Cross-Cultural Articles

Volume I


Appreciating the Similarities and Differences Between American and Japanese Work Environments from an All-Quadrants Perspective 

by Yohei Kato

"In America, direct eye contact often represents attention and respect for others, and not gazing straight may be regarded as impolite, inattentive, insincere, and aloof (Ferraro, 2006). On the other hand, in Japan direct eye contact may give the impression of hostility, and thus Japanese people often prefer a lesser degree of eye contact. Hence, American business people must be careful to gaze indirectly at Japanese business people’s eyes in their business interactions. Otherwise, Japanese business people may perceive a threatening or haughty image of American business people. In contrast, Japanese business people must be careful not to turn their eyes too much away from their American colleagues’ eyes in places of work."