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Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/1/3 14:22
Oh and "Meet you again?" isn't something I'd say. If I was speaking English to a non-native speaker I would use different speech and I also enunciate and speak considerably slower. I would say, "Would you like to meet again?" or "Shall we meet again?" I do this because I understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of this with both Spanish and Japanese.

Same goes for Japanese. One thing I've always been complimented on was the fact that I always speak it clearly and slowly unless I stumble over my words in uncertainty. I know Japanese isn't my first language and still relearning most of it (I studied it years ago) which is why I speak that way...and that I grew up with a southern upbringing back home. We speak slowly anyway compared to other areas. lol

Anyway, you do bing up very good points. That could be it. Misunderstandings. Unclear speech.
by SSJ Jup81 rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/1/3 15:34
Frankly I don't understand what's the hoo-haa over why Japanese never say no. Never is not an appropriate word, it comes off too strong. Never is like forever, 100% of the population, etc. Of course it has to do with the culture and society.

We should try looking at the big picture - human race. Ask yourself - Do like to reject people upfront? Maybe you think saying NO if you want to reject someone is frank, honest, saves time, whatever. But still, I think it spells lack of EQ. We are not little children, saying no as and when we feel like it. We might end up hurting other people's feelings. If we know we will still end up hurting someone, the least we can do is soften the impact?

Ok maybe some people wants to know why they seemed so friendly at first but disappeared suddenly. Honestly that's irritating and I would be pissed too. But put yourself in the scenario - If a new found friend suggested catching up again and he's friendly about it, would you reply no in his face flat like that? I think most people will say ok to avoid hurting the feelings. Otherwise, you can say yeah if I have the time. Somewhere along the line.

My friend shared with me her travelling experiences in Europe. She said she met quite a few people. They were very friendly and promised to bring her site-seeing. Ended up that they are all empty promises. These people said it for the sake of saying. So what kind of culture is this? Culture plays a part, but I also believe upbringing and personal development play a big role too.

No matter what's the nationality, there will always be people who shoots off without thinking, who worries too much over what others feel, whose mouths don't match their hearts, etc... Let's just stop categorizing us.
by bebegurl (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/1/3 16:25
The word "No, いいえ" is never used as harshly as Sean Connely used in the movie Rising Sun. The Japanese'd never speak/use that way.
If used, in a very light tone.
"dame, 駄目(だめ, だめだ or だめよ)" is used, in a strong tone, to reject a situation, proposition, person, activity, etc. and often used to scold a child.
Also, Japanese are not so good at making a poker face, not showing one's emotion. The emotion often shows up in one's body language and/or on the face. You need to learn to read.
Historically, male Tokoites(Edokko) are more emotional & quick to act before thinking(even though maybe a good character) where as Osakans are more subdued/calculating as Osaka was the merchant/busines city. So the dialects/culture are different and the way spoken is different.
The Japanese still don't trust the outsiders even their own people and very prejudiced against anyboby not coming from their own tribe/prefecture/region as you might have experienced. Nationally you can see it in the immigration policy even though the population is decreasing.

by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/1/14 23:15
Well, I finally read that blog frog1954 posted on the 1st page and it was very interesting. Please read the second paragraph of the blog on how he said “no” you will laugh.
Come on really, the way he said no is “the owners “are busy for the entire year.”” Really, seriously, that how you say no, I would rather you say “No” than lie to me because that what some of them are doing lying. Japanese are lying rather than being honest and truthful.
And I have to say… After reading the comments on here, I agree 100% with everyone who said its best for the Japanese people to just say no (but only when dealing with foreigners) but what they do within their custom/culture is up to them.
It is funny no one on here said anything about the Chinese, in the other blog a few people talked about the Chinese. Japanese people often think Chinese people are very rude, but the question is “why” because they are direct and say no. When I was in Japan I met a few Chinese people and I found it easier to start a conversation with them than with a Japanese people.
I wish I can tell it like “bebegurl” page 2 but I cannot.
At the end of the day, the other person conclusion I do not agree with too much but Japanese people should learn when dealing with other cultures, it’s okay for them to say No to foreigners than to lie, make excuses and mislead foreigners which would make them look bad.
by Seiko (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/1/17 19:24
Almost japanese do not deny others opinion and idea in conversation if there is difference between.

Japanese fear what happening mental conflict and spreading his or her inferior.

So he or her does not come into contact with the person if it becomes decisive that the opinion of the other is different.

Japanese evade a risk unconsciously.

And then japanese just say mendokusai.

by aotuki rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/11 13:53
I've done that, showing my enthusiasm and stop replying. It was because the language I was using was English and it took really long time to make English sentences. You know that Japanese people are very grammar conscious. (I'm not anymore, tho.) It took one or two hours to reply at that time.

