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2014/2015  BA-BALJU3001U  Japanese Business Communication CANCELLED

English Title
Japanese Business Communication CANCELLED

Course information

Language Japanese
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 35
Study board
Study Board for Asian Study Programme
Course coordinator
  • Fumiko Kano Glückstad - MSC
Administration: Kathrine Christoffersen: klc.stu@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Business psychology
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Communication
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
  • Economic and organizational sociology
Last updated on 04-06-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course the students will be able to:
  • explain the Japanese linguistic politeness reflecting the collectivist cultures as well as speaker's/hearer’s social distance and power relations by applying the pragmatics theories introduced during the course
  • analyze different ways of communication (multimodal communication) depending on different business scenarios and analyze different ways of using language (politeness, honorific, and respectful modes) depending on different business contexts
  • identify and analyze cultural dimensions relevant to Japanese business contexts (e.g. “Wakimae”) and organizational relationships (hierarchical relationships within and across companies)
  • identify and discuss some specific issues such as product-development and customer service issues that are characteristic to the Japanese business culture
Course prerequisites
The course is targeted for students who study Japanese language (corresponding to 1-3rd year ASP students). However the language proficiency (speaking and writing) is not the mandatory requirement, since the course content focuses on the contextual analysis of the Japanese business scenarios.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Mid-term assignment (one page assignment ) in Lesson 6

Requirements about active class participation (assessed approved/not approved)
The students are asked to select their own topic and materials to work with for the rest of the semester (lesson 7-10) and to discuss about the topic in the class. This will eventually be used for the final term-paper.
Written assignment: analysis of a Japanese business communication scenario:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period December/January
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
The students must individually analyze Japanese materials provided and write a paper of max 10 standard pages in English.
Course content and structure
The course focuses on business communication scenarios where non-Japanese try to establish business-relationships with Japanese business entities. The course is provided by a teacher who has obtained professional business experience with European- and Japanese high-tech enterprises for more than 10 years, and it provides the students with opportunities for acquiring practical skills in identifying and analyzing cultural insights that are essential for Japanese business practices.
From the theoretical viewpoint, the course introduces several research articles (written in English) on Intercultural Pragmatics focusing on the Japanese linguistic politeness that reflects the collectivist cultures as well as social distances between speakers/hearers and their power relations existing in the Japanese society.

On the basis of the pragmatic theories introduced, the students will learn how the politeness language is used in various business scenarios by analyzing materials (manga, video etc. in Japanese) provided througout the course.
Teaching methods
The course employs diverse audio/visual materials (manga, video clips, business manner training materials used in a major Japanese company etc.) describing business scenarios from which the students can identify and analyze important cultural dimensions specific to the Japanese business culture, and discuss how to overcome such cultural barriers in each specific scenario.

The lectures and literaturs are provided in English however the audio/visual materials employed during the course are in Japanese.

Tentative schedule (may be changed without notice) :

1st lesson: introduction to the course + "introduction to the politeness theories" + "material of the day" + hands-on exercise

2nd lesson: "pragmatics: social distance" + "material of the day" + hands-on exercise

3rd lesson: "pragmatics: power relations" + "material of the day" + hands-on exercise

4th lesson: "pragmatics: collectivist cultures" + "material of the day" + hands-on exercise

5th lesson: "politeness: Face-Threatening Acts (FTA)" + "material of the day" + hands-on exercise

6th lesson: introduction of the mid-term assignment and its preparation

One week break: mid-term assignment (one page assignment )
The students are asked to select their own material to work with for the rest of the semester - it is eventually used for the term-paper.

7th lesson: "analysis of student conversations with professors" + students' presentation of their own materials + discussion using the students' materials

8th lesson: "analysis of Japanese committee meeting" + students' presentation of their own materials + discussion using the students' materials

9th lesson: "analysis of Japanese political debate" + students' presentation of their own materials + discussion using the students' materials

10th lesson: Summing up, introduction of the term-paper assignment, and Q&A
Student workload
Reading literatures and preparation for lessons 1-5 50 hours
Mid-term assignment 30 hours
Preparation for the final assignment 60 hours
Term paper 66 hours
Further Information
Changes in course schedule may occur.
Thursday 11.40-14.15, week 36-41, 43-48.
Expected literature
Literatures in English (tentative - may be changed without notice):
  • How and why honorifics can signify dignity and elegance: the indexicality and reflexivity of linguistic rituals, Sachiko Ide, In Broadening the Horizon of Linguistic Politeness, Robin T. Lakoff and Sachiko Ide, John Benjamins Publishing Company, (2005) 45-64
  • Yoroshiku onegaishimasu: Routine practice of the routine formula in Japanese, Makiko Takekuro, In Broadening the Horizon of Linguistic Politeness, Robin T. Lakoff and Sachiko Ide, John Benjamins Publishing Company, (2005) 87-98
  • Japanese honorifics as a marker of sociocultural identity: A view from non-Western perspective, Megumi Yoshida and Chikako Sakurai, In Broadening the Horizon of Linguistic Politeness, Robin T. Lakoff and Sachiko Ide, John Benjamins Publishing Company, (2005) 197-216
  • Reexamination of the universality of Face: Politeness phenomena in Japanese, Yoshiko Matsumoto, Journal of Pragmatics 12 (1998) 403-426
  • Student honorifics usage in conversations with professors, Mutsuko Endo Hudson, Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2011) 3689-3706
  • Are honorifics polite? Uses of referent honorifics in a Japanese committee meeting, Haruko Minegishi Cook, Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2011), 3655-3672
  • Honorifics, "politeness," and power in Japanese political debate, Janet S. Shibamoto-Smith, Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2011) 3707-3719
  • Requests and Culture - politeness in British English and Japanese (Chapter 3: Requests and Responses to Requests, and Chapter 4: Cultural Dimensions of the Study), Saeko Fukushima, Peter Lang AG, (2003)

Reference materials (in English): 
  • How to be polite in Japanese Nihongo no keigo, Osamu Mizutani and Nobuko Nizutani, The Japan Times Ltd. (1987)
  • T-shirt Japanese versus Necktie Japanese: Two levels of politeness, Kodansha International Ltd. (1995)

Example materials (in Japanese):
  • Manga: Shima Kosaku Series by Kenshi Hirokane
  • Book: Illustration, Business Manners by Takahashi Shoten
  • Video: Departure
  • Video: Hankyu Densha
Last updated on 04-06-2014