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The chapter focuses about the problem of people in Japan about the Bicycle

accidents. We try to study and analyze the problem to determine what will be our solution

and how our product will be. The latter, introduction, tells us the main points in Japan’s

environment problem.


Japan is an island nation in East Asia. It is an archipelago of 6,852 islands, most

of which are mountainous, and many are volcanic. The government system is a

parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy; the chief of state is the

emperor, and the head of government is the prime minister. Japan has a market economy

in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. The

Japanese are said to be hard-working. With that, transportation is important for them to

be able to go to work.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government aims to get more people using bicycles and

aims to roughly double the total length of bike lanes in the city by the time it hosts the

2020 Summer Olympics. Whether the target is attainable is unclear. Observers note that

the planned bike lanes do not necessarily connect with each other, partly because Tokyo

roads are managed by a range of different entities. Also, how can they make this possible

if Japan is lack of parking areas? In theory, cyclists are supposed to use the streets and

not the sidewalks, except when signs indicate that the sidewalks are for use by both

pedestrians and cyclists. Helmets are optional and are not usually provided by rental
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International Marketing Country Notebook: Japan

shops. In Japan, where there is a lack of designated parking space, do not follow bicycles

that are ruthlessly parked even in clearly designated non-parking zones. Illegally parked

bicycles may be removed by the local authorities and can only be retrieved by paying a

fine. Knowing that the Japan is also one of the cycling countries in the world.

Based from our study and analysis, people in Japan love to go anywhere using

bicycles that even tourists’ demands to rent a bike as their transportation to refresh and

relax. They can also use bicycles as a transportation heading to work that will help them

lessen the transports cost. In fact, Motor Vehicles; Electronic Equipment; Machine Tools;

Steel and Nonferrous Metals are their top industries. So, we the researchers, created

extraordinary bicycle using electronic equipment’s to help the Japanese lessen the

problems regarding to the parking area in Japan.


Human beings have lived in Japan for at least 30,000 years. During the last ice age

Japan was connected to mainland Asia by a land bridge and Stone Age hunters were able to

walk across. When the ice age ended about 10,000 BC Japan became a group of islands. About

8,000 BC the ancient Japanese learned to make pottery. The period from 8,000 BC to 300 BC is

called the Jomon. The word Jomon means 'cord marked' because those people marked their

pottery by wrapping cord around it. The Jomon people lived by hunting, fishing and collecting

shellfish. The Jomon made tools of stone, wood and bone. They also made clay figurines of

people and animals called dogu. Between 300 BC and 300 AD a new era began in Japan. At that

time the Japanese learned to grow rice. They also learned to make tools of bronze and iron. The

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Japanese also learned to weave cloth. This period is called Yayoi. (It was named after a village

called Yayoicho). Farming meant a more settled lifestyle. Yayoi people lived in villages of

wooden huts. (

Japan is an archipelago of some 6,852 islands located in volcanic zone on The Pacific

Ring of Fire. A nearly continuous series ocean trenches, volcanic areas and shifting tectonic

plates, the pacific ring of fire accounts for more than 75% of the world’s active volcanoes and

90 percent of the world’s earthquake. (source:Tokyo for bike,Byron Kidd)

For three decades, overall real economic growth had been impressive - a 10%

average in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, and 4% in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the

1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the aftereffects of inefficient investment and an

asset price bubble in the late 1980s, after which it took a considerable time for firms to reduce

excess debt, capital, and labor. Modest economic growth continued after 2000, but the

economy has fallen into recession four times since 2008. Government stimulus spending

helped the economy recover in late 2009 and 2010, but the economy contracted again in 2011

as the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in March of that year

disrupted economic activity. The economy has largely recovered in the five years since the

disaster, although output in the affected areas continues to lag behind the national average.

Japan is the most technological advanced society on earth; as a result it has the

world’s second largest economy b GDP (after USA). Japan exports automobiles, consumer and

office electronics, steel and transportation equipment, it also imports food, oil, lumber, and

metal. Japan as the World’s third greatest cycling nation behind the Netherlands and Denmark,

but just what is it about Japan that makes a cycling an alternative transport option to millions of
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people every day. Residents have to cycle no more than 5 to 10 minutes to reach supermarkets,

kindergarten, schools, doctors, dentists, in fact most necessities for everyday living are just a

short ride away, without the need to travel excessive distances for daily life’s basics, a bicycle

make a perfect sense. (source:tokyobyjapan,byronkidd)

Owning a car in Tokyo is inconvenient and expensive before purchasing a car the

buyer is required proof that they can secured an appropriate parking spot. As most city

dwellers have no garage hiring a parking space can be an expensive exercise and that parking

space may be many minute walk from home and cost more per month than a small apartment

in the suburbs. (source:Tokyo by japan,Byronkidd)

Japanese cycling laws are largely unforced until such time that there is an incident, but

Japanese people won’t take the law as long as you are riding safely and with respect for other it

doesn’t matter how many of Japanese cycling laws you’re breaking just don’t get into an

accident. Japan has terrible bicycle infrastructure yet millions of people cycle every single day

most suburban Japanese streets often do not have sidewalks in pedestrians, bicycles and car are

comfortable sharing the same space, bicycle lane non-existent when there is often enough

space for even a sidewalk, finding a (legal) place to park is often quite difficult so parking

illegally with everyone else is the accepted norm. Despite this few people are calling for

improved cycling infrastructure and cycling is booming. (source:Tokyo by japan,Byronkidd)

One of the great consideration which made us propose this multifunctional bicycle

because out of 127milion people has 72 million bicycle with over 10million new bicycle being

sold every year, and it will surely much increased because we made it more innovative so that

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we could help the bicycle commuters without breaking the government laws and maintain

country’s clean and efficiency because this bicycle occupy a unique place in Japan’s transport

ecosystem (source:tokyobybike,Byronkidd). This multifunctional bicycle “PEDALOUX” is the

transportation for everyone that you can carry anywhere you want without occupying parking

space. It serve not only the whole nation of Japan and even the entire world as well, our

innovated bicycle would guarantee the safety, quality and comfortability of the bicycle

commuters and a truly-healthy environment friendly.

It serve the Japanese people with the complete change the way they live and work, it is

the action of moving around from all the journey of life. We inspired with our tagline:




Japan has a wide geographical variety. It is located on the Pacific Ocean and in the

eastern side of China, Korean and Russia. Japan is an island country that is comprised of

more than three thousand islands. Among these several islands there are four main islands

that comprise at least 97% of the total land area in Japan. These four mail islands are

Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The total land space of the Japanese islands is

about 142,000 sq. km: land area, 374,834sq km (144,724sq, mi) water area: 3,091 sq. km

(1,193sq mi). Japan is the home to a population which the tenth largest in the whole

world and the regarding the density of population. Japan stands out to be the thirtiest

country in the world. (

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Expect for the Hokkaido area and the subtropical Okinawa region, the weather in

the Japan is mostly temperate, with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool and sunny in

the south, cold and sunny around Tokyo (which occasionally has snow), and very cold

around Hokkaido, which is covered in snow for up to four months a year. The Japan Sea

coastline also often receives heavy snowfall during winter.

Summer, between June and September, ranges from warm to very hot with high

levels of humidity in many areas. Typhoons, or tropical cyclones, with strong wind sand

torrential rains often hit Japan during August and September, but can occur through May

to October. Strong typhoons often affect transport systems, causing rail and air services

to be stopped, and there is a danger of landslides in rural areas.

Spring and autumn are generally mild throughout the country, and offer spectacular

views of pretty sakura cherry blossoms and colorful autumnal leaves, respectively. Rain

falls all over Japan throughout the year but June and early July is the main rainy season.

Umbrellas are a daily essential during this season. Hokkaido, however, is generally much

drier than the Tokyo area. (


The mainland, Honshu, is the mountainous with coastal lowlands. In the mountain

ranges is Japan’s highest mountain, Mt Fuji. Mt Fuji is 3776 meters above sea level and

is a volcano, although it has not erupted for hundreds of years. The two smaller islands,

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Kyushu and Shikoku, also have mountain ranges. The land in Japan is 85 percent


Rivers run through the valleys in the mountains and the mountains are covered in

forests. The rivers of Japan flow quickly and are generally short. The longest river in

Japan is the Shinano. This river is 367 kilometers long. It runs from the mountains in

central Honshu to the Sea of Japan.

As three-quarters of the land is mountainous the population of Japan lives in a very

small portion of the country. The mountains are often very steep which means that houses

cannot be built on them. People are generally restricted to living on the flatlands at the

bottom of the mountains ranges along the coast. These areas of land have to

accommodate cities where business is conducted rural areas.

Where arable (suitable for growing crops) and pastoral farms produce food, and

industrial areas where factories and other industries operate. All of this and there has to

be enough land for the people live on. The topography of the country and the population

combine to create a population density that is quite high. (




During the recess week, our group watched a series of videos depicting the typical

Japanese way of life as a salaried man, housewife, university student, and high school

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student. The title of this series of videos is “日本人のライフスタイル”. It offers many

perspectives of a certain role in society, although some common traits can be observed in

a family: the nuclear structure, the family-oriented housewife, and the father who always

has to work overtime in the office. It cannot be denied that Japan and most of Asia is still

rather patriarchal, which means that, to certain extents depending on the societal norms,

women has to be in charge of the domestic duties at home once she is married. According

to the 1994 Family Life Education International Survey, Japanese men worked an

average of 9.9 hours a day, but the average time spent with their children was only 3.3

hours a day. I am concerned about this phenomenon of the absent fathers or the ‘Sunday

friend’ in Japan, on issues such as the upbringing of the children and family cohesion.

Japanese studies have shown that father’s involvement with their children is

extremely important, and thus the lack of such interaction leads to many behavioural

problems of children 1. For example, the refusal of children to attend school, increasing

rates of juvenile delinquency, and children’s mental health problems and suicide are

frequently attributed to Japanese fathers’ physical absence from home due to work-

related demands.

I am inclined to think that the phenomenon of Hikikomori is Japan is related to the

lack of family solidarity. The reclusive people in society behave this way because of

traumatic experiences such as academic failure, dismissal from work or ostracism.

However, family support is important as it helps to absolve them of the sense of blame,

guilt, regret or disillusionment.

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The modern Japanese women, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly liberal

in thinking. Hence they will aspire for financial independence, individual freedom and

gender equality. The role of the Japanese housewife whose life revolves around the

household would not be appealing to these modern women, which could partially explain

why marriage rates in Japan are falling. Although the state is encouraging increasing

participation in household matters from the Japanese married men, the patriarchal

mindset is deeply entrenched and it will be difficult to demand a change in attitude in the

short run.

Although individual attitudes are hard to change, we can start from the larger

spheres of social life such as in the workplace or schools. The culture of working

overtime in Japan definitely needs an overhaul, so that more time can be allocated to the

family. Education systems in Japan should emphasize the equality of domestic roles for

both men and women. The state can also impose regulations that require firms to restrict

employees’ overtime hours. (



Like many Asian family systems, the Japanese family system was an extended

family which included distant relatives as well as the dead. In the earliest times, and

certainly with the influence of China, ancestor worship was a strong and vibrant belief

which made deceased real, active members of the family. Noble families, and families of

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the warrior class, placed great value and importance on their ancestors. One of the

problems of newly arisen aristocratic families was to ‘find’ sufficiently impressive

ancestors who would justify contemporary importance.

An extended family consisted at least of grandparents, parents and children in

addition to ancestors. A main or stem family might have affiliated to it branch families.

Each branch family at some time might itself, while maintaining its subordinate position

to the main family, become the stem family to several branches. Thus, a well-established,

well-organized, and rich family could become extremely large.

In fact, very few families were organized along the lines of the extended family.

Simply put, few were rich enough to sustain or require such a complex system. For the

majority of Japanese, even the three-generation family (grandparents, parents, and

children) was more of a dream than a reality. Life expectancy was so short until recently

that few lived long enough to see grandchildren; certainly few families experienced the

pleasures of more than one grandparent until well after World War II when life

expectancy reached eighty years. (




The family has a crucial role in forming Japanese students’ towards schooling and

academic. Specifically, in the Japanese culture, Mothers are expected to play a central

role in supporting their children’s education they are often referred to as kyoiku mamas,
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or “education mothers”. Because of their superhuman efforts to ensure that their children

will come out winners in the cut-throat competition that characterizes country’s exam-

based educational system.

Before the child ever enters his or her first year of school, the mother is charged with

making sure her child thrives in the school system. Her commitment to furthering the

education of the child can include everything from pouring tea for the studying child to

consulting with teachers. With regards to the junior high school student, the mother may

investigate the range of schools, tutors and jukus available, and bone up on subjects in

which her child is deficient. Evidently, in Japan, if a child fails or does poorly, the

mother carries the burden of blame. It is not unusual for the mother to curtail or cancel

social involvements in the two years leading up to the high school entrance exams. If the

mother happens to work, she will even quit her job to stay at home making lunches,

fixing school uniforms, and preparing material for the next day at school.

It has been, and continues to be, a cultural expectation that a Japanese mother

commit to her children as home educator and mentor. Needless to say, behind every

successful Japanese student is a goal-oriented mother who has coached, prodded, tutored,

supported and guided her youngster through the many hurdles of the educational system.

