High context vs. Low context- Japan is a high context culture in which nonverbal communication is the norm and “non-talkativeness is encouraged” (Freitag &Stokes, 146).  The level of implicit communication is high and the boundaries between in and out group members are highly visible (Freitag & Stokes, 146).

Individualism vs. Collectivism- Japan is a unique country in where it falls in the spectrum of individualism and collectivism. When compared to its surrounding neighbors Japan is an individualistic culture because, “Japanese society does not have extended family system which forms a base of more collectivistic societies such as China and Korea.” However, by Western standards Japan is a collectivist culture because they put “harmony of group above the expression of individual opinions and people have a strong sense of shame for losing face.”

Power distance– Japan has a high power distance but not as high as other Asian cultures. “It is a borderline hierarchical society” in Japanese cultures decisions are made through each hierarchical layer and it is a long process, the decision has to be reached with all decision makers in accordance.”

Uncertainty Avoidance- Japan has one of the highest scores of uncertainty avoidance and it is mostly correlated to the constant threat of natural disaster that ensue the country. There are procedures and protocol for all types of events and decision making that are strictly followed, because of the “high need for uncertainty avoidance is one of the reasons why changes are so difficult to realize in Japan.”

Masculinity-Femininity- Japan is one the most masculine societies in the world, but in a different manner than expected. The Japanese culture is highly competitive which is taught at an early age, also the “drive for excellence and perfection in their material production (monodukuri) and in material services (hotels and restaurants) and presentation (gift wrapping and food presentation) in every aspect of life.”  Also the time of work that is put in by the males in Japan is also a factor in the classification of the masculine culture, as they are known to be highly invested in their jobs making it hard for women to advance or find opportunities in corporate fields.

Relationship vs. Task Orientation- Japan is a relationship based culture, especially in the business world. Building a relationship is essential in the Japanese business world as it very difficult to conduct business without it.

Cultural Metrics:

Chronemics: Japan is a monochronic culture, for example if a meeting is set to start at 1:00 pm, it will start at 1:00 pm; punctuality is expected. 

Proxemics- Personal space in Japan is usually kept at arm’s length but in public spaces that is not applicable, because of its large population; in public spaces Japanese people are more comfortable with less personal space.

Haptics- In Japan pointing is not acceptable, the “OK” sign means money, and touching in public is not acceptable (whether to guide someone or show affection).

Occulesics- Excessive eye contact is not acceptable; one bows and lowers gaze when greeting an elder or someone in a high position of power. 

Kenisics:  Make sure to remove shoes before entering someone’s home and accept slippers if offered. Do not show the soles of your feet or shoes while sitting it is considered an insult.


“THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE.” Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web. http://geert-hofstede.com/japan.html


Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.