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Japan as a “high context culture”:ハイコンテクスト文化な日本

 Have you ever heard the words “low-context” and “high-context”?

As a matter of course, context itself literary means circumstance, background, and so on. But it comes to using “high-context cultures”, this means a culture in which people have the same experience, feeling, or value in their background for communication. Japan is a high-context culture.

Whereas “low-context cultures” means the opposite, a culture in which people share few experiences, feelings, or values in their background for communication.

So, people in a high-context culture don’t have to explain the background they have in common.

On the other hand, they need to explain logically to let others understand which tends to be longer conversation.

“You know what I mean?” works in high-context cultural countries, but that doesn’t in low-context cultural countries.

Typical high-context countries are Japan, Korea, China, the Middle East, Italy, Greece, and Russia. Whereas, it has been said that low-context countries are the U.S, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia.

The feature of low-context culture is that people from different backgrounds coexist in the society. High-context culture tends to be mono-cultures.

If you experience communication problems with your foreign colleagues, you might need to think about this. Next month I will give some tips on how to deal with such situations.

Haven’t you ever experienced any understanding difficulties? Understanding the both high/low-contexts helps you to know Japanese is an ambiguity expression, you would also recognize the importance of intention of what others are saying.


Knowing the cultural difference makes you feel much better.


ローコンテクスト (Low context) ・ハイコンテクスト (High context) という言葉を聞いたことはありますか?


日本は、ハイコンテクスト (High context)な社会ですね。


つまりハイコンテクスト (High context) では、言わなくてもわかってもらえている(はず)のことは、あえて会話の中で話しません。

一方ローコンテクスト (Low context)は、言語により論理的に説明しないと意図が伝わらないことが多いので、会話が長くなりがちです。

ハイコンテクスト (High context) 文化の国で通用する
は、ローコンテクスト (Low context)社会では全く通用しません。



ローコンテクスト (Low context) ・ハイコンテクスト (High context) 、両者の違いを理解しておくと、日本人の相手は曖昧な表現で会話をしているので、意図をしっかり確認することも重要だということが分かります。



Related links:
The weird world of animal cafes
Japanese words you should know
How safe is Japan?
Japan, a smoker’s paradise?
The struggle with credit cards in Japan



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