Have you ever heard of “examination hell” (jukenjigoku) that young Japanese

students go through just to get into high school? By far, the primary goal in junior high is

preparation to take a difficult test to get into high school. Japanese students can go to any

high school they wish in the prefecture (county), but they must be able to pass the test to

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get into the high school. Since there are high schools that have high cut-off points and

are more prestigious than others, students have to weigh their chances of getting into the

high school of their choice. If the student does not meet that cut off on the test, he or she

could be left without a school to attend since it is not a requirement in Japan. Because

passing such tests significantly influences how students may spend the rest of their lives,

they often decide to attend a juku school (Japanese “cram school”) in addition to their

regular school.

A juku school provides extra tutoring to public school children to help them get into

a good high school. These private schools range from major franchises throughout the

country to small “mom and pop” operations conducted in private homes. There are

different kinds of jukus because there are not enough students for each juku school, so

each juku school tries to identify its specialty. But basically, 60% of junior high school

students enroll in course specifically designed to improve their scores on practice tests

and the entrance exams.

For many of these students, attending juku takes precedence over other activities. If

a junior high school student has a conflict of time between juku and an afterschool club,

he or she will leave the club early. The student may go two to three times a week, about

two hours each night. Since regular school finishes between 3:30-4:00 p.m. and the juku

lessons begin after 5:00 p.m, students have a snack after school and their dinner after

juku, or sometimes they take bento (a box meal) with them to the juku. As soon as junior

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high school is over for the summer holidays, around July 20th, the third year students (9th

graders) begin to go to juku full-time.

Besides attending the jukus, students in junior high also have another alternative to

do their benkyo (studying). Schools organize extra classes (hoshu) after school or over

the holidays that are directed at preparing for the exams. Students may also take on

jukubenkyo (exam preparation) by buying whatever practice books and pamphlets are

available in bookstores. (


Shinto is the ethnic religion in Japan with a huge impact on the country's culture

and its ceremonial traditions. Even today, more than 79% of Japanese people still belong

to Shinto temples. Still, a large majority of people in and even outside of Japan are not

that familiar with how the religion influences different ceremonies and events in Japan.

The same is the case with Japanese wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to

many. Keep reading to learn more about some interesting wedding traditions in Japan.

1. The Betrothal/ Engagement

Called the yuino in Japanese, the betrothal ceremony is an exchange of symbolic

gifts between bride's and groom's families. The most popular gifts are a seaweed called

"konbu" that refers to "child-bearing woman"; a long piece of hemp in white that

represents wish that both husband and wife grow old together; and a folding fan that

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spreads and indicates future growth and wealth. The most common ones also include a

hakama for the groom and an obi for the bride.

One of the main gifts in this ceremony is money, which can be $5,000 or more –

the money is offered in a shugi-bukuro, a special envelope with gold and silver strings.

Ornate rice-paper envelopes are also used to give other gifts.

2. The Places

Since most of the Japanese weddings take place in Shinto temples, the venues are

always quite attractive. These places also feature religious iconography that give the

whole function a special feel. Some of the most common are water pavilions, stone dogs,

and tall red gates that symbolize the division between the corporeal and spiritual worlds.

3. San-San-Kudo

This sake sharing ceremony is common in Buddhist as well as Shinto Japanese

weddings. It is among the most interesting Japanese wedding traditions for the outsiders.

There will be three stacked cups of sake and both bride and groom have to drink taking

three sips. "Three, three, nine times" – just as the name has suggested. Ku or 9 means

good luck in Japanese culture. So, some believe the three sips each time represent love,

wisdom and happiness while other believe they represent earth, heaven, and mankind.

Some believe they represent the three couples – the bride and groom, the groom's parents,

and the bride's parents. However, some believe they represent the biggest human flaws,

which are passion, hatred, and ignorance that the couple will overcome together in life.

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4. Wedding Wardrobe

Something that will always fascinate you in a Japanese wedding is wedding

wardrobe. It is all in white – at least most of the time. The country's national colors are

red and white, and you will also notice the same in Japanese weddings. While a bride's

gown may be of delicate silk or some other material, the color is usually white. Sleek

evening gowns may come as a surprise to you, but they are quite common. Grooms

usually opt for black – they may wear suits or kimonos. You may also find some

Japanese weddings with brides wearing a white silk hood over the bun in their hair – that

silk headdress is called a wataboshi and is one of the oldest Japanese wedding traditions.

The hood represents humility and modesty.

5. Speeches

Wedding speeches hold a great importance in Japanese wedding ceremonies.

Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other relatives stand in line and wait for their

turn to wish the couple well. These speeches can be moralistic tales about marriage, but

they can also be heartfelt messages of love from family and friends.

6. Gifts for Parents

You may have gathered the idea that Japanese wedding traditions are quite about

exchanging gifts. There will be loads of presents for the parents of both bride and groom.

The most common gifts are a toast for parents, bouquets of flowers, and a personal letter

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of thanks and love. These simple gestures make Japanese weddings a lot more intimate

and special.

7. Gifts for the Guests

Oh, yes, Japanese weddings have a lot available for the guests as well. Brides

usually spend up to $50 or even more on favors for their guests. These favors can be a

lace bag of sweet almonds and much more.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan. A small but growing number of cities

and city wards have legalized same-sex partnerships, which provide some of the benefits

of marriage. Koseki household registration allows for some next of kin legal rights. Most

polls conducted since 2013 find that a slight majority of Japanese people support the

legalization of same-sex marriage or partnerships.

Beginning April 1, 2015, the Shibuya ward office in central Tokyo has offered

same-sex couples special partnership certificates which are stated to be equivalent to

marriage. While these licenses are not legally recognized as marriage certificates, they

are still a useful tool in civil matters such as hospital visitation rights.

On March 27, 2009, it was reported that Japan has allowed its nationals to marry

same-sex foreign partners in countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Japan does not

allow same-sex marriage domestically and has so far also refused to issue a key

document required for citizens to wed overseas if the applicant's intended spouse is of the

same legal sex. Under the change, the Ministry of Justice instructed local authorities to

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issue the key certificate—which states a person is single and of legal age—for those who

want to have a same-sex marriages.

In June 2011, the deputy head abbot of Kyoto's Shunkō-in Zen temple announced

that the temple would perform same-sex marriage ceremonies as part of Gay and Lesbian

Pride Month.

Since May 15, 2012, Tokyo Disney Resort has allowed symbolic (not legally

recognized) same-sex marriage ceremonies in its Cinderella's Castle hotel. On March 3,

2013, its first same-sex marriage was held. Koyuki Higashi married her partner, who was

only identified by the name Hiroko. (


C. Courtship

"Goukon" or group blind date is a modern pattern for dating where friends arrange

for other friends to meet up to see if they like each other. Japan is much more a culture

of introductions, swapping email addresses and business cards, than it is picking up

dates in bars.

Sex and sexuality is less frowned upon in Japan than it is in western countries such as

the USA. Japan does not have a Christian history with its attached morals that place a

somewhat undue sense of "wrong" on what many countries see as very natural

occurrences. Many Japanese people do in fact accept that physical interest is part of the

attraction. Having said that, this does not mean all Japanese women will jump straight

into bed at the drop of a hat, many can be extremely conservative when it comes to dating,
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but do recognize that sex is a natural part of life if dating develops into a relationship.

Japanese women are often conservative in social groups but may be more open and flirty

in more intimate situations.

Many Japanese women are unlikely to take the lead while on a date because there is

still a social taboo on female expressions of desire. Because of this, Japanese women are

often more demure, cutesy, a little tempting but not overly forward.

Money can sometimes play a small part in early dates in Japan, where a man might

mention his salary, more than once, to emphasize his ability to care for his date. This is

almost a subconscious act that many westerners may consider pointless bragging, when it

is not. This kind of conversation will often happen at "blind date parties" (goukon) where

friends arrange for other friends to meet up to see if they like each other. Japan is much

more a culture of introductions, swapping email addresses and business cards, than it is

picking up dates in bars.In a large city like Tokyo, where people are generally more

"forward thinking", dating couples will often book into a "love hotel", a place geared

specifically for romantic situations and usually equipped with a bath large enough for two

people, video games, karaoke machines and other forms of entertainment. Although

the love hotel is an obvious place for sex, some people do go there because it is one of the

few places were a couple can be intimate, due to the fact their own homes are often very

small and overcrowded with family. People from the more provincial areas of Japan,

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however, may well cringe at the thought of a love hotel and the forwardness of the Tokyo

lifestyle. (

D. Female Roles

Japan, like China and Korea, is heavily influenced by Confucian ideals.

Confucian society focuses on the family. Men are the heads of the household; women are

dependent on the men. Women are expected to marry, produce heirs, and oversee the

household. Marriage was often arranged. It is a contract between families. Wives could

be returned to her family if she failed to produce an heir. Family lineage is more

important than marriage. Ideally, three generations would live under a single roof.

During the Tokugawa Shogunate (1602-1868), women did not legally exist.

Women could not own property and were subordinate to men in every way (Friedman,


Gradually, Confucian family ideals shifted. The largest shift happened after

World War II. In 1946, the Japanese Constitution revised a set of laws that defined

Japanese family relations. The Civil Code of 1947 granted woman every possible legal


 Women could own property.

 Women could inherit a family estate.

 Women could marry and divorce freely.

 Women gained parental rights.

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 Women could vote.

Women were granted additional rights. The revised Civil Code sought to create

equality between the sexes. Despite legal equality, in practice women were not equal.

The Civil Code was a marked shift in thinking. Before, a woman was expected to be

dependent on her father, her husband, and finally on her eldest son. All were heads of

the household. Now, should could be the head of the household (Sato, 1987).

Women were still expected to protect the household. Men were expected to be the

breadwinners (Cooper, 2013; Sato, 1987; Saito, 2007).



1. Primary Education

More than 99 percent of elementary school-age children are enrolled in school.

All children enter first grade at age six, and starting school is considered a very important

event in a child's life.

Virtually all elementary education takes place in public schools; less than 1

percent of the schools are private. Private schools tended to be costly, although the rate of

cost increases in tuition for these schools had slowed in the 1980s. Some private

elementary schools are prestigious, and they serve as a first step to higher-level private

schools with which they are affiliated, and thence to a university. Competition to enter

some of these "ladder schools" is quite intense.

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Although public elementary education is free, some school expenses are borne by

parents, for example, school lunches and supplies. For many families, there are also non-

school educational expenses, for extra books, or private lessons, or juku. Such expenses

rose throughout the 1980s, reaching an average of ¥184,000 (US$1,314) in FY 1987 for

each child. Costs for private elementary schools are substantially higher.

Elementary school classes are large, about thirty-one students per class on

average, but higher numbers are permitted. Students are usually organized into small

work groups, which have both academic and disciplinary functions. Discipline also is

maintained, and a sense of responsibility encouraged, by the use of student monitors and

by having the students assume responsibility for the physical appearance of their

classroom and school.

The ministry's Course of Study for Elementary Schools is composed of a wide

variety of subjects, both academic and non-academic, including moral education and

"special activities." "Special activities" refer to scheduled weekly time given over to class

affairs and to preparing for the school activities and ceremonies that are used to

emphasize character development and the importance of group effort and cooperation.

The standard academic curriculum include Japanese language, social studies, arithmetic,

and science. Non-academic subjects taught include art and handicrafts, music,

homemaking, physical education, and moral education. Japanese language is the most

emphasized subject. The complexity of the written language and the diversity of its

spoken forms in educated speech require this early attention.

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Lower-Secondary School

Lower-secondary school covers grades seven, eight, and nine-- children between

the ages of roughly twelve and fifteen--with increased focus on academic studies.

Although it is still possible to leave the formal education system after completing lower

secondary school and find employment, fewer than 4 percent did so by the late 1980s.

Like elementary schools, most lower-secondary schools in the 1980s were public,

but 5 percent were private. Private schools were costly, averaging ¥558,592 (US$3,989)

per student in 1988, about four times more than the ¥130,828 (US$934) that the ministry

estimated as the cost for students enrolled in public lower secondary schools.

The teaching force in lower-secondary schools is two-thirds male. Schools are

headed by principals, 99 percent of whom were men in 1988. Teachers often majored in

the subjects they taught, and more than 80 percent graduated from a four-year college.

Classes are large, with thirty-eight students per class on average, and each class is

assigned a homeroom teacher who doubles as counselor. Unlike elementary students,

lower-secondary school students have different teachers for different subjects. The

teacher, however, rather than the students, moves to a new room for each fifty-minute


Instruction in lower-secondary schools tends to rely on the lecture method.

Teachers also use other media, such as television and radio, and there is some laboratory
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work. By 1989 about 45 percent of all public lower-secondary schools had computers,

including schools that used them only for administrative purposes. Classroom

organization is still based on small work groups, although no longer for reasons of

discipline. By lower-secondary school, students are expected to have mastered daily

routines and acceptable behavior.

All course contents are specified in the Course of Study for Lower-Secondary

Schools. Some subjects, such as Japanese language and mathematics, are coordinated

with the elementary curriculum. Others, such as foreign-language study, usually English,

begin at this level. The curriculum covers Japanese language, social studies, mathematics,

science, music, fine arts, health, and physical education. All students also are exposed to

either industrial arts or homemaking. Moral education and special activities continue to

receive attention.

