive strategy for the written contract
Japanese businessmen in the negotiations because of what it preaches, but also the face of new circumstances, after signing the impulse to breach of contract, so the Chinese negotiators on the implementation of flexible, comprehensive strategy for the written contract. That is written to fulfill a contract basis, the contract should not only be comprehensive, but also has moderate flexibility, will be performing the details of the process requirements of the contract during the foreseeable future, a variety of situations and their respective responsibilities and obligations should have been entered into contract, so as to avoid breach of contract after the situation changed.
6.8Negotiating etiquette strategy
Japan attaches great importance to the negotiations in business etiquette, so the Chinese can use ceremonial strategies to get each other's respect and trust. Japan should put up with all kinds of complicated rituals, such as talking, drinking, and dinner. A little small gift is necessary, such as the company logo printed on pencils, neckties and other accessories. We should pay attention to the polite behavior.
4. Conclusion
The establishment of a corporate system is closely associated with Japanese culture. During the period of the feudal society, patriarch-dominated leadership, loyalty to an organization and collective consciousness of identity belongingness significantly influence Japanese corporate culture. The employees working for a Japanese company though receive lower salary, they feel stable and safe since the company will hire them for a lifetime. The employees do not have to worry about being laid off. The seniority system and more protections and benefits help diminish employees’ dissatisfaction of low initial salary and the chance to change a job. On the contrary, Japanese companies will also request and build employees’ loyalty to the company and their recognition of belongingness. It is an obligation for employees to be loyal to an organization. In such case, Japanese employees will become more disciplined and diligent.

[1] Liu Yuan: International Business Negotiation [M]. Beijing: Foreign Economic and Trade University Press, 2012-01-17
[2] Qin I: Comparison of Japanese custom and culture [M]. Beijing: China Building Materials Industry Press, 2012- 08-01
[3] Liu Fang: Regulating cultural differences, cross-cultural negotiation [J]. Modern shopping malls, in January 2013
[4] Linser clear: small discussion of Sino-Japanese differences in the habit of thinking [J]. Japanese knowledge, 2011 (8)
[5] Zhou Zhongxing: Business Negotiation Principles and Techniques [M]. Nanjing: Southeast University Press, 2010-01-01 

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