News: WeBooks: 'Behind the Japanese Mask'

Tue, 27 Nov 07

The new ebook, “Behind the Japanese Mask”, explores Japanese culture and business practices...

As the Japanese proverb says, “Beginning is easy, continuing is hard”, and so it is for anyone trying to do business with Japan.  This new ebook from Jonathan Rice takes readers below the surface of Japanese culture to explain the psychology behind the way Japanese people live and work, making it easier to build lasting, fruitful business relationships.

Japan is the world's second largest market, competitor, and partner.  With 125 million people it's a large country with considerable influence.  Technologically it is very advanced: there are about 20 million internet users, and 50 million mobile phone users.  15% of the world’s economy is in Japan, and 25% of the world's high-tech products are made there. 

But trying to trade with Japan without understanding Japanese business ethics is bound to lead to misunderstanding and crossed wires.  Take, for example, the fact that in a business situation, there is no such word as ‘No’; only ‘You may be right’.  Which translates as: ‘Hypothetically, you could be right, but in fact you are completely wrong.’

Jonathan Rice is well qualified to explore where the mask ends and the face begins, having worked with the Japanese for over thirty years.  A cross-cultural business consultant and lecturer, he has lived in Japan for ten years and lectures on working with the Japanese at Farnham Castle Centre for International Briefing.  He is also the author of several books on cross-cultural issues, of which “Behind the Japanese Mask” is his most recent. 

In lively prose, with examples, anecdotes and illustrations throughout, “Behind the Japanese Mask” sheds light on:

  • Uchi and Soto – the Japanese concept of Insiders and Outsiders.
  • How Japanese history has shaped society.
  • Language: the meaning behind the words.
  • Management structures in Japanese businesses.
  • Gift giving and striking a deal.

The book is free to read online, and there is no need to register.

On the Webooks site users can check out the author’s blog, chat to other culture buffs in the forum, and find useful websites in the directory.  A PDF version of the ebook is also available to download from the online store. 

This online “WeBook” is the first in a series of more than 200 books that will go online during the remainder of 2007, as part of an initiative to revolutionise the print publishing industry. 

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