Also, I've been to UK and US and I was able to feel more comfortable in UK than in US. I guess that it was because Americans are too straightforward. I was not used to that, so it was kind of overwhelming. I felt that British are a bit similar to Japanese as they don't really say what they think like Americans do.

And the fact that Asian tend to smile so as to show the politeness might something to do with this, too. Some people think it's strange to smile (or smirk) when there's nothing funny, but for Asian, it's the way to keep good relationship.

I specifically cited American but i don't mean to judge American. It's just I have limited experience in staying overseas.
by purplewood rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/13 04:11
Oh no, its ThatGuy again


I agree with you 100% and I think it’s also the same for the other person who gets enthusiastic when they get a message from another person.

If the language is a big problem than you should have said something to your pen pal or find a pen pal who is willing to work with you and write in Japanese a little. I found it hard it to write in Japanese using Google translate so when I e-mailed my pen pal I no longer talked to, I tried to keep our e-mail short.. Also when we talked about movies, I try to find movie that were in Japanese for them to be able to watch.

Now for others
Japanese people should never be ashamed because there English is not good, hell I personally think that Japanese people can communicate better in English than the Mexicans/South Americans who live near me. When traveling in Japan I was shock how good or okay their broken English is and I was able to understand them.

Again to you Japanese people who are reading this… not everyone in America or any other countries speaks perfectly, so you do not have to worried or ashamed, just let your pen pal know and if they don’t understand or want to work with you than get a new pen pal after the 3 rd message keep them or move on without prolonging it.

I have to agree Americans are straightforward or direct. We speak our mind and do not play games with people. But from an American point of view who love Japanese culture, what pen pals from Japan are doing is like playing games with their American pen pal. Because we the foreigner try to understand what we did wrong when it’s you pen pal Japan who are the ones at wrong.

I say stop the smiling, stop the trying to please your pen pal, and stop playing the head games… just say NO.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. see not that hard to type and not hard to say.

If you continue to do this meaning stop replying or not being straightforward with your pen pal, more and more foreigners who learn about this will not take you people seriously.

This is not directed towards you purplewood, I agree with you with the enthusiastic and “English and it took really long time to make English sentences”
by ThatGuy (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/14 02:28
I'm adding something to ThatGuy's post:

Some forumers here reply that, the reason why Japanese will never say "no", is because "they don't want to lose face".

Well someone can explain me why "saying NO" is losing face ???

According to most of people, being frankly, saying NO, is more bravery than shame.
If there are Japanese forumers here who want to reply to this post, maybe you can briefly explain why "saying NO" is "losing face"...

In Western cultures, I think that saying NO is seen as an act of bravery. Because saying NO is painful ALSO for the person who says it (imagine that you have to say NO frankly to someone... you won't feel good to say it). But after you said it, at least you know that you have been strong, you have told the truth. At least your words correspond to your acts.

In Western (but also Middle-Eastern, China,..), saying NO is like saying "I'm not your slave, I want to tell you what I really think about this, and you will not force me to agree with you".
That's not losing face at all. On the contrary, that's a great act of bravery (and sometimes of stupidity) to say NO to someone.

I wrote all this because I really want to know why saying NO is associated with "losing face".

Do you think that's correct to think this??
by izquierda rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/14 10:49
why "saying NO" is losing face ?
Losing your face, not my face.

if we are on business, after the negociations, Japanese say "I will bring this subject(problem) back to my company, and re-consider it with my boss."(会社に持ち帰って検討させていただきます)
This means that we can NOT get the agreement, and may not be continue this business. sometimes that might be the final conclusion, and no more next step.
If Japanese say "I try to think about this positively.(前向きに検討させていただきます) This means that the negociation is close to the agreement.
those are not "tatemae" and something like idioms in Japanese language. those are something like "word play".

In the former case, a foreigner may think "they re-consider it and we can get more advantages". Oh, stupid foreigner !
If Japanese say "I re-consider it.", it means "You also re-consider it !".

among Japanese, one, who only use straight words, is recognized as un-sophisticated person. we have been learning many phrases, expressing our thinking, with no saying straightfowardly.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/14 10:50
why "saying NO" is losing face

I think "saying NO" is "making his/her lose face" in Japanese.
So Japanese want him/her to give it up before they refuse it.
by ajapaneseboy rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/14 20:05
In anthropological terms, there is such thing as "high context" and "low context" cultures.

I can't explain the whole concept here, you can just look it up on the web, but in simple terms, in a low context culture (like US, Australia, etc) the speaker is expected to be responsible to communicate directly and clearly. In a high context culture like Japan, the listener is expected to make out what the speaker is trying to say, based on the shared backgrounds, expectations, inferences, etc. High context culture speakers are not used to being direct and clear(becuase it is not comfortable to them) but expect that the listener understand what he is wanting to say by the hints he makes.