Students also attend mandatory club meetings during school hours, and many also

participate in after-school clubs. Lower secondary students say they liked school,

although it is the chance to meet their friends daily--not the lessons--that is particularly

attractive to them.

The ministry recognizes a need to improve the teaching of all foreign languages,

especially English. To improve instruction in spoken English, the government invites

many young native speakers of English to Japan to serve as assistants to school boards

and prefectures under its Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. By 1988 participants

numbered over 1,000.

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Special Education

Japanese special education at the compulsory level is highly organized in the late

1980s, even though it had been nationally mandated and implemented only in 1979.

There is still controversy over whether children with special needs can or should be

"mainstreamed." In a society that stresses the group, many parents desire to have their

children attend regular schools. Mainstreaming in Japan, however, does not necessarily

mean attending regular classes; it often means attending a regular school that has special

classes for handicapped students. There are also special public schools for the

handicapped, which have departments equivalent to the various levels of elementary and

secondary schools, including kindergarten and upper-secondary departments in some

cases. There are few private institutions for special education. Some students attend

regular classes and also special classes for training for their particular needs. Some

teachers are also dispatched to children who cannot attend schools.

Upper-Secondary School

Even though upper-secondary school is not compulsory in Japan, 94 percent of all

lower-secondary school graduates entered upper secondary schools in 1989. Private

upper-secondary schools account for about 24 percent of all upper-secondary schools,

and neither public nor private schools are free. The Ministry of Education estimated that

annual family expenses for the education of a child in a public upper-secondary school

were about ¥300,000 (US$2,142) in both 1986 and 1987 and that private upper-secondary

schools were about twice as expensive.

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All upper-secondary schools, public and private, are informally ranked, based on

their success in placing graduates in freshman classes of the most prestigious universities.

In the 1980s, private upper-secondary schools occupied the highest levels of this

hierarchy, and there was substantial pressure to do well in the examinations that

determined the upper-secondary school a child entered. Admission also depends on the

scholastic record and performance evaluation from lower-secondary school, but the

examination results largely determine school entrance. Students are closely counseled in

lower-secondary school, so that they will be relatively assured of a place in the schools to

which they apply.


The Japanese higher education system can be distinguished as an example of

diversified mass higher education in a highly industrialized country. Higher education

system consists of various categories and types of institutions that are different in their

missions, functions, academic standards, prestige, status, and financing methods. After

World War II, especially from the 1960s to the 1980s, the increase in higher education

institutions was very striking. The number of students going on to universities or junior

colleges also increased. In 1955, the percentage going on to higher education was a mere

10.1% of the age cohort (15.0% of boys, 5.0% of girls). By 1960, the figure had reached

10.3%, having hardly changed at all and showing that entry to higher education was still

tinged with a select elitism. But by 1970, the figure had rapidly climbed to 23.6%. By

1980, the figure had risen still further, to reach 37.4%. In 2004 the figure eventually
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exceeded 50%. In the same way as in the United States, universal higher education was

seen as having become a reality. Japanese higher education is in the mature stage.

However, with the changing global environment such as an aging population and

increasing international competitions, Japanese society faces significant new trends that

will have a major impact on its higher education system and affect the mode of its

operation. Some radical reforms such as the incorporation of national universities,

initiating the certified evaluation system, expanding competitive resource allocation, and

the promotion of internationalization are proceeding.

The universities, led primarily by the national universities, sit at the apex of the

hierarchical structure of the postsecondary system. They offer a regular undergraduate

degree program, normally 4 years in length. There are 6-year programs in medicine,

dentistry, and veterinary science. Postgraduate options include 2-year master's degree

programs, and 5-year doctoral programs. More than half the universities have graduate

programs and two-thirds of these offer both masters and doctoral level work.




The Japanese political system is based on Japan’s constitution, which was drafted

after the end of World War II. Enacted on May 3, 1947, it firmly established a democracy

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in form of a constitutional monarchy, which, similar to the U.K., maintained its long-

standing imperial family as the honorary figurehead of the country.

From this point forward, governmental power has been distributed between three

branches; the National Diet, the Cabinet, and the judiciary sections of the government.

These entities serve as the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches respectively.

The Diet, Japan's national parliament, is the highest organ of state power and the

sole law-making organ of the state. The Diet comprises the 480-seat House of

Representatives (lower house) and the 242-seat House of Councillors (upper house). All

Japanese citizens can vote in elections once they reach the age of 20.

Japan has a parliamentary system of government like Britain and Canada. Unlike

the Americans or the French, the Japanese do not elect a president directly. Diet members

elect a prime minister from among themselves. The prime minister forms and leads the

cabinet of ministers of state. The cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, is

responsible to the Diet.

Judicial power lies with the Supreme Court and lower courts, such as high courts,

district courts, and summary courts. The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and 14

other justices, all of whom are appointed by the cabinet. Most cases are handled by

district courts. There are also summary courts, which deal with problems like traffic

violations. A lay judge system was introduced in May 2009. Under this system, six adult

citizens (20 or over) are chosen at random to act as lay judges in criminal cases tried in

district courts.

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There are 47 prefectural and numerous municipal governments in Japan. Their

responsibilities include providing education, welfare, and other services and building and

maintaining infrastructure, including utilities. Their administrative activities bring them

into close contact with local people. The heads of regional Governments and local

assembly members are chosen by local people through elections.



The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy in which the power of

the Emperor is limited and is relegated primarily to ceremonial duties. As in many

other states, the Government is divided into three branches: the Executive branch,

the Legislative branch and the judicial branch.

The Government runs under the framework established by the Constitution of

Japan adopted in 1947. It is a unitary state, containing forty-seven administrative

divisions, with the Emperor as its head of state. His role is ceremonial and he has no

powers related to Government. Instead, it is the Cabinet, composing of the Ministers of

State and the Prime Minister that directs and controls the Government. The Cabinet is the

source of power of the Executive branch, and is formed by the Prime Minister, who is

the head of government.[3][4] He or she is designated by the National

Diet and appointed to office by the Emperor.

The National Diet is the legislature, the organ of the Legislative branch. It

is bicameral, consisting of two houses with the House of Councilors being the upper

house, and the House of Representatives being the lower house. Its members are directly
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elected from the people, who are the source of sovereignty./ The Supreme Court and

other inferior courts make up the Judicial branch, and they are independent from the

executive and the legislative branches.




The federal level (from the Latin foedus, meaning league).

This level of government deals with areas of law listed in the Constitution Act,

1867 and that generally affect the whole country.

The provincial level (from the Latin provincia, meaning under Roman rule:

from pro, to be in favour of something, and vincere, to conquer) and the

territoriallevel (from the Latin terra, meaning land).

In each of the 10 provinces in Canada, the provincial government is responsible

for areas listed in the Constitution Act, 1867, such as education, health care, some natural

resources, and road regulations. Sometimes they share responsibility with the federal

government. The three territories have their own governments, with responsibilities that

are given to them by the federal government. The municipal level (from the

Latin municipalis, meaning of a citizen of a free town).

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This is the level of government that is usually based in a city, town or district

(a municipality). Municipal governments are responsible for areas such as libraries,

parks, community water systems, local police, roadways and parking. They receive

authority for these areas from the provincial governments.

Across the country there are also band councils, which govern First Nations

communities. These elected councils are similar to municipal councils and make

decisions that affect their local communities.


Most part of this page is an excerpt from Japan: A Pocket Guide, 1996 Edition,

pp.12-18 (Foreign Press Center). Additional notes were written around 1998 by MK.

Japanese political situation has been dynamically changed since then.

The first political party to emerge in Japan was the Aikoku Koto (Public Party of

Patriots), formed in 1874 under the leadership of TaisukeItagaki. The party presented a

written petition advocating the establishment of a parliamentary system through public


In 1898 a cabinet was formed by the leader of a party for the first time,

inaugurating the system of party cabinets. But genro, or elder statesmen, although lacking

any constitutional authority, exerted a decisive influence in determining transfers of

power, and it was not until after World War II that true party cabinets began to be

formed. Currently Japanese political alignments are undergoing a vigorous transition that

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has resulted in the emergence of a number of new parties. The following traces the

development of the main parties.

 The Liberal Democratic Party

 The Social Democratic Party

 New Party Sakigake

 The New Frontier Party

 The Japanese Communist Party

 Other Parties

 The Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto)

 '96 General Election

 The Taiyo Party

 LDP challenges majority in Lower House

 Shinshinto disbanded

 Small parties merge with DPJ

 '98 Upper House Election (


Japan is divided into forty-seven administrative divisions: one metropolitan

district (to--Tokyo), two urban prefectures (fu--Kyoto and Osaka), forty-three rural

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prefectures (ken), and one district (d --Hokkaido). Large cities are subdivided into wards

(ku), and further split into towns, or precincts (machi or cho), or subdistricts (shicho) and

counties (gun).

Each of the forty-seven local jurisdictions has a governor and a unicameral

assembly, both elected by popular vote every four years. All are required by national law

to maintain departments of general affairs, finance, welfare, health, and labor.

Departments of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, commerce, and industry are optional,

depending on local needs. The governor is responsible for all activities supported through

local taxation or the national government.

Cities (shi) are self-governing units administered independently of the larger

jurisdictions within which they are located. In order to attain shi status, a jurisdiction

must have at least 30,000 inhabitants, 60 percent of whom are engaged in urban

occupations. City government is headed by a mayor elected for four years by popular

vote. There are also popularly elected city assemblies. The wards (ku) of larger cities also

elect their own assemblies, which select ward superintendents.

The terms machi and cho designate self-governing towns outside the cities as well

as precincts of urban wards. Like the cities, each has its own elected mayor and assembly.

Villages (son or mura) are the smallest self-governing entities in rural areas. They often

consist of a number of rural hamlets (buraku) containing several thousand people

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connected to one another through the formally imposed framework of village

administration. Villages have mayors and councils elected to four-year terms.

Japan has a unitary rather than a federal system of government, in which local

jurisdictions largely depend on national government both administratively and

financially. Although much less powerful than its pre-war counterpart (the Home

Ministry), the post-war Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as other national ministries, has

the authority to intervene significantly in regional and local government. The result of

this power is a high level of organizational and policy standardization among the

different local governments. Because local tax revenues are insufficient to support

prefectural and city governments, these bodies depend on the central government for

subsidies. The term "30 percent autonomy" is frequently used to describe local

government because that amount of revenues is derived from local taxation. Yet local

governments are not entirely passive. People have a strong sense of local community, are

highly suspicious of the central government, and wish to preserve the uniqueness of their

prefecture, city, or town. Some of the more progressive jurisdictions, such as Tokyo and

Kyoto, have experimented with policies in such areas as social welfare that later were

adopted by the national government. (


Corporations engaged in economic activities in Japan are subject to taxes in Japan

on the profits generated by those economic activities. Steps have been taken, however, to

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ensure that the tax system does not impose unfair burdens on multinational corporations

engaged in economic activities in Japan on the basis of the mode of their business

presence in Japan. Income of corporations established in Japan is, as a rule and with the

exception of certain non-taxable and tax-exempt income, subject to taxation, regardless

of where it was generated (i.e., the source country of income), but when that income

includes profits earned in foreign countries that are taxed in the source countries of that

income, foreign tax credits are available whereby taxes paid in a foreign country may be

credited within certain bounds against Japanese taxes owed for the purpose of eliminating

double taxation between the source country of income and Japan.

Regarding Japanese branches of foreign corporations, measures such as only certain

income is subject to taxation in Japan, have been implemented to avoid international

double taxation in Japan. The scope of taxable income of Japanese branches of foreign

corporations has changed significantly from the business year commencing on or after

April 1, 2016. Under the new regulation applicable from the business year commencing

on or after April 1, 2016, Japanese branches, head office, etc. shall be respectively

deemed to be an independent corporation and subject to taxation. Due to this, the income

of a Japanese branch subject to taxation will be the income attributable to the Japanese

branch (permanent establishment) which is the income earned by the Japanese branch on

the basis that if the branch is deemed to be a company which is separated/independent

from the head office, etc. as well as other prescribed income. When calculating the

income attributable to the Japanese branch (permanent establishment), the profits/losses

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from the internal transactions between the branch and head office, etc. are to be

recognized based on the presumption that transactions are conducted with the arm's

length prices. With the change in the scope of taxable income of Japanese branches

(permanent establishment), new foreign tax credits have also become available to foreign

corporations. When the income that the Japanese branch (permanent establishment) has

earned in a third country which is attributable to the Japanese branch (permanent

establishment) is taxable in the third country, foreign tax credits are available whereby

taxes paid in the third country may be credited within certain bounds against Japanese

taxes owed to avoid international double taxation.



The Legislature

Article 41 of the constitution describes the National Diet, or national legislature, as

"the highest organ of state power" and "the sole law-making organ of the State". This

statement is in forceful contrast to the Meiji Constitution, which described the emperor as

the one who exercised legislative power with the consent of the Diet. The Diet's

responsibilities include not only the making of laws but also the approval of the annual

national budget that the government submits and the ratification of treaties. It can also

initiate draft constitutional amendments, which, if approved, must be presented to the

people in a referendum. The Diet may conduct "investigations in relation to government"

(Article 62). The prime minister must be designated by Diet resolution, establishing the
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principle of legislative supremacy over executive government agencies (Article 67). The

government can also be dissolved by the Diet if it passes a motion of no confidence

introduced by fifty members of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber.

