News Letter

News Letter – International Hopefuls+ #9

International hopefuls+
Issue 9
December 27, 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

On December 17th, I-HoP held a seminar “Writing for Academic Journals”.
It was divided into two levels, “Basic” and “Advanced”, both of them were a great success.
We re-recognized the high interest in academic journal writing.

Furthermore, many of the participants answered in the questioner that they hoped to have the seminar for academic presentation in English.
I-HoP is considering the presentation seminar or any other treatment for supporting your English presentation. Once details are fixed, I will inform you.

I Hope everyone has a nice holidays and peaceful year 2020… Happy New Year!!

2.I-HoP event information

Seminar for “Japanese Business Communication and Etiquette”:
On February 12th, 2020, I-HoP will invite 3 lecturers from Japan Airlines and hold a seminar in English regarding Japanese Business Communication and Etiquette. It will be useful for the preparation for job hunting in Japan.
More details and application will be open in January, stay tuned!

Seminar Outline:
“Japanese Business Communication and Etiquette”.
Date: February 12th (Wed.) 10:00-16:00 (estimated)
Venue: Frontier Research in Applied Sciences Building

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor Y. Iida

My dear International Researchers,
Let me explain the untold secret of the Japanese way of learning and mastering process. Many Japanese uses this methodology not only in the performing arts or cultural activities but also in the business environment or even in academia.
Lessons for playing piano, violin, or any sports, etc. would start with imitating the lecturer or the master. A professional coach or lecturer may explain what to do or guide you on how to do it until you come to a stage of performing without assistance. For the traditional Japanese performing arts such as tea ceremony, flower arrangements, or NOH play, the master would not “teach” or give lessons to the learners, and they urge learners to either steal or copy the performance of the master. “Do whatever I do until you can do the same,” is the standard rule in this environment. This stage of learning is called “SHU” or 守 in Japanese. SHU stands for keeping, protecting, or maintaining the tradition. The learner is supposed not to ask the master what or how to do, and will practice again and again until the master says “fine”. It takes months or even years until the master says so. If you try to do something different with your intention in front of your master, he/she will say, “it’s too early for you to do that.”
Once you have received authorization from the master to do it by yourself, you are allowed to add your version or interpretation. This stage is called “HA” or 破 in Japanese. The meaning of HA is breaking, diverting, or altering. In this stage, you may combine with other traditions or create something new of your own, yet maintaining the fundamental framework of the origin which you have mastered. Does it sound familiar to you? Yes, this is very similar to your study and research in the Ph.D. program. You will learn this new addition and will gradually prepare to establish a separate framework at this stage.
The last and the ultimate stage of the mastering process is “RI” or 離 in Japanese. The departure or separation is what it stands for. People regard you to be the origin of your style, not a copy or diversion of the traditional way, yet paying respect to the original framework.
SHU, HA, RI process is practically applied to various elements of the Japanese system. When in the business environment, it confuses people with different cultural backgrounds, like international talents. As stated above, the Japanese master, or your supervisor, in this case, would not explain (1) the purpose, (2) reason for doing so, or (3) evaluation criteria of your performance in a tangible language. Western culture usually prefers a piece of written essential information. Japanese businesspeople, primarily when they work with people with different backgrounds, must understand this significant gap in conducting the business.
The Western-style of management can be described in the order of RI, HA, SHU, which stands for:
RI: The vision setting
HA: Gap analysis and understanding of the difference
SHU: an Action plan for completing the mission
The Japanese style, however, has the benefit of being flexible and elastic in coping with the ever-changing environment. The chief brewer, for example, at a Japanese sake brewery, uses his 6th sense with information such as temperature and humidity to determine the mixture of the ingredients. There is no written manual for managing this entire process because the written word is too rigid to describe the ambiguous phenomena. Of course, AI, Artificial Intelligence and IoT, Internet of Things, would change this world of mystery. I will discuss the DX, Digital Transformation in Japan, next month.