Japanese history and culture

Here are general information you might need for doing business in Japan. It may give you a clue why Japan is so unique.

Geology : Located in the east of Eurasian continent, the northernmost is latitude of Milan, Italy, Portland, Oregon and Montreal, Canada and the southernmost is latitude of Hawaii, Cuba and Mauritania. Japan consist of 6852 islands including 5 major ones.
5 tectonic plates meet at Japan and it is a part of circum-Pacific volcanic belt. Many active volcanos are there and unfelt earthquakes occurs every day. Japan have suffered from many huge earthquakes and always recovered from disasters in the history.

circum-Pacific volcanic belt

Climate : Because of the geological location, Japan have 4 distinct seasons, rainy seasons and typhoons. Spreading location brings many different climates from the tropic to the subarctic zone.
Floods and land-slide occur every year somewhere in Japan. Artificial ponds were made for preparing for drought in hundreds years ago. People had stored and grown by-products just in case of cold-summer in northern area until decades ago and constant breed improvements almost take the threat away which resembles Japanese cars and consumer electronics success in business.

Politics : After WWII, Japan started symbolic emperor system and democracy under the occupation of the U.S. The Liberal Democratic Party which is conservative, took control in most of period after the war and bureaucrats have stored the power. Many regulations are there as well as interest groups to try to protect their achieved merit. In other hand, you are free in completely new area or you might be protected by the rule.

People : Population is about 130 million and concentrated heavily in Tokyo ( 35 M ) and Kansai ( 20 M ) area. People believes that Japanese is one race but Ainu in Hokkaido claimed that they are minority and people in Okinawa has obvious different physical features, who had another dynasty once. Those may be resulted in character that Japanese don't compete each other and thinks as others (Japanese) think. Foreigners have good chance to jump-start a business because Japanese even thinks of.

Nikko banner

Religion : It is polytheistic society with folk religion although many foreigners believed that Shinto is the state religion. Most Japanese visits both shrines and temple without any hesitation. Many shrines and temples are located in the same area, including the Nikko Toshogu shrine, one of the most popular among tourists overseas. People accept new culture and mix it with own. For example, Japanese writes with Chinese letter, original phonetic letters, arabic numerals and alphabet. You can easily find as many ethnic foods as you want in Japan. It is not true that Japanese excludes imported goods just because it is not made in Japan.

Language : Japanese. People studies English in schools as just another subject but not language. It is still special if some one speaks foreign languages. You may be respected since you speaks other tongue. You are psychologically in better position in business meeting in Japan even you don't speak Japanese.


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