Woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai (1746-1849)


Basics of Japanese culture

Organizational Structure of Businesses

Public Relations Today

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Japanese culture has been a near-mystery to the Western hemisphere for thousands of years. Its majesty and beauty have been popularized through Western culture and now enjoys a status as one of the world's top economic powers. One interesting aspect of Japan is its attitude to work and business culture. Karoshi is the Japanese word for "death from overwork." The popular image of Japanese businessman as tireless machine for corporate welfare is partially correct. However, there is little evidence to suggest that Japanese employees work much harder than that done by American workers(1)

International public relations plays a large role in today's world due to three reasons. One reason is the rapid development of communication technology. Electronic mail, the Internet, cellular phones: all these give the world instant access to up-to-date information on any topic. This means that a company or organization needs to be sure they have a respectable image across all the nations in which they operate. Also, the realignment of the world economy has caused an increasing need for the proper communication between corporations. Thirdly, common issues are uniting the world nations for a cause. These include the environment, the growing world population, and the threat of nuclear proliferation. The cooperation of all the world's powers depends on proper communication and that is where public and media relations plays a role(7).

Japan currently shares the stage with other world powers such as the United States and China. Japan's unique cultural identity affects how public relations will factor into Japan's functioning. Also, the structure of the business world impacts the acceptance of public relations into Japanese society. I have tried to discuss these facets of Japanese culture and determine how they affect the current practice of public relations in Japan.
A shrine entrance in Japan
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