Government officials, including the prime minister and cabinet members, are required to

appear before Diet investigative committees and answer inquiries. The Diet also has the

power to impeach judges convicted of criminal or irregular conduct.

Japan's legislature is bicameral. Both the upper house, the House of Councilors, and

the lower house, the House of Representatives, are elective bodies. The constitution's

Article 14 declares that "peers and peerages shall not be recognized." Upon the enactment

of the 1947 constitution, the old House of Peers was abolished. Members of the two new

houses are elected by universal adult suffrage, and secrecy of the ballot is guaranteed

(Article 15). The term of the House of Representatives is four years. It may be dissolved

earlier, however, if the prime minister or members of the House of Representatives

decide to hold a general election before the expiration of that term (Article 7). Multiple

representatives are elected from 130 constituencies based theoretically on population. In

1993 the House of Representatives had 511 members.

Members of the House of Councilors have six-year terms. One half of these terms

expire every three years. There are two types of constituencies in the upper house:

prefectural constituencies, for the forty-seven prefectures and districts, represented by

thirteen councilors, apportioned according to the district populations; and a national

"proportional representation" constituency, represented by 127 councilors, which yields a

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total of 140 in 1992. The proportional representation system, introduced in 1982, was the

first major electoral reform under the postwar constitution. Instead of choosing national

constituency candidates as individuals, as had previously been the case, voters cast

ballots for parties. Individual councilors, listed officially by the parties before the

election, are selected on the basis of the parties' proportions of the total national

constituency vote. The system was introduced to reduce the excessive money spent by

candidates for the national constituencies. Critics charged, however, that this new system

benefited the two largest parties, the LDP and the Japan Socialist Party (Nihon Shakaito;

after 1991 known as the Social Democratic Party of Japan), which in fact had sponsored

the reform.

The House of Representatives has the greater power of the two contemporary

houses, in contrast to the prewar system in which the two houses had equal status.

According to Article 59, a bill that is approved by the House of Representatives but

turned down by the House of Councilors returns to the House of Representatives. If the

latter passes the bill with a two-thirds or higher majority on this second ballot, the bill

becomes law. However, three important exceptions to the principle exist; covering the

approval of the budget, adoption of treaties with foreign countries, and the selection of

the prime minister. In all three cases, if the upper and lower houses have a disagreement

that is not resolved by a joint committee of the two houses, then after a lapse of thirty

days "the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet"

(Articles 60, 61, and 67). Budgeting is an important annual political function, setting both

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taxes and the allowable expenditures of all segments of the central government, and the

impotence of the upper house has been demonstrated on a number of occasions.

Nevertheless, the House of Councilors, with its fixed terms, cannot be dissolved by the

prime minister. In times of emergency, the cabinet may convene the House of Councilors

rather than the House of Representatives (Article 54).

In the July 23, 1989, election for half the members of the House of Councilors, the

LDP lost its majority. It won only thirty-six of the seats contested in the prefectural and

national constituencies, while the opposition parties together won ninety, the largest

opposition party, the Japan Socialist Party, won forty-six. This result gave an admittedly

unstable coalition of opposition groups the opportunity to use the limited powers of the

upper house to delay or frustrate initiatives taken in the LDP-dominated lower house. On

August 9, 1989, for the first time in forty-one years, the two houses nominated two

different candidates for Prime Minister--KaifuToshiki of the LDP and Doi Takako of the

Japan Socialist Party. Although Kaifu was finally chosen because of the principle of

lower house supremacy, the events showed how opposition control of the upper house

could complicate the political process. In March 1990, the upper house rejected a

supplementary budget bill for fiscal year (FY) 1989 that had been proposed by the lower

house. Although the bill was eventually approved despite rejection by the upper house,

the wrangling caused some minor inconvenience to the country's more than 1 million

national civil servants whose monthly salary payments were delayed. The more serious

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upheaval, which might have occurred had there been a real deadlock or a potential shift in

fiscal policies brought about by the opposition parties, was avoided.

The LDP won 223 seats in the July 1993 House of Representatives election, thirty-

three seats short of the simple majority required to control the 511-member lower house.

With postelection adjustments and realignments, the Japan New Party head, Hosokawa

Morihiro, was able to gain the support of the Shinseito, the Sakigake, the Komeito, the

Social Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Socialist Party, and United Social

Democratic Party to form a minority government. This coalition of small conservative

parties that had broken off from the LDP and socialist-based opposition parties differed

on many issues but shared the common objective of passing political reform legislation.

In early 1994, it remained to be seen how long and how effectively Prime Minister

Hosokawa would be able to hold the coalition together.



Japanese law, the law as it has developed in Japan as a consequence of a meld of two

cultural and legal traditions, one indigenous Japanese, the other Western. Before Japan’s

isolation from the West was ended in the mid-19th century, Japanese law developed

independently of Western influences. Conciliation was emphasized in response to social

pressures exerted through an expanded family unit and a close-knit community. Few

rules prescribed how disputes should be resolved. The closest counterpart to the Western

lawyer was the kujishi, an innkeeper who developed a counseling function. Remarkably
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little law in the modern sense existed; a static society, which officially discouraged

commercial activity, apparently neither desired nor needed a developed legal order.

Fundamental changes inevitably followed Japan’s sudden involvement with the Western

world after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Japan sought to construct an economic,

political, and legal structure capable of commanding respect internationally, ending

extraterritoriality, and preserving national independence. The introduction of Western

law was one element in a wholesale importation of things Western. In legal matters the

Japanese took for models the systems of continental Europe, especially the German. The

drafters of the Japanese Civil Code of 1896 surveyed many legal systems, including the

French, Swiss, and common laws, taking something from each. Their final product is,

however, best characterized as following the first draft of the German Civil Code. In its

subsequent development the Japanese legal system remained true to these sources. The

1947 revisions of the code provisions dealing with relatives and succession, which had

reflected traditional Japanese attitudes, completed the transition of Japanese civil law to

the continental European family of laws.

On some points, however, Japanese law is closer to that of the United States than

to European models, largely as a result of the post-World War II occupation and of later

contacts with U.S. legal thinking and education. The examination of witnesses in civil

cases is now (at least theoretically) modelled on U.S. procedure. The absence of a

special hierarchy of administrative courts is consistent with U.S. ideas. Many aspects of

labour and corporation law are U.S.-inspired.

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 Greek law

 Adat

 Egyptian law

 Roman law

 Chinese law

 Scottish law

 Common Law

 Roman-Dutch law

 Civil Law

 Soviet law

Nevertheless, in its rules and institutions, the Japanese legal system is closer to

the civil law of Europe than to the common law. In many ways, moreover, the Japanese

legal order differs markedly from all Western legal orders. Most importantly, law in

Japan plays a far less pervasive role in resolving disputes and creating and adjusting rules

regulating conduct. The paucity of Japanese decisions involving automobile accidents,

manufacturer’s liability for defective products, and nuisance may be surprising to

Westerners, who also may note the small size of the Japanese bar and the persistence of

extra-legal methods of resolving disputes. Local police stations provide conciliation

rooms. Elders act as go-betweens. For many purposes a family transcending the nuclear

family still exists. The notion that a business is analogous to a family unit persists and

typically influences labour relations, especially in small- and middle-sized firms. In the
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relatively homogeneous Japanese society, social status carries heavy obligations, and

community pressure is extremely powerful.

Now that Japan has become a dominant world economic power and has increased

its global geopolitical presence, law may come to play a role there more akin to its role in

the West. In addition, the sociological supports essential to the continued vitality of the

Japanese conception of law are being undercut by the shift from a rural, agricultural

economy to an urban, mechanized society. (



Intellectual property rights in Japan primarily consist of patents, utility model

rights, design rights, trademark rights, copyrights, protection of trade secrets and

protection from unfair competition.

The Patent Law of Japan (the "Patent Law") offers protection for "inventions",

which are defined in the Patent Law as highly creative technological ideas utilizing laws

of nature. The scope of protection under the Patent Law extends to such fields as

mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electronics, biotechnology, computer

programs and business methods.

The Utility Model Law of Japan (the "Utility Model Law") offers protection for

"devices" which relate to the shape or construction of articles or a combination of articles.

A "device" is defined as a creation of a technical idea utilizing a law of nature. Unlike

patents, the creation need not be highly advanced for utility models. Accordingly, if an

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invention does not qualify for patent because of its level of creativity, it could still qualify

for utility model.

Under the Design Law of Japan (the " Design Law"), which was revised

extensively in 1999, a "design" is defined as the shape, pattern, or coloring, or the

combination of these, in any article that produces an aesthetic impression on a viewer of

the article. While such article includes a part of a product (e.g. a handle of a cup), it must

be tangible and be capable of mass-production. A design must be specified b y drawings

attached to the application.

Under the Trademark Law of Japan (the "Trademark Law"), trademark rights do

not come into existence by use of a trademark, rather they are granted by JPO to

applicants for trademark registration upon completion of the trademark registration.

The Copyright Law of Japan (the "Copyright Law") extends its protection to

“work”, which is defined as a creative expression of thoughts or sentiment that falls

within the literary, scientific, artistic or musical domains. The Copyright Law protects

only expression of a work but any idea underlying in the

work. The Copyright Law specifically confirms that computer program and database are

included in such “work”.

In Japan, trade secrets are protected under both of the Unfair Competition

Prevention Law and the Civil Code of Japan. The Unfair Competition Prevention Law

defines trade secrets as technical or business information useful in commercial activities,

such as manufacturing or marketing methods, which are kept secret and not publicly

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known, and designates trade secrets misappropriation as “unfair competition”

comprehensively under six (6) categories.

The Unfair Competition Prevention Law provides for fifteen (15) types of “unfair

competition”, which extend to (i) passing off, (ii) trade secret misappropriation (as

discussed in the above), (iii) circumvention of effective technological measures (as

required under the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms

Treaty), (iv) unjustifiable acquisition and use of domain name similar to other’s trade

name, trademark or other indication, (v) false advertisement (vi) commercial

disparagement, and (vii) unauthorized use of principal’s trademark by an agent or ex-

agent in Japan. (


From birth, Japanese are recognized as autonomous human beings. However,

from the beginning infants are influenced by society's emphasis on social

interdependence. In fact, Japanese human development may be seen as a movement

toward mastery of an ever expanding circle of social life, beginning with the family,

widening to include school and neighborhood as children grow, and incorporating roles

as colleague, inferior, and superior. Viewed in this perspective, socialization does not

culminate with adolescence, for the individual must learn to be, for example, a section

chief, a parent-teacher association member, or a grandparent at various points in life.


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In Japan, most do no begin to date until sometime after high school, primarily due

to the high demand on the students to get into a good college. Parents typically will

discourage any form of dating, and students will simply be entirely too occupied with

school and studying to give it any legitimate consideration. As such, the prominence of

dating rises significantly during college and beyond.

There is an enormous expanse and variance when it comes to how people meet

and start their relationships. When it comes to beginning a relationship in Japan, the level

of shyness seems to be significantly magnified, possibly due to the lack of developing

communication or flirtation skills with the opposite sex during adolescence. Even with

the potential that waits within school or work, starting a relationship can be a daunting

and scary process for many in Japan, and so they try to find ways to help eliminate this

potential awkwardness and difficulty. This is indefinitely reflected through the numerous

dating services and practices readily available and encouraged in the culture.

One of these practices is called gōkon, or what we might refer to as "group

dating", and it is extremely popular in Japan. Essentially, if a single male and female

know one another, they will typically arrange to bring an additional 3 or 4 other eligible

friends and all meet up together, typically at some form of restaurant or izayaka, which

are basically popular bars that also serve large meals. After some initial communicating

and socially encouraging games amongst the each other, the same sexes get together and

discuss who is interested in whom, and hopefully phone numbers and/or e-mails are

exchanged. (Note: E-mailing is still somewhat popular in Japan even with the enormous
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popularity of cell phones). This type of dating is quite prevalent; most are very wary of a

one-on-one situation when first meeting individuals, as most people come to know others

through third party introductions in Japan.

Some forms of meeting people to date take on a more time-tested cultural

approach (though not as popular as it has been in the past) called Omiai, where the

parents of a son or daughter will undergo a search process to find an appropriate mate if

they seem to show little interest in seeking a partner of their own, helping to ensure they

marry before acceptable window of marriageable age closes (22-30). The parents may or

may not mention to the child they are doing such, and will typically employ a third party

called a nakōdo, who will often have a wide range of contacts, and will act as a go-

between for two parties seeking to have their children meet others. Then, "portfolios" of

the potential mates are analyzed as provided by the nakōdo, which typically include

photographs and a rirekisho, or what we would consider as a resume, that includes other

basic information concerning the individual, such as age, occupation, etc. Once the best

candidates are selected, which is often based primarily on occupation and education level,

there is then a further level of investigation done by either the nakōdo them self, or by

a Kooshinjo, or detective agency, they hire. If all criteria are acceptable to both parties,

and the potential couple do not reject based on the photos, then the nakōdo will arrange

an interview for a miai, or essentially, the first casual meeting between the potential

couple, the parents, and the nakōdo. During the miai, there is generally an introduction by

the nakōdo, a lot of small talk between the parents, and then the couple is sent off to get

to know one another better. In Japan, being courteous is priority number one, whether or
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not you enjoyed yourself at a first date/meeting or not. Generally, one party will E-Mail

the other, telling the other that they enjoyed themselves and wish to continue further by

going out again, or just thank them for the nice time, which may or may not imply that

they would not be interested in another meeting. Typically, if a meeting is desired, either

party will send another message within a week or so, otherwise, it is assumed that they

wish to go their separate ways. This is the accepted way to do it; in fact, it is primarily the

exception for someone to flat out deny or reject someone unless it's absolutely necessary

to do so, as they would rather just...disappear, and try to avoid conflicts and

confrontations whenever possible. Even after dating for years, there have been cases

where the significant other just flat out disappears and drops all communication, as they

find it easier this way. The potential to date depends on a common dating custom

called kokohaku, or "confession", which you may find similar to our dating culture.

