What is the image toward Japanese people?
Demure? Self-effacing? Bashful? Or meek?
It is often said that Japanese are so different from other country people, when foreign people come to know some Japanese as such as friends, colleague, business partners or clients, that they feel embarrassed.
One of the reason is, the nation is isolated island surrounded by water of Pacific Ocean and be protected from enemy from outside.
Historically, mediocre people were not used to associate with foreigners.
After country being opened to foreign nations by Meiji Restoration in 1868, people had been familiar with outside country people.
So since then they are not so good at talking and understanding them.
One of the symbolic phenomenon is Japanese are not so good at speaking English though they study 6 years ! in middle junior high school and high school days.
There is word which is often used in Japan, that is ” Ishin denshin” which means understanding each other without exchanging any words. It is almost telepathy.
That’s why even in the meeting they don’t express their opinion. Sometimes, when it comes to boss’s instruction to subordinates, the boss does’t instruct concretely and doesn’t say much using less words.
This kind of culture often gives impression to foreigners to make them feel inscrutable.
Oh! Japanese are so enigmatic, cryptic and mystical.
Another mystifying situation is in business area.
When Japanese visit foreign countries for business, they are coming together with company colleagues not coming by single.
But most of them don’t speak out and say nothing in the meeting only just sitting.
Their only job is sedentary job. He contributes nothing.
During the meeting, the counterpart may suspect why he is coming all the way from Japan because he doesn’t say any comment.
What his role? Why he spends a lot of money for business trip?
That seems mystical experience for foreigners.
Foreigner counterpart expect quick decision due to all concerned person appear in the meeting and business talk will go smooth anyway.
But more amazingly, after some insinuating and equivocal answers
and finally Japanese counterpart does not decide on the spot in the meeting.
They say ” after coming back to Japan and talk with headquarter, we will inform you later.”
What a surprise and be confounded by the meeting result, with a feeling they don’t decide now? ! Foreigner side in their mind they corroborate meeting with Japanese are waste of time in the future. This is really buffing moment.
So, they have started to feel disappointment Japanese are not worthwhile negotiation.
That’s why many foreigner feel Japanese are so slow to decide.
But I can say this situation is only the case of Japanese big company.