· Capital: Tokyo  Population: 127.7 million
· Area: 377,864 sq km (145,894 sq miles)
· Major language: Japanese (Nihongo)
· Major religions: Shintoism, Buddhism
· Monetary unit: yen円
· Independence: 660 BC traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu
· National Holiday: Birthday of Emperor Akihito (head of government), 23 December, 1933.
· Government type: Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliamentary Government
· Prime minister: Yasuo Fukuda was made prime minister in September 2007 after the abrupt resignation of Shinzo Abe, whose year in office was dogged by political scandals.
· Flag Description: white with a large red disk, representing the sun without rays, in the center
· Economy: Thanks to the recovery program implemented after World War II, the Japanese economy expanded rapidly. As a result, Japan became the world's most successful export economy, generating massive trade surpluses and dominating such fields as electronics, robotics, computing, vehicles, chemicals, scientific instruments, watches and banking. 

II. Japanese behaviors in accordance with their notions of time and space
A. Notions of time
1. In Japan, where platitudes are mandatory, there is almost a fixed period which has to elapse before the senior person present says,‘Fitsu wa ne…' (The fact of the matter is…) at which point everybody puts their head down and starts. Japanese meetings are conducted in phases:

Platitudinous preamble

Outline of subjects to be discussed (language use formal)

Airing of views (less formal in tone

Replies of each party to other’s views (more formal and non-confrontational)

Summary by both sides (formal)

2. Even among close friends or lovers, lateness is an insult in social settings. Punctuality dominates many facets of Japanese life. Average walking speed, accuracy of bank clocks, rail ways and post office efficiency are the highest in the world. In the context of Japanese culture, Shinji’s acute awareness of time is expected. 

Notions of space
Japanese keep a greater physical distance between themselves than do Westerners.
They tend to be reserved and humble and like to blend into the crowd. Speaking loudly is considered rude and threatening. Pointing is also considered rude. They are also reserved when it comes to physical touching.

III. Japanese thinking and behaviors
1. Japanese maintain a quiet and polite manner at all times. A bow ("ojigi") can be a way of greeting someone, saying "I'm sorry" or even asking for a favor.
The depth of the bow depends on your counterpart status. When bowing to an individual who is of higher status than you do it a little lower than that person to display respect.
On the contrary, pointing is considered rude. Besides, It is no longer acceptable to spit, snort and sniff in public. 

2. Avoid accusations or direct refusals. In your relation with Japanese executives remain indirect. In Japan, where no one must face exposure, be confronted or lose face, truth is a dangerous concept. In Asia, Africa and South America, strict adherence to the truth would destroy the harmony of relationship between individuals, companies and entire segments of the society; therefore, the Japanese will often give an answer they believe will please the listener.

3. Conversation topics: Inquiring about a person's family, praising the hospitality you're receiving and Japanese history are good conversation topics but World War II and making jokes are to avoid.

4. Taboos: White flowers of any kind should be avoided. Giving four or nine of anything is considered unlucky. Red Christmas cards should also be avoided, since funeral notices are usually printed in this color. 

5. If you are invited to a karaoke bar, you will be expected to sing. It doesn't matter if you are out of tune.
6. Slurping your noodles and tea is encouraged in Japan.

IV. Values and Beliefs
    Harmony, order, and self-development are three of the most important values that underlie Japanese social interaction. Basic ideas about self and the nature of human society are drawn from several religious and philosophical traditions. Religious practice emphasizes the maintenance of harmonious relations with others (both spiritual beings and other humans) and the fulfillment of social obligations as a member of a family and a community.

V. Religion:
Japan's two major religions are Shinto (the indigenous religion of Japan) and Buddhism, which have co-existed for centuries. Some 84 per cent of the Japanese people consider themselves Buddhist, Shintoist or both. Taoism and Confucianism have also significantly influenced Japanese beliefs and mythology.
    Japanese participate in religious rituals celebrating births, weddings and funerals, visit a shrine or temple at New Year and participate in local festivals (matsuri).

VI. Festival: March 3 is Japanese Girl's Day called hina matsuri (hina doll festival) or momo no sekku (peach flower festival). Hina matsuri originated in China, and it was established in Japan during Edo Period (1603-1867). 
    A set of hina dolls wearing kimono is displayed at homes of Japanese girls. It's a celebration for Japanese girls. People pray for girls' happiness and health, eating special food, such as chirashi-zushi (colorful sushi), clam soup, sakura mochi (sweet rice cakes), and more. 

Country Profile: Japan
Japan: Welcome to the Japan Cultural Profile
Doing Business in Japan
Doing Business in Japan and around the World
‧Richard D. Lewis (2000). When Cultures Collide. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

延伸閱讀Cindy魔法ABC教室關鍵字搜尋 [日本] 一系列的文章

前鎮子和 sixth graders 六年級學生進行跨文化主題教學,
結果好多小朋友都做日本! (受到Cindy的耳濡目染嗎/.  ha : )



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