Basically, the man or woman must first profess their love for the other person, and then,

depending on if the other person equally confesses their love, they can then begin to date

one another. In the case of Omiai, there is very little focus on actual dating. If the miai

was successful, then the couple will go on a series of dates, after which a decision is

made as to whether or not they decide to marry, which is typically decided by the third or

so date. If they choose to marry, they undergo a formal marriage process called miai

kekkon arranged by the groom’s family. If they choose not to marry, then they typically

each go their separate ways. In Japan, showing affection for your loved one in public is

considered rude or shameful. This includes kissing, holding hands, hugging, or basically

any physical contact, so often times, you would never know that people were actually
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couples. Kissing is even extremely rare in Japanese films. Some even consider kissing in

public places to be a sign of weakness. An interesting side note on affection: The

Japanese will often say "I Love You" to foreigners in English, and can vary between

platonic or non-platonic meaning, naturally depending on the situation. However, "I love

you" is more equivalent to our "I like you", as they have their own serious words for love

as we commonly think of it. The average age for a typical Japanese citizen to get married

is 30.5 for men and 28.5 for women. Legally, men can marry at 18 and women at 16. The

age of 25 is generally considered a reasonable, acceptable age for a woman to get

married. The average amount of people who get married per year is 6 per 1000, and the

average divorce rate is 2 per 1000. Marriage rates have generally been on the decline for

a variety of factors since the 70's, where 10 per 1000 got married. As a side note, roughly

5-6% of all Japanese marry a foreigner. In Japan, you generally pick between a more

westernized style of marriage, and the classical Shinto style; Shinto mostly occurs for

those who marry through Omiai, as many Japanese now prefer a more westernized style.

Naturally, there is also a hybrid of the two as well.

Despite what is commonly assumed to be the norm, arranged marriages only

make up 10-30% (some say less than 10%, some say 20%, some say at most 30%) of all

Japanese marriages today. Marriage was originally looked at as a "had to", and was

primarily done for having children/settling down with someone reliable. Today however,

many more marriages are done out of love for one another, although there is still a lot of

extra-marital affairs in Japan, which actually go mostly ignored in a lengthy marriage,

especially one done out of arrangement and not love. The booming sex and prostitution
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industry may also be a problem, as supposedly, many marriages end up very stale sex-

wise, with some people never having sex after having their children. This idea has come

to be known as "sexless", and is widely recognized as to its meaning and relation to

Japanese marriages. One survey found that 1/6 found that sex was simply a chore, and

1/3 was completely sexless.




The Japanese emphasis on group extends far beyond the family. It runs through

every facet of their lives. Every Japanese person's life is centred in a group, and

exclusion from such a structure, whether it be school, work, or play, is the equivalent of

non-existence. To meld, to be one with others is not only socially important, it is

essential for survival. A common Japanese proverb says: "The head of the nail that sticks

up is pounded down." In others words, if you are different or out, you will be forced to


The concept most fundamental to understanding this emphasis on group is Japan

is amae (ah-mah-ee). This concept governs individual beliefs and behaviour as well as

social structure. It literally means -- "to look to others for affection" -- and implies a deep

social interdependence. Japanese children are taught early to express loyalty to each

other and to be both dependent and responsible to the groups to which they belong. In

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fact, the Japanese word for individualism (kojin-shugi) has negative connotations of

selfishness rather than self-reliance.

The best model of amae is the relationship between baby and parent. The

Japanese word for that relationship, ninjo, means "spontaneously arising feelings. Amae

relationships in Japanese social groups are called giri, which refers to the

interdependence similar to an unwritten social contract, that sense of duty and obligation

to those who are a member of the same group (classmate, club, co-worker). Japanese

don't think about amae, they just do it as part of growing up and establishing bonds

beyond family in school, study groups, clubs, and corporations.

The Japanese depends on the group throughout their lives for approval and

gratification. They are who they are because of whom they are dependent upon. The

threat of ostracism or abandonments is one of the most devastating to the Japanese.

Because of the cultural emphasis on the authority of the group, Japanese place the desire

and needs of the group before their own individual desires and needs.

The Japanese term for people outside the group is tanin (tah-nin) or "other

people." Tanin includes everyone with who one does not have

a ninjo or giri relationship. Naturally, one's parents can never be tanin since that is an

unbreakable bond -- similarly one's school, study, or company group is basically

unbreakable. But as long as someone is tanin, a Japanese person has no real relationship

with them.

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The degree of group loyalty is strongest towards the inner circle (family). The

middle circle contains friends, classmates, co-workers. Outside that is everyone else,

who are generally ignored. The Japanese tends to ignore the world of strangers until they

are perceived as a threat or interest. Then they act superior (an old battle strategy). If

that doesn't work (and strangers can no longer be ignored), they will attempt to identify

with them and adopt their ways. Amae teaches the Japanese to be comfortable with

identifying and assimilating. This helps explain why Japanese have been so open

(particularly since World War II) to incorporate many aspects of US culture.

A concept closely related to amae is wa (wah) or "harmony," another essential

Japanese trait/ value. Wa works horizontally among group members while amae works

vertically between groups in a hierarchy (i.e. between a person and those who have

authority over that person. Japanese take care to avoid confrontation and conflict. A

Japanese child will rarely confront or provoke a classmate because he or she has been

taught that such behaviour is childish and shameful.

Starting with preschool, children begin to identify with a group outside the home.

Each youngster carries a book bag made by his or her mother based on exact instructions

from the school on how it is to be constructed. In first grade, children spend many days

repeatedly placing pencils at top of desk, notebooks on right, switching outside for inside

shoes, standing up, sitting down, bowing, taking notes, and learning how to answer

questions. Nothing is left to chance and "academic" lessons don't start until the rules

which teach group conformity, are firmly learned.

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To be sure children are not misbehaving. If a high school student gets in trouble

(traffic ticket), the whole school feels responsible.

Japanese junior and senior high school students are also loyal to their home

rooms. Teachers come for each subject (except science and art where students go to the

lab or studio). Even lunch is brought to the home room.



Feudal Japanese Social Classes Feudal Japan was made up of social classes. At

the top were the nobility, consisting of the Shogun, The Emperor, and the Daimyo. Also

there were the ninjas and Samurai. The Shogun was the leader of society, with an

Emperor as the figure head. After the Emperor were the Daimyo. The Daimyo were the

rich land owners. The Daimyo also had personal armies of Samurai and Ninjas. The

Ninjas and Samurai played an important part in society, because they essentially chose

who the next leader of Japan would be. No! They weren't a governing body! They just

fought in wars by their Daimyo's side. After the Shogun fell, the Daimyo fought over

land and the throne. Whoever proved to be the strongest, and of course was the person

that defeated all of the opposing Daimyo, won the throne. After the Daimyo were the

peasants. This class consisted of occupations such as farmers and artisans. The farmers

played an important part in Feudal Japan, especially for the Shogun and Emperor. They

got most of their food from the Japanese farmers. And finally after the peasants, there

were the merchants. The merchants were considered nothing more than greedy pigs. They
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played the role of what is known in our society as the middle man. For example,

sometimes in Feudal Japan the merchants would buy or sometimes even steal goods from

peasants and re-sell them out in a local market for a profit. Feudal Japan, along with its

social classes was abolished after World War II. (


The Tokugawa government intentionally created a social order called the four

divisions of society (Shinokosho) that would stabilize the country. This system was based

on the ideas of Confucianism that spread to Japan from China. By this system, society

was composed of samurai, farming peasants, artisans and merchants. Samurai were

placed at the top of society because they started an order and set a high moral example

for others to follow. The system was meant to reinforce their position of power in society

by justifying their ruling status. Peasants came second because they produced the most

important commodity, food. According to Confucian philosophy, society could not

survive without agriculture. Third were artisans because they produced nonessential


Merchants were at the bottom of the social order because they generated wealth

without producing any goods. As this indicates, the classes were not arranged by wealth

or capital but by what philosophers described as their moral purity.

In actuality, shinokosho does not accurately describe Tokugawa society. Buddhist

and Shinto priests; or court nobles (kuge); and outcast classes

including eta and hinin (those sold or sentenced into indentured servitude) were not

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included in this description of hierarchy. In some cases, a poor samurai could be little

better off than a peasant and the lines between the classes could blur, especially between

artisans and merchants in urban areas. Still, the theory provided grounds for restricting

privileges and responsibilities to different classes and it gave a sense of order to society.

In practice, solidified social relationships in general helped create the political stability

that defined the Edo period.


Feudal Japanese society was dominated by the samurai warrior class. Although

they made up only about 10% of the population, samurai and their daimyo lords wielded

enormous power.

When a samurai passed, members of the lower classes were required to bow and

show respect. If a farmer or artisan refused to bow, the samurai was legally entitled to

chop off the recalcitrant person's head.

Samurai answered only to the daimyo for which they worked. The daimyo, in

turn, answered only to the shogun.

There were about 260 daimyo by the end of the feudal era.


Just below the samurai on the social ladder were the farmers or peasants.

According to Confucian ideals, farmers were superior to artisans and merchants

because they produced the food that all the other classes depended upon. Although

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technically they were considered an honored class, the farmers lived under a crushing tax

burden for much of the feudal era.

During the reign of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, farmers were not

allowed to eat any of the rice they grew. They had to hand it all over to their daimyo and

then wait for him to give some back as charity.

Merchants and artisans

Although artisans produced many beautiful and necessary goods, such as clothes,

cooking utensils, and woodblock prints, they were considered less important than the

farmers. Even skilled samurai sword makers and boat wrights belonged to this third tier

of society in feudal Japan.

The artisan class lived in its own section of the major cities, segregated from the

samurai (who usually lived in the daimyos' castles), and from the lower merchant class.

The bottom rung of feudal Japanese society was occupied by merchants, both traveling

traders and shop-keepers.

Merchants were ostracized as "parasites" who profited from the labor of the more

productive peasant and artisan classes. Not only did merchants live in a separate section

of each city, but the higher classes were forbidden to mix with them except on business.

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Nonetheless, many merchant families were able to amass large fortunes. As their

economic power grew, so did their political influence, and the restrictions against them

weakened. (


The Japanese people are a cohesive ethnic group originating from the Japanese

chain of islands. There are roughly 130 million people of Japanese descent. Of those

130 million, about 127 million are residents of Japan. Japan is one of the most

homogeneous countries in the world in terms of ethnic or national composition.

American ethnic groups in Japan

The Americans have existed in Japan since the 2nd half of the 19th century.

Today, there is about 200,000 Americans in Japan. It ranks 5th in the minority ethnic

groups classification on the basis of the size of the population.

Koreans in Japan

The Koreans have settled in Japan from the early years of the 20th century.

However, they were granted citizenship after the end of the 1st decade of the century.

The immigration of Koreans to Japan was mainly to escape the tremendous pressures,

due to race discrimination, which was making life difficult for some particular race in

Korea. The 2nd wave of immigration was during the World War II. The total number of

Koreans in Japan had surpassed 3 million in these times.

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Chinese in Japan

Chinese ethnic groups are said to have existed in Japan since the 3rd century.

There were continuous immigration of the Chinese to Japan in the following centuries.

In the later years of the 20th century, the Chinese visited and settled in Japan for taking

higher education.

Today, there are more than half a million people with Chinese ethnicity staying

in Japan. Some of the areas where the Chinese population is settled, in Japan include:

Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Nagasaki and Yokohama.

Filipinos in Japan

It is observed that the Filipino immigration was prominent in the last three

decades. These were mainly in the form of workers for the huge manufacturing

corporations based in Japan, as there were several opportunities in Japan than the

Philippines. This practice has been consistent over the recent years, which has resulted

into over 500,000 Filipinos in Japan during the latest years.





Understanding of Foreign Ways

Japanese understand that it is very difficult for foreigners to work in Japan.They

will not expect you to speak or read Japanese, or be conversant with their strict cultural
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nuances and protocol. Mistakes are allowed as long as genuine respect is shown at all

times. They will usually try to help you but often feel embarrassment at their own lack of

understanding or English language ability.

Relationships & Communication

The Japanese prefer to do business on the basis of personal relationships. In

general, being introduced or recommended by someone who already has a good

relationship with the company is extremely helpful as it allows the Japanese to know how

to place you in a hierarchy relative to themselves. One way to build and maintain

relationships is with greetings /seasonal cards. It is important to be a good correspondent

as the Japanese hold this in high esteem.