And it's not just about having to say no. I see a lot of cases where low context culture foreingers complain that their Japanese partner never tell them they love them. That's probably the number one phrase they feel very uncomfortable with for Japanese people.
by Harry Takeuchi rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/15 06:43
Here I video a friend sent to me that may help you all understand.


I posted it on the wrong board under travel I had too many windows opening and "oh no, it’s ThatGuy again..." you do bring up some interesting point and many others on here and izquierda who started this chat. Why do they make things so complex when dealing with western Japanese should be direct with western people who live there and travel there. Somewhere along the line I think Japanese should learn how western people are.

Ask yourself this question
You have a friend in Japan and you told them you will be traveling to Japan to visit and maybe you two can meet up.

Do you want him to give you an answer that sounds like yes?
Do you want him to give you an answer that does not say yes or no?
Do you want him to say yes and not meeting you where you two plan to meet or stop answering your message?
Do you want him to be honest and say no?

The answer is pretty clear for western person but what about for the Japanese who reading this?

Japanese people who live outside the cities I know they would not understand this because of less contact with foreigner but for Japanese people who live in big cities like Tokyo Osaka and other should understand foreigner because they are a lot of foreigner who visit and live in that area.

What the word everyone started to use in this forum “frustrated”
by SeikoSKO rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/15 16:31
English is not official language in Japan. Japanese have no frustration about getting any kind of world-wide informations. even if a highly technical science, they can get it in Japanese language. It is clear that Japanese should speak English more fluently, if Japan wants to make more contributions toward other worlds. However, it is also clear that individual Japanese in Japan can spend happy and civilized life without speaking any English.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/19 01:53
I must say that I've faced this issue mainly with the British - if you invite them to a party etc you NEVER know whether they'll show up or not as they would say yes but at the same time think no. As a Finn I find this extremely annoying, especially in this kind of context and I had to work hard to make my boyfriend realise that if he agrees to something, he can't back out again but a yes is a yes.
by Sari (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/19 05:53
I would definitely prefer the person to say "no" in that scenario of course. I can make other plans.

That aside, when it comes to westerners, I guess I do feel that the Japanese should be more direct with them. Honestly, I don't think I'll ever fully feel comfortable referring to some as a "friend" here because of the lack of directness. I feel as if I'm being lied to, and to me that's very hurtful and offensive. This goes beyond the "no" thing.

Japanese should share their thoughts an true feelings with westerners freely and openly. They shouldn't worry about how we'll feel in this regard, as we've grown up dealing with it and how to deal with it. We just go on about our day. We debate and share our viewpoints a lot...seemingly, but we know how to deal with differing opinions and if we can't come to an agreement, we "agree to disagree". Of course there are some who are bad at this and get vehement and offensive and resort to insulting people if the views differ, but we ignore those types usually. If they are like that then they probably lack intelligence. In a way, just like the Japanese, we do judge intelligence too by how one speaks, but that should apply to everywhere.
by SSJ Jup81 rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/19 13:20
SSJ Jup81 well said. Totally agree.
by ps (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/20 13:55
Why the japanese (or anyone from any place) should change how to act, or how to talk, to anybody just because they are speaking to the all-mighty americans? (i wouldn't say "westeners" because not every country in the west is the same as someone said about the british).
I think every country has their customs and nobody, specially someone from outside the country, can go and say: "the japanese SHOULD speak like that when they are talking to us westeners" (change the way you behave, just because you are speaking to us); that's very arrogant to say, at least.
by El sudamericano (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/21 13:06
El sudamericano

I believe no one here wants Japaneses to change their personality completely. However, when it comes communication, it is necessary that the sender and the receiver understand each other clearly. The way they talk to foreigners have to be more direct in order to succeed in communication. (I don't say westerner because I am asian. I get confused many times when I speak to Japaneses.)

by ps (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/21 23:41
Japanese only translate Japanese language into English, and speak. If a Japanese speaks English straightforwardly, this means that person speaks straightforwardly Japanese language to Japanese persons.
young Japanese, who have grown up in US (or other countries) for a long time, frequently have problems to adapt Japanese society, when they come back to Japan. All things, cultures, behaviors, thinking ways, etc. are closely related each other. you underestimate the significance of these things.
Personally, I don't want to be a Korean or a Chinese.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Why Japanese never say no? 2014/2/22 18:51
But no one here is saying you should be Korean or Chinese or Canadian, etc., just that it would be helpful if Japanese could approach foreigners slightly differently to help with communication and to help these visitors (if they are visitors) actually feel more welcome in the country or that we have made genuine friendships.
by SSJ Jup81 rate this post as useful

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