Throughout the millennia, since the prehistoric Jōmon period, Japan developed a sophisticated culture and etiquette while absorbing influences from Asia, Europe, and North America.
The code of etiquette in Japan governs the expectations of social behavior. They are considered very important in Japan. The etiquette varies greatly depending on one’s status relative to the person in question. Some customs have changed over time. These distinct cultural values make Japanese etiquette substantially different from western and other countries.
Honne and tatemae (本音と建前) contrasts a person’s true feelings and desires and the behavior and opinions one displays in public. Yamato-damashii (大和魂) refers to the cultural values and characteristics of the Japanese people. It originates from the Heian period and describes the indigenous Japanese ‘spirit’ or cultural values as opposed to cultural values of foreign nations. Wa (和) is a Japanese cultural concept that implies a peaceful unity and conformity within a social group, in which members prefer the continuation of a harmonious community over their personal interests. Miai (見合い) is a Japanese traditional custom in which a woman and a man are introduced to each other to consider the possibility of marriage. It is a meeting opportunity with more serious considerations for the future as a process of courtship. Ishin-denshin (以心伝心) is a Japanese idiom which denotes a form of interpersonal communication through unspoken mutual understanding. Isagiyosa (潔さ) is a virtue of the capability of accepting death with composure and equanimity. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of isagiyosa in the sense of embracing the transience of the world. Hansei (反省) is a central idea in Japanese culture, meaning to acknowledge one’s own mistake and to pledge improvement. Kotodama (言霊) refers to the Japanese belief that mystical powers dwell in words and names.
Japan is regarded by sociologists as a high-context culture. People are more observant of hierarchical differences and communicate less explicit and verbose. High context cultures such as Japan are more focused upon in-groups while low context cultures are focused upon individuals. Face-saving (to avoid being disgraced or humiliated) is generally considered as more important in Japan’s high context culture than in low-context ones such as the United States or Germany.
There are differences in advertising and marketing in Japan due to the high-context culture. In Japan advertising uses more colors, images, gestures and sounds with powerful meaning behind them. Dialogue is not a central part of the advertising. Every vocal and non-vocal expression is explored, because Japanese people are more sensitive to it. Comparatively in low-context cultures advertising is more straightforward.Japanese music is eclectic and diverse. Many instruments, such as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries. The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the sixteenth. Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble Gagaku has influenced the work of