Business Meeting Etiquette

Appointments are required and, whenever possible, should be made several weeks

in advance. It is best to telephone for an appointment rather than send a letter, fax or

email. Punctuality is important. Arrive on time for meetings and expect your Japanese

colleagues will do the same. Since this is a group society, even if you think you will be

meeting one person, be prepared for a group meeting. The most senior Japanese person

will be seated furthest from the door, with the rest of the people in descending rank until

the most junior person is seated closest to the door. It may take several meetings for your

Japanese counterparts to become comfortable with and be able to conduct business with

you. This initial getting to know you time is crucial to laying the foundation for a

successful relationship. You may be awarded a small amount of business as a trial to see
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if you meet your commitments. If you respond quickly and with excellent service, you

prove your ability and trustworthiness. Never refuse a request, no matter how difficult or

non-profitable it may appear. The Japanese are looking for a long-term relationship.

Always provide a package of literature about your company including articles and client

testimonials. Always give a small gift, as a token of your esteem, and present it to the

most senior person at the end of the meeting. Your Japanese contact can advise you on

where to find something appropriate.

Business Negotiation

The Japanese are non-confrontational. They have difficult time saying ‘no’ so you

must be vigilant at observing their non-verbal communication. It is best to phrase

questions so that they can answer yes. Group decision-making and consensus are

important. Written contracts are required. The Japanese often remain silent for long

periods of time. Be patient and try to work out if your Japanese colleagues have

understood what was said. Japanese prefer broad agreements and mutual understanding

so that when problems arise they can be handled flexibly. Using a Japanese lawyer is

seen as a gesture of goodwill. Note that Japanese lawyers are quite different from

Western lawyers as they are much more functionary. Never lose your temper or raise

your voice during negotiations. Some Japanese close their eyes when they want to listen

intently. The Japanese seldom grant concession. They expect both parties to come to the

table with their best offer. The Japanese do not see contracts as final agreements so they

can be renegotiated.

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Dress Etiquette

Business attire is conservative. Men should wear dark-colored, conservative

business suits. Women should dress conservatively.

Business Cards

Business cards are exchanged constantly and with great ceremony. Invest in

quality cards. Always keep your business cards pristine condition, treat the business card

you receive as you would the person. You may be given a business card that is only in

Japanese. It is wise to have one side of your business card translated into Japanese. Give

your business card with the Japanese side facing the recipient. Make sure your business

card includes your title, so your Japanese colleagues know your status within your

organization. Business cards are given and received with two hands and a slight bow.

Examine any business card you receive very carefully. During a meeting, place the

business cards on the table in front of you in the order people are seated. When the

meeting is over, put the business cards in a business card case or a portfolio. (commisceo-


In Japan, ethics is bound up with a religious dimension (two normative

environments) and a social dimension (a framework of concentric circles). The normative

environments, influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism, and other traditional and modern

Japanese religions, emphasize that not only individuals but also groups have their own

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spirit (numen). The framework of concentric circles lets moral agents apply different

ethical rules to the circles. The dynamics of these religious and social dimensions lead to

a different view of both individuals and corporations from that dominant in the West.

There are mainly two influential normative environments in Japan: the transcendental

normative environment and the group normative environment. Although there are many

individuals, groups, and organizations that, taken together, constitute the overall social

environment, the Japanese are likely to categorize them into four concentric circles:

family, fellows, Japan, and the world. To provide opportunities for others to enter the

Japanese market, as an ethical responsibility, Japanese corporations should have access

channels through which newcomers can approach equally. (wiley encyclopedia of



The decision-making process of Japanese firms has its roots in Japan’s feudal period,

when a large proportion of the Japanese population lived in rice farming villages. Due to

its economies of scale, rice farming is not something that it makes sense to do on one’s

own. It’s much easier to band together, so whole communities would pool their labor and

work all their fields together as a group. Decisions were made collectively as well, with

the elders of the village playing an important role.

In contrast, the decision-making processes common in American business (and

society in general) were formed on the frontier. It’s no coincidence that Time magazine

would invoke cowboy imagery to describe President Bush as being a “lone ranger.” In

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the frontier’s wide open spaces, people were physically separated from others and had to

make decisions on their own. It was also often the case that they had to respond quickly

to unexpected or unfamiliar developments, either from nature or human

adversaries. Even today, the image of the cowboy who uses his gun to defend himself is

invoked when describing someone who is decisive – “quick on the draw.” The frontier

life also involved a lot of experimentation and improvisation, and tinkering with things

until they worked.

Japanese companies have mixed feelings about their decision-making processes. Talk

to any Japanese company employee, and he or she will admit that it takes a long time to

make decisions in their company. They will admit that the process is quite frustrating at

times. However, one seldom sees any Japanese person who tries to change how decisions

are made in their firms, or who tries to speed up a decision-making process. In a sense, it

seems that Japanese businesspeople seem to regard how their companies make decisions

as a fact of life that cannot be changed.

The Japanese decision-making process does have advantages. When executed

correctly, it ensures that all parts of the organization are on board with a decision and are

prepared to implement it. It vets ideas with a wide variety of perspectives, due to the

number of people who look at any given potential decision. By giving many people the

opportunity to participate, it makes the group feel included. And the thorough data

gathering and analysis create careful, well-thought-out decisions. For these reasons,

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Japanese tend to feel comfortable with their companies’ decision-making processes, even

if they are time-consuming and cumber (


Punctuality is important — it shows respect for the attendees. However, due to the

consensus nature of decision making in Japan, it can very often be difficult to determine a

finish time. Always allow slightly more time than you think might be necessary to

achieve your goals

Meetings are often preceded by long, non-business polite conversation which

could cover such topics as mutual contacts, the merits of your company, Japanese food

etc. Do not become exasperated by this use of your time, as it is an essential element of

the relationship-building process. Show your impatience at your peril.

The concept of Wa, which is probably best described by the English word

harmony, lies at the heart of the Japanese approach to meetings. Although it is important

to search for a solution, this must not be achieved at the expense of disturbing the peace.

No individual will wish to proffer a strong opinion, which might cause some form of

confrontation and therefore affect War.

Japanese decisions are reached through a process of consensus-building meetings,

each of which is concerned with the preservation of Wa. This means that the decision-

making process can seem very long and drawn out. Patience is essential in these

situations, as to show impatience could have an adverse effect on the all-important Wa.

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Business Cards

It is important, when doing business in Japan that you have a plentiful supply of

business cards — with information printed on the back in Japanese. Cards are presented

at an early stage in a formal manner. Present and receive the card with two hands.

(Present your card Japanese side up.)

Treat your Japanese contact's card with respect — the card is the man. Don't write

on it or leave it behind, as this would show disrespect. During the meeting, place the

cards carefully on the table in front of you with the senior person's card on the top.

Gift Giving Gift giving is an endemic part of Japanese business life and should

not be confused with notions of bribery and corruption. Gifts should not be too lavish but

should always be of good quality. It is important to take a number of small gifts to Japan

to distribute to new and existing contacts. Gifts should always be wrapped. Avoid giving

gifts in quantities of four or nine as these are unlucky numbers. Anything sharp could

signify the desire to end a relationship. Alcohol, especially good single malt whiskey, is

always an appreciated gift.


Silence is Golden

In a business setting, silence is valued over an overabundance of talking. As Larry

Samovar, Richard Porter and Edwin McDaniel put it in Communication between

Cultures, "silence is linked to credibility." Silence speaks loudly about wisdom and

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emotional self-control. This may run counter to our approach back at home, where being

more outgoing can facilitate communication. A more introverted, formal approach,

especially at the beginning of a business relationship, is likely to be better received when

doing business in Japan. The Japanese have many proverbs that signal the importance

that they place on silence, such as, "The duck that quacks is the first to get shot." Take a

cue from your Japanese counterparts and tailor your approach.

World Business Culture

A company that specializes in global cultural differences, made this astute

observation about silence: "In times of stress or difficulty during a meeting, the Japanese

will often resort to silence in order to release the tension in the room and allow people to

move away from the area of difficulty (to preserve harmony which is tantamount)."

Resist the urge to fill the silence with more talk about an issue your Japanese counterpart

would rather avoid at the moment.

Group Solidarity is Paramount

It's widely known that Japan is a group-oriented culture—group solidarity is

valued over individualism. There is strength in the group, as the famous Japanese saying

implies: "A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle." This cultural mind-set

impacts certain behaviors such as how praise is received. While we value individual

contributions and strongly believe in recognition and individual praise, the opposite is

true in Japan. Singling out an individual in the group for special recognition, no matter
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how helpful he is to you, is likely to embarrass that individual. Always remember that the

team concept is very important for the Japanese and strive to give public credit to the

entire group.

Business Cards are Talismans

For Japanese business professionals, a business card (Meishi, pronounced "MAY-

SHEE") is an extension of their identity. Therefore, it's important to observe some

engrained rules of etiquette that signal respect for the person. Accept the card with both

hands, briefly read it and place it in your business card holder if you are standing; if you

are seated, place it on the table for the duration of the meeting and then place it in your

business card holder. It's considered a big faux pas to place their business card in your

back pocket or wallet. When presenting your business card, have the Japanese-printed

side facing the person you are offering it to, and give your card with both hands. Even if

you are sitting far away from the person in a group, don't toss or push the card across the

table. Get up and walk over to them.

Age Equals Seniority

Notwithstanding the many changes in modern Japan, age is revered in that

country and can be synonymous with rank in a business setting. A survey of companies in

the Nikkei 225 Index shows that the CEOs of these companies were consistently older

than those of other countries, with an average age of 62. The youngest CEO was 43.

Hierarchy is paramount. Treat older executives with a more marked deference than you
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do younger ones in the group you're interacting with. For example, be sure to greet the

most senior person before you greet others. Likewise, offer your business card to the

senior person first.

Hard Sell Doesn't Sell

A hard-sell approach will not succeed in Japan. Replace the high pressure,

confrontational approach with a gentler, persuasive presentation that showcases the

virtues of what you are proposing. Find points of agreement and build on those. Don't

drive too hard on decisions and deadlines. Understand that the Japanese decision-making

style is by consensus—trying to speed up the process may appear to be disrespectful of

their way of doing business. Rather than be impatient, try to see the long process as an

opportunity to build trust and cement the relationship.

Privacy is Valued

Japanese people are notoriously private and reserved. As businessman Jeffrey

Hays puts it: "Privacy is important in Japan. People can have their names removed from

phone books if they want. Windows are designed so people can't look in." So, asking a lot

of personal questions at the beginning of the relationship—which to us is a way of

building rapport—may be regarded as pushy or rude. This might be the reason why Japan

lags the world in social media adoption. According to a 2012 article in Ad Age Digital,

only 28 percent of Japanese Internet users visit social media sites on a monthly basis, and

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time spent on social networking in that country is a mere 2.9 percent, compared to 16.8

percent in the U.S.

What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

We all know that a business gift exchange is an important tradition in Japan,

especially at the first meeting. What can possibly go wrong when giving a small gift?

Many things, it seems: Flowers such as lilies, lotus blossoms and camellias are used for

funeral services and should, therefore, be avoided. The same applies for any white

flowers. Potted plants also carry negative superstitions. And buying a set of four of

anything is deemed unlucky. The number nine is also inauspicious. Furthermore, if you

send Christmas cards, avoid red, as funeral notices are customarily printed in red.

Chopstick Manners Speak Loudly

Unlike on airlines, wipe your hands only, not your face, on the damp towel (o-

shibori) provided at the start of the meal. When you serve yourself from shared dishes, if

there are no utensils for serving yourself, use the opposite end of your chopsticks to pick

up food to add to your plate. Don't use chopsticks to pierce food—pick it up, even if it is

slippery. When you finish eating, leave your place setting close to how you found it; this

means placing your used chopsticks in their paper envelopes or holder, and replacing lids

on small dishes. It may have been quaint at one time to be ignorant about the different

types of sushi. Today, with the prevalence of sushi restaurants in North America, it pays

to know some of these differences so as not to appear unsophisticated.

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Honor the Unofficial Dress Code

The operative word here for business clothes is conservative. Men wear

conservative business suits and blend in with the group. Women are encouraged to keep

jewelry to a minimum so as not to stand out. It is also considered in good taste for women

not to wear high heels if this results in towering over their male Japanese counterpart.

And if you wear a kimono, says Terri Morrison, in Doing Business in Japan, "Wrap it left

over right! Only corpses wear them wrapped right over left."

The Small Stuff Matters

Observing the small details of politeness is a big way of showing respect in Japan.

For example, blowing your nose in public, such as in a meeting room, is considered in

poor taste; best to excuse yourself and walk out. We all know about taking our shoes off

at the door, and wearing the slippers your Japanese host will provide. However, it doesn't

stop there. When invited to a Japanese home, you might have to remove your slippers

once inside if you encounter a tatami floor—a type of mat, which should only be stepped

on with bare feet or socks. If you go to the washroom, you have yet another pair of

slippers that's reserved for use in the washroom. Remember to remove them before going

back to your seat. While you're not expected to know all of this, it's noticed and

appreciated when you do. It simply means you've done some homework to honor your

hosts. There is a lot of goodwill in this—or as David Syrad, CEO of AKI Japan Ltd., put

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it: "Use your knowledge of Japanese business etiquette to demonstrate your flexibility

and sensibility." It will pay dividends. (


Religion in Japan is dominated by Shinto (the ethnic religion of the Japanese

people) and by Buddhist schools and organizations. According to surveys carried out in

2006 and 2008, less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organized

religion: around 35% are Buddhists, 3% to 4% are members of Shinto sects and derived

religions, and from fewer than 1% to 2.3% are Christians. Most of the Japanese pray and

worship ancestors and gods at Shinto shrines or private altars, while not identifying as

"Shinto" or "Shintoist" in surveys. This is because these terms have little meaning for the

majority of the Japanese, or they define membership in Shinto organizations or sects.

