Japanese Cultural Thought Patterns as Manifested in English Emails

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Communication technologies have been significantly improved over time as means of overcoming the two principal communication barriers: time and distance. In oral cultures, people need to be in the same location at the same time to communicate. By applying communication technologies, meanwhile, they do not require to be in the same location at the same time. Electronic communications greatly increase our capacity to overcome barriers of time and distance. The Internet and electronic communication does not just mean a new tool for communication but it means a new way to communicate.

People believe that electronic communication is fast, accurate and can be used with ease and comfort. It is able to overcome problems due to time and distance. No wonder that electronic communication is relatively popular especially for business people. For that reason, nowadays, electronic communications have a significant impact on the workplace. As a part of electronic communication, the use of email plays crucial role in practical correspondence in the workplace especially for international business industries. People do not always meet the majority clients, vendors or business partners in person to do their work and managerial business. In the past, formal business letters were mostly occupied in doing dealing the business in which language used in a letter was followed by certain rules. Meanwhile, email employs simple language, personal and meaningful message.

This symbolizes the essence of email that is simplifying and eliminating most of the inconveniences of previous types of correspondence like letters, memos and faxes. The ability of email to allow for almost instant communication sounds wonderful, especially for business people who mostly require fast information in a short time. Since we should keep it (email) simple, it is important to convey our message with clarity and also require the recipient to respond. However, there is something that people often do not realize in sending email to others especially for those who are from other countries. They often use language with their own writing style which could bring and reflect their customary culture, and then they do not realize that the recipients who accept their email have different cultures. Sometimes, it is not easy to achieve successful interactions with the recipients who are from different cultures.

Comprehending language and culture cannot be separated which mean that concepts of culture play important role in understanding a language. Kuang (2007) mentioned that language is a tool for communicating as well as a predominant aspect of anthropological phrase of culture, and the two aspects of language and culture can never be separated. Language used by the email senders from different cultures obviously influence linguistic knowledge, especially in foreign language expression. The cultural thought patterns behind the language is importantly needed in order to achieve effective communication since these thought patterns will influence how others expect to hear about the information presented.

Miscommunication and cross cultural conflict will increase when both email’s sender and recipient have different cultural thought patterns. Moreover, cultural misunderstanding or cultural shock may have a greater impact than their linguistic knowledge because they may cause miscommunication. For the above reason, cultural thought patterns and underlying factors as manifested in email should be understood earlier for both email sender and recipient. The main goal is to prevent from misunderstanding or miscommunication caused of different cultures and linguistic knowledge.

Furthermore, by representing the communication style of the email’s recipients, we are sustaining their values in this area. This study analyzed further about cultural thought pattern as manifested in English emails. It is not only being aware of cultural differences between countries, but also to adjust responses to those differences. For the need of this study, English emails written by Japanese were focused more since Japanese primary language is not English. By observing the proper Japanese email etiquette is expected to be able to prove willingness to understand Japanese cultural thought pattern and so that it can provide beneficial information about the Japanese culture itself.

Name : Andika Paramita, Agustinus Ngadiman

Source : https://media.neliti.com/media/publications/232345-japanese-cultural-thought-patterns-as-ma-7f264dcc.pdf