With the profound changes that the Japanese society has gone through in the 20th

century, and especially after World War II, including rapid industrialization and

urbanization, traditional religions were challenged by the transformation and underwent a

reshaping themselves, and principles of religious freedom articulated by the

constitution provided space for the proliferation of new religious movements.

The officially recognized new religions number in the hundred, and total

membership is reportedly in the tens of millions. The largest new religion is SokaGakkai,

a Buddhist sect founded in 1930, which has about 10 million members in Japan. Scholars

in Japan have estimated that between 10% and 20% of the population belongs to the new

religions, although more realistic estimates put the number at well below the 10%
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mark. As of 2007, there are 223,831 priests and leaders of the new religions in Japan,

three times the number of traditional Shinto priests.

By 1569 there were 30,000 Christians and 40 churches. Following the conversion of

some lords in Kyushu, mass baptisms of the local populations occurred, and in the 1570s

the number of Christians rose rapidly to 100,000. In the domains of Christian local lords,

non-Christians were forced to accept baptism and shrines; Buddhist temples were

converted into churches or destroyed.

Today, there is 1 to 3 million Christians in Japan, most of them living in the western

part of the country, where the missionaries' activities were greatest during the 16th

century. Nagasaki Prefecture has the highest percentage of Christians: about 5.1% in

1996. As of 2007 there are 32,036 Christian priests and pastors in Japan. Throughout the

latest century, some Western customs originally related to Christianity have become

popular as secular customs among many Japanese.

There are also estimated 15,700 Bahá'ís in 2005. Judaism in Japan is practiced by

about 2,000 Jews living in the country. Jainism is a minority religion in Japan. As of

2009, there were three Jain temples in the country. Muslim immigrant population

amounts to 70,000–100,000 people, while the "estimated number of Japanese Muslims

ranges from thousands to tens of thousands”. Hinduism in Japan is practiced by a small

number of people, mostly immigrants from India. Remaining population has another

religion from East Asia. (

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Japanese literature earliest extant works are the Koji8ki (712) and the Hihongi

(720), which are histories written in Chinese characters used phonetically. The earliest

recorded Japanese poetry is in the Manyoshu (760), which contains poems dating to the

4th century.

Early works of Japanese Literature were heavily influenced by cultural contact

with China and Chinese literature, often written in Classical Chinese. Indian literature

also had an influence though the Diffusion of Buddhism in Japan. Eventually, Japanese

literature developed into a separate style in its own right as Japanese writers began

writing their own works about Japan, although the influence of Chinese literature and

Classical Chinese remained until the end of the Edo period. Since Japan reopened its

ports to western trading and diplomacy in the 19th century, western and eastern literature

have strongly affected each other and continue to do so.


Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient

pottery, sculpture in wood and bronze, ink painting on silk and paper, calligraphy,

ceramics, architecture, oil painting, literature, drama and music. The history of Japanese

art begins with the production of ceramics by early inhabitants sometime in the tenth

millennium B.C.E. The earliest complex art is associated with the spread of Buddhism in

the seventh and eighth centuries C.E. The arts in Japan were patronized and sustained for

centuries by a series of imperial courts and aristocratic clans, until urbanization and
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industrialization created a popular market for art. Both religious and secular artistic

traditions developed, but even the secular art was imbued with Buddhist and Confucian

aesthetic principles, particularly the Zen concept that every aspect of the material world is

part of an all-encompassing whole.


When you take a closer look, Japan is one of the world's outstanding nations of

performing arts. There are more than Nogaku(Noh/Kyogen), Bunraku and Kabuki that

are designated to the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Considerable numbers of performing

arts nation-wide are profoundly distinct and highly refined. (


Noh and Kyogen are two inextricably linked performing arts referred to collectively

in Japanese as Nogaku. Noh is the oldest surviving theatrical art in Japan, going back six

hundred years. It has evolved somewhat over time, and took on its present form in the

mid-Edo period (the Edo period as a whole lasting from 1603 to 1867).

Kyogen is performed on the same kind of stage as Noh and is a theatrical art with a

strongly comic tone. Though the comedic element is emphasized in Kyogen, the full

range of human emotions is present in its humor. It is predominantly a spoken form, but

includes some song and dance as well. With equal depth and breadth, Kyogen is also a

highly refined theatrical genre.

Bunraku is the name currently applied to the tradition of Puppet Theater that has

been performed in Osaka, combining spoken and sung narration (joruri), shamisen

musical accompaniment, and puppets (ningyo). Bunraku puppets are manipulated by

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three puppeteers, while a narrator, or tayu, seated on a small revolving platform to the

right of the stage delivers the text of the drama, accompanied by a shamisen player seated

next to him. There are more theatrical art form in Japan like Kabuki is a theatrical art

form of sophisticated and stylized beauty, Gagaku refers to a genre of music and dance

systematized in Japan in the mid-Heian period (784-1185) and Shomyo is the name for

the style of chanting employed by the monks of certain Buddhist schools when they recite

the Buddhist scriptures in a half-singing, half-spoken intonation.





There is limited evidence in Japan regarding the psychosocial determinants of

fruit/vegetable intake. We performed a cross-sectional study of people aged 18 years or

older in four regions of Japan; 2308: men: 1012, women: 1296 individuals who

completed the questionnaires were included. We found that 24.8% of people were aware

of the current recommendations for vegetables and 13.2% for fruit and that “ability to

design meals” and “availability when eating outside of the home” were the most

important factors related to self-efficacy and barriers to fruit and vegetable intake,

respectively. People with high self-efficacy were more likely to consume more fruit and

vegetables. People with high scores on attitude and social support were more likely to

consume more fruit. People with high perceived barriers were less likely to consume

fruit. This study suggests a need to increase the general population’s awareness of the
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fruit and vegetable intake recommendations; facilitating positive attitudes, self-efficacy,

and social support for individuals and strengthening the ability of individuals to design

meals with more vegetables and fruit might be useful intervention programs.

The health benefits of fruit/vegetable consumption are widely accepted, especially

in the prevention of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension through

potential mechanisms such as antioxidant activity, modulation of detoxification enzymes,

stimulation of the immune system, decrease in platelet aggregation, and alterations in the

cholesterol metabolism. Healthy Japan 21 (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) and

the Guidelines for a balanced diet (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

recommend increasing the consumption of vegetables to 350 g or more and fruit to 200 g

or more per day to prevent lifestyle-related diseases; however, despite these

recommendations vegetable and fruit consumption has remained low among Japanese

adults. The National Health and Nutrition Survey revealed that the average daily

consumption of vegetables and fruit was 271.3 g and 119.9 g, respectively, in 2011 and

280.3 g and 105.2 g, respectively, in 2013. Therefore, increasing fruit and vegetable

intake is one of the public health priorities in Japan.

Individual dietary behavior can be influenced by many factors, including

psychosocial factors. There is increasing recognition of the importance of identifying the

psychosocial influences on dietary behaviors for designing effective intervention

programs. However, there is limited evidence from Japan that addresses the psychosocial

determinants of fruit/vegetable consumption and their relations to daily consumption;

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only a few small-scale studies have reported positive associations of self-efficacy, social

support, and economic efficiency with vegetable intake, in which the study populations

were limited to university students, the elderly, and women. Little is known about the

association of attitudes, knowledge, responsibility, and perceived barriers with

fruit/vegetable intake. The present study aimed to identify the psychosocial determinants

of fruit and vegetable consumption in the general Japanese population and their

relationship to daily consumption. Based on the results, we further suggest some

strategies that might be helpful in designing future intervention programs.



Western cooking is a daily part of Japanese life, but traditional cooking is still

main stream. Let’s take a look at a typical day in Japanese cooking. Every

meal begins with cleaning one’s hands with a hot moist towel called

an oshibori.

 Breakfast

Although it’s common for Japanese to rush to work having eaten toast and yogurt, or

maybe nothing at all, a traditional Japanese breakfast (most often served at a ryokan)

consists of yakizakana which is grilled fish, oshinko which are pickles, miso shiro, which

is better known as miso soup, and a bowl of rice.

 Lunch

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Lunch can take on a variety of forms, but often it can be something quick to eat. If

there isn’t time to actually sit down at a restaurant, and one hasn’t brought their

own bentō box, then a trip to the corner convenience store, or as said in

Japanese, conbini (short for conbiniensusuto-a), to purchase their lunch meal is

made. Convenience stores such as Lawson, Family Mart and the well-known American

chain, 7-11 sell a host of items including popular snack foods (such as dried and boiled

squid), bentō boxes, onigiri (which are rice balls pressed into a triangular shape, and

stuffed with salmon, umeboshi plum, and other fillings), oden, a mixture of various fish

cakes, hardboiled egg, vegetables and octopus, as well as nikuman (see below). Point of

sale systems track the time of day as well as other types of consumer purchasing

information, thereby providing suppliers a better understanding of what products are hot,

and what aren’t.

Here is a list of common lunch time foods offered at corporate cafeterias and at local

restaurants as daily specials:

Japanese Lunch Foods

Name Kanji/Hiragana Description

Curry rice カレーラス A popular rice dish with a curry flavored

sauce; often thought of as an Indian dish,

but this one is distinctly Japanese.

Eki bentō 駅弁当 / えきべんとう Train station boxed meal which

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originated in 1885 at Utsunomiya station

through the entrepanurial spirit of Saitō

Kahei who sold omusubi (pressed rice

cakes) stuffed with umeboshi and takuan.

Kaiseki bentō 会席弁当 / かいせきべんとう A poplular boxed lunch containing fish,

Chinese dumpling called shu-mai,

rice, sushi or sashimias an appetizer and

vegetables. Obentōcomes from the kanji

tōza meaning for the time being

and benzuru meaning make do. The

original idea of a light meal dates back to

the 12th century.

Makunouchi 幕の内弁当 / Similar to kaiseki bentō. Obentō is made

bentō まくのうちべんとう with locally available foods, known

as meisan or as meibutsu in which it is

arranged in a particular manner or special

commorative box.

Ramen ラメン A popular noodle soup.

Nikuman 肉マン / にくまん Of course, for those in a real hurry, there

is nothing like picking up a couple of

steamed pork buns, or what is

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called nikuman. Place the mouse cursor

over the picture on the right, to see

what’s inside of this treat.

 Dinner

A number of traditional Japanese dinner dishes have made there way into the Western

culinary vocabulary. A proper Japanese dinner consists of one soup and three dishes along

with rice. That is called IchijyuSansai (一汁三菜)in Japanese. The soup could be Miso

Soup or a clear broth soup. The three dishes include one main dish like Tempura, grilled

fish, Hamburger Steak, and so on, and two other smaller vegetable dishes like salads and

boiled veggies. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate menu, but Japanese people like to eat a

variety of foods which are cooked in different ways for dinner. If the main dish is fried,

the other dishes could be boiled, marinated in vinegar, or grilled, for example. Each food

is served in a separate dish. Japanese dinner presentation can be very pretty with many

dishes having different sizes, shapes, and materials (ceramics, wood, bamboo, iron, etc).




Traditional Japanese houses are built by erecting wooden columns on top of a flat

foundation made of packed earth or stones. In order to avoid moisture from the ground,

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the floor is elevated several tens of centimeters and is laid across horizontal wooden floor

beams. Areas like the kitchen and hallways have wooden flooring, but rooms in which

people sit, such as the living room, are covered with mats called tatami that are made

from woven rush grass. Japanese generally don't use chairs on top of tatami, so people

either sit directly on the tatami or on flat cushions called zabuton. This is why people take

off their shoes when entering a Japanese house. The frame of a Japanese house is made of

wood, and the weight is supported by vertical columns, horizontal beams, and diagonal

braces. Diagonal braces came to be used when the technology of foreign countries was

brought to Japan. One characteristic of Japanese houses is that they have a large roof and

deep eaves to protect the house from the hot summer sun, and the frame of the house

supports the weight of the roof. Japanese houses have developed over the years by

combining traditional forms with modern technology to improve their resistance to fire

and their convenience. Recently, though, people are beginning to look anew at the

traditional methods of building houses, which are easy on the environment and last a long

time. (



Traditional clothing is the kimono, a robe that is wrapped around the body, left

side over right, and tied with a sash(obi).Women's kimonos vary from the simple

everyday designs preferred by older women to the elaborate painted silk robes worn for

ceremonial occasions. Men rarely wear kimonos except for formal occasions and when

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performing traditional arts. The light summer cotton style (yukata)remains very popular

for relaxing at home, resorts, and summer festivals.

Most Japanese wear Western-style clothing for daily use. Japanese tend to dress

more formally and neatly than Americans. Jeans are popular with the young. Middle-and

high-school students wear dark blue or black uniforms with badges that indicate their

school and grade. (



Everyday Japanese clothing among adults in modern Japan is much like western

clothing. Women prefer dresses, jeans, T-shirts, men's dress suits for business and other

ordinary clothing. As Japan strives to stay modern, the traditional kimonos are worn less

aside from special occasions. (

In Japanese business etiquette dress code and appearance hold a very high value.

The Japanese are very formal and frequently dress to impress despite having a somewhat

conservative demeanor. The rule of thumb is to always play it safe and dress formally.

Stick to dark colors preferably black or dark blue. Wear shoes that are easy to put on and

remove as you will likely be doing so quite often.

Business casual attire is not always accepted in Japanese business etiquette. Of

course there are situations where it is acceptable to dress casually such as a sporting event

or activity, but you would never want to be the one who is underdressed in comparison to

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the group. On the other hand, it never hurts you to be overdressed for any occasion.

Therefore, it is always better to be safe and dress formally.

The recommended code for men is a conservative and well put together business

suit. The recommended colors are dark ones, preferably black or dark blue. The quality of

your attire makes a difference in your appearance, so it makes sense to invest in a nice

suit and have it altered to fit you correctly. Wear something low key yet classy. You want

to impress without standing out too much.

Women should dress conservatively also. Heels are not appropriate in a business

setting and should be avoided. In Japanese business etiquette women should not have

many accessories either. Women should also avoid wearing pants in a business setting

due to the fact that sometimes it is considered offensive. Generally speaking, the same

conservative principles that men follow should be applied to women also.



Japanese cuisine involves fresh, delicate flavours based on seasonal ingredients. Rice,

miso (fermented soy bean) soup, tofu (soy bean curd), pickled vegetables and fresh

seafood are staples of the Japanese diet. Traditionally, meat was not eaten because of

Buddhist beliefs, but these days, consumption of beef, chicken and pork is widespread.

The wide range of ingredients, the intensive preparation methods, and the meticulous

presentation found in Japanese cuisine is highly impressive. Sushi is world renowned, but

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it’s not the only style of cooking and the variety of regional dishes is astounding, ranging

from noodle soups and dumplings to meat skewers, octopus balls and some of the finest

beef in the world. Then, of course, there is kaiseki – a multi-course, fine-dining-style


While sake (rice wine) is still regularly served, beer is by far the most popular

alcoholic beverage. Whisky is also gaining popularity thanks to a number of Scotch-style



Teriyaki: Beef, chicken or fish marinated in a soy sauce and mirin wine, and seared on a

hot plate.

Tempura: Seafood and vegetables deep-fried in a light batter.

Sushi: Slices of raw fish and vegetables placed on cooked vinegar rice.

Sashimi: Thinly sliced fresh fish served uncooked with soy sauce, pickled ginger and


Ramen: Noodles in a meat, fish, soy or miso-based broth with toppings such as sliced

pork, spring onions and a boiled egg.

Soba: Buckwheat noodles often served cold with a dipping sauce or in a hot broth.

Kushikatsu: Crumbed fish, meat and vegetables deep-fried on skewers.

Yakitori: Skewers of bite-sized grilled chicken.

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Okonomiyaki: A grilled savory pancake made with shredded cabbage, seafood, pork and


Champuru: Okinawan style stir-fry featuring goya bitter melon and tofu.

Shojin-ryori: Known for its delicate flavourings, this traditional Buddhist cuisine is made

using grains, vegetables, tofu and rice.

Matcha: A bitter green tea used in tea ceremonies.

Sake: Dry or sweet rice wine served hot or cold.

Shochu: A strong vodka-like spirit often mixed with soft drinks to make.

Asahi and Sapporo: Crisp, dry lagers served in most Japanese bars and restaurants.

Whisky: Japanese distilleries such as Suntory and Nikka are winning plaudits around the

world with their fine, Scotch-style malts.

Things to know: Most traditional Japanese cuisine is eaten with chopsticks. Restaurants

have table service and in some places it is customary to remove footwear. There are no

licensing hours. Drinking is subject to long-standing rituals of politeness. The host will

pour a drink for the visitor, and will insist on the visitor's glass being full. It is bad

manners for a visitor to pour one for him or herself.

Tipping: Tips are never expected. In some up market places, a 10 to 15% service charge

will be added to the bill. In some bars, there may be a table or "charm" charge too, which

can be quite steep; it's best to enquire in advance if you're in any doubt.

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Drinking age: 20. (

D. Recreation, Sports, and other Leisure Activities


In this day and age when lifestyles are becoming ever more diverse, young people

have a wide variety of pastimes, and there is no single trend for spending leisure time.

However, many young people are very interested in fashion and so like to spend their

days-off shopping. Karaoke is also a popular free-time activity. People enjoy karaoke not

only with friends but also with colleagues from work or family members. There are also

many who are investing in their own future by learning a foreign language or studying to

obtain a qualification. There has been an increase in “theme park” style hot-spring resorts

located in suburban areas, and some young people visit such attractions on their days off.

Fewer young people are taking trips with their coworkers, increasingly preferring instead

to travel with friends not related to work or family members—or even travel by

themselves. (


The Japanese are great sports enthusiasts. Physical education classes in high

school include an elective (optional class) in one of Japan's traditional martial arts such as

judo, karate, or archery. Baseball is extremely popular, and the annual national high

school baseball tournament in August is followed throughout Japan. The teams of Japan's

universities compete in baseball, rugby, martial arts, and other sports.

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The most popular professional sport in Japan is baseball. Games in the two

leagues, the Pacific and the Central, draw large crowds, including noisy but well-

organized fan clubs. There is some interest in American football and basketball. The new

"J-League," a professional soccer league, fostered a soccer craze in the early 1990s.

Sumo wrestling is a native sport centered upon six annual fifteen-day

tournaments. Two wrestlers seek to force each other out of a circle or to touch the ground

with some part of their bodies (other than the soles of their feet). A striking feature is the

huge size of the wrestlers; top-ranked wrestlers usually exceed three hundred pounds and

can weigh over five hundred pounds. Popular participatory sports include golf, tennis,

skiing, hiking, swimming, and fishing. Gateball, similar to croquet, is popular with

elderly people.


Japan is a land in which many handicrafts have been raised to the level of art.

Japan has many regional variations on pottery. Some fine pottery is delicate and finely

detailed; there is also a strong tradition of heavier folk pottery that is more simple and

rustic. The aesthetic values of "wabi cha" (poverty tea) of the Tea Ceremony encourages

this style of pottery.

Handmade paper, produced from mulberry bark, remains a popular art form.

Special papers with distinct textures and patterns are prized for letter

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writing, calligraphy (decorative lettering), and wrapping. A variety of dying, painting,

and decorative styles and methods have developed to decorate the panels of silk used for

women's kimonos. Tie-dying is also employed.

The Japanese government cherishes these arts, recognizing masters as National

Living Treasures to honor and support their work.


Everybody knows Japan is in crisis. The biggest problems it faces – sinking economy,

aging society, sinking birthrate, radiation, unpopular and seemingly powerless

government – present an overwhelming challenge and possibly an existential threat. Less

fateful but closer to home is a tangle of smaller worries and anxieties, of which

ShukanJosei enumerates 10.

Some of them – one-third of single women living in poverty, rising number of

children needing protection from child abuse – are in fact far from minor. Others –

increase in bicycle accidents, increasing destruction caused by wildlife – do seem at first

glance to merit the back burner, although at second glance Take destructive wildlife, for

instance. Deer, wild boar, monkeys and other creatures who know not what they do cause

each year an estimated 20 billion yen worth of damage to crops, national parks, and also

to people in the form of personal injury – monkeys especially. Deer nibbling tree bark

have turned half of Japan’s national parkland into wasteland, ShukanJosei says while

boar ravages rice paddies. If only the Japanese, like the Europeans, could acquire a taste
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for eating game! Then hunters would hunt the marauders in greater numbers, and a

sustainable balance be restored. But though the Japanese became meat-eaters, their

preference remains strictly for domestic livestock.

The trouble with bicycles – convenient, environment-friendly and excellent exercise –

is that anyone can ride one; you don’t need a license and there’s no mandatory instruction

on rules of the road, which many riders, apparently, don’t know. Besides, few people

think of bikes as dangerous, so they’re not given the respect they deserve. Many

accidents – ShukanJosei doesn’t tell us how many – involve pedestrians and can be

serious. Cyclists draw most of the blame, not altogether fairly. Japan, the magazine points

out, is far behind other places, notably Holland and Scandinavia, in creating exclusive

bicycle lanes.

There’s actually a silver lining in rising child abuse statistics. At least some of the rise

is attributed to neighbors reporting problems, which suggests spreading awareness and

also maybe heightened neighborly concern. That’s small comfort to victimized children,

of course. Stress and isolation get much of the blame. Child-raising used to be a

community responsibility, but communities hardly exist anymore; or the whole extended

family got involved, but extended families, too, are almost extinct. Moreover,

ShukanJosei adds, public children’s homes tend to be understaffed and rundown, unlike

senior citizens’ homes, which benefit from more attention.

Why should one-third of single women be living in poverty? For one thing, most

working women – 12 million – are part-time employees, receiving small salaries and few

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benefits. For another, inheritance laws are skewed in favor of men. Since many single

women are single mothers, the impact on children is harsh. “Compared to other

developed countries, Japan gives very weak protection to its young generation,” the

magazine hears from a lawyer.

Female poverty is a factor in the declining birth rate too. There are 340,000 abortions

a year in Japan, many of them presumably on women for whom child-raising is an

economic impossibility. (


Government regulates nearly all aspects of the universal public health insurance

system (PHIS). The national and local governments are required by law to ensure a

system that efficiently provides good-quality and well-suited medical care to the nation.

National government sets the fee schedule and gives subsidies to local governments,

insurers, and providers. It also establishes and enforces detailed regulations for insurers

and providers.

Publicly financed health insurance: The PHIS, comprising more than 3,400 insurers,

provides universal primary coverage (National Institute of Population and Social Security

Research, 2014). In 2013, estimated total health expenditure amounted to approximately 10

percent of GDP, 83 percent of which was publicly financed, mainly through the PHIS (OECD,

2015). Within the PHIS, premiums, tax-financed subsidies,

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and user charges accounted for about 49 percent, 38 percent, and 12 percent of the

sum of health expenditures, respectively (MHLW, 2014b).

Citizens are mandated to enroll in one of the PHIS plans based on employment status

and/or place of residence, as are resident noncitizens; undocumented immigrants and

visitors are not covered. Government employees are covered by their own insurers

(known as Mutual Aid Societies), as are some groups of professionals (e.g., doctors in

private practice).

Private health insurance: Private insurance plays only a minor supplementary or

complementary role. It developed historically as a supplement to life insurance and

provides additional income in case of sickness, mainly in the form of lump-sum payments

when insured persons are hospitalized or diagnosed with cancer or another specified

chronic disease, or through payment of daily amounts during hospitalization over a

defined period. Since the early 2000s, the number of standalone medical insurance

policies has increased (Japan Institute of Life Insurance, 2013; Life Insurance

Association of Japan, 2014). The provision of privately funded health care has been

limited to services such as dental orthodontics, expensive artificial teeth, and treatment of

traffic accident injuries (although treatment of these injuries is usually paid for by

compulsory or voluntary automobile insurance.)


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Japanese is the official language of Japan. It is a member of Japonic or Japanese-

Ryukyuan Language family and somehow has relation to Altaic language family which

includes Turkish, Mongolian and Manchu also to Korean which is frequently compared

to Japanese language however, they are different in pronunciation. Japanese has three

level of politeness in speaking: The “Kudaketa” plain form, “Teinei” Simple polite form

and “Keigo” advance polite form. It is ninth of the most spoken language in the world.



Japanese is the only one official language in Japan but they have 8 different spoken

languages. Although it is a small country, it consists of little islands and those islands

tend to develop their own language. ( Japanese people can’t speak fluent

English but they can understand as it is taught in schools as part of Japan's compulsory

education. Japan is the only country in the world to have Japanese as its official working

language in Japanese companies though it’s not mandatory to speak Japanese at work for

some expatriates are usually hired by non-Japanese companies. (

In writing, one also has to be concerned with things like punctuation and

paragraph boundaries. Depending on the language, there can be several tens to several

thousands of characters that need to be memorized. In Japanese, the number of characters

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is complicated by the fact that each character can have several pronunciations (including

irregular ones), and you can write a single word in several different ways. For example,

“shokuji”, which means “food or “meal” can be written as 食事,しょくじ、ショクジ,

or 食餌 (in order of decreasing frequency of use). Spoken language also has the

challenge that you must be able to comprehend and respond in real time (unless you are

watching a recording which you can rewind). Pronunciation itself is also one of the most

difficult things to master in a foreign language, especially for older students.



There so many dialects in Japan from the time the Islands has been inhabited.

Their dialects have been divided into two major type for Northern and southern: The

Kyoto Type and the Kyoto Osaka type. There are 7 major dialects in Japan these are

Hataka ben, Osaka ben, Hiroshima ben, Kyoto ben, Nagoya ben, Sendai ben and

Hokkaido ben. (

They considered Tokyo dialect as their Standard dialect in japan. Though their

accent may vary between dialects. Today the English and western culture gives impact on

Japanese language and it expected to continue. (

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International Marketing Country Notebook: Japan