Comparison between the Japanese and the American Culture in the Gung Ho Film
Gung Ho is a movie that gives a candid parallelism that exists between the Japanese and the American culture. A movie explores the experiences of a Japanese company that has relocated to the America in search of perhaps better opportunity. The film through the experiences of the Japanese protagonist explores the challenges that they face as they are presented with a completely different culture from what they are accustomed (Howard et al).
Hunt who is an American but working in the Japanese company at times get in conflict such that thy even once engage in a physical fight in front of everyone. Ultimately, the two main characters learn the only way to survive in their diverse environment, is to cooperate and accept the cultural differences instead of being rigid.
One factor that stands out between the culture of Japanese and the culture of the Americans is their perception about work and teamwork. The movie is marked by the differences in their working ethics such hat Kazihiro who represents the Japanese culture is of the school of thought about the need to have the collectivism concept; The concept of working together to achieve a common goal. Duties are not taken as a particular person’s responsibility but as a collective duty for everyone to participate in. the Americans on the other hand are all about individualism. It is in their culture to value accountability for one’s action and everyone is expected to bare their own cross. They work best when the jobs are assigned and then they all work separately to achieve the miniature objectives that are thereafter combined to form the ultimate mission of the company. The Americans resist the concepts that Kazihiro presents to them, until Hunt, their fellow American compromises on adapting some of the ideologies as they proved to be productive and the company improved their sales (Howard et al.). The clash and the disagreement are however brought out by the fact that the people do not have the same culture and the difference brings about the differences. The Americans believe in the need for individualism and it is hence their culture. The Japanese on the other hand, believe in the need for collectivity as in working as a team, to achieve the set target. The movie however elaborates to the user the need for one to have the knack for accommodating other cultures albeit they may seem a tad inferior to theirs since they might have an answer to a problem that one has.
The clash between the two cultures also become clear when the workers differ on how some work should be done as in this case painting a car. The American and the Japanese culture have different way of doing things such that they go through a different method but they deliver the same work as they would done had they done the alternate way. Painting cars in this context is an important event as the people deal with the cars and something as one might perceive, as being inconsequential such as painting cars is an important venture. By Shimono offering to teach, the American Wendt how to paint cars it once again demonstrates the willingness of the Japanese to share their knowledge. The conflict that ensues portrays on the one need of the Americans to feel as if they are on the Lead as Hunt explains to Shimono (Howard et al.). The fact that the Americans are taught that their style of doing things is a superior move that should be honored makes one to see the difference in the cultures of the two parties. The people learn the impact that the Americans feel they give to the result of the world. The Americans feel that they have the best skills and Wendt even feels insulted that the Japanese worker would even suggest that they would even give their method a chance to be tried out(Howard et al). He feels given that the company has relocated to America then the Japanese should have no qualms in adapting to the way the Americans do their thing (Howard et al). When the workers resume their jobs once the two masters have resumed their jobs, Hunt wants the American workers to be reassigned their former jobs since they are familiar with the job descriptions (Howard et al). The episode in this case, elaborates to the viewer the need for the cultures to accommodate others given that at the end of it all they all need each other. The people do not need to learn to stick to their ways and instead should be open to chances as the culture of japan is. The American culture in his case is a rigid one that does not value the beliefs and the norms of the other people.
The familial values of the two people are also demonstrated as the people struggle to find a niche between the two cultures. For instance when the child of Willy is diagnosed as being sick, William sees the importance of taking the day off to keep the child company and to access the effects that the medication will have on the kid (Howard et al.). Soito on the other hand feels that it would be a loss of the input that the people so much need, as they would affect the work (Howard et al.). The Japanese culture in this movie implies that as long as a person is given the right medication hen that is what would eventually matter. it is therefore important to the viewer to learn about the importance of having a kid who the person sees the need to support them in all spheres. Just as Hunt explains to Soito, sometimes it is not the work that drives a person to do the work rather the reminder that they have dependants who need them for everything that they need to survive (Howard et al.). This means even the emotional support that the child needs to grow up in a supportive environment. The Japanese on the other hand as demonstrated by both Kazihiro and Soito is that the culture believes in the importance of sacrificing oneself to the fulfillment of the larger good. For instance, by William absconding work because of a sick child, he risks the company being bankrupt which would the affect a whole load of people and the families that they depend on the income that the jobs drew (((Howard et al.)), 2017). This episode once again shows the blatant difference that exists between the two cultures, the Americans believe in the need to protect what is theirs such as family and property even at the expense of the other people (((Howard et al.)), 2017). The Japanese on the other hand look at the impact that their decisions will have on the general public before indulging in the decision. The argument of Kazihiro is that since the disease is not a life threatening one, why should William risk the company being hurt by a trivial matter such as the tonsils of a kid being operated on (Howard et al.) 2017). The difference in their line of thinking, elaborates to the viewer the impact that the values and our culture can have on the people. the issue of individual responsibility and collective responsibility is candidly elaborated by the episode as everyone feels justified that their line of thinking is the right way of thinking.
The style of communication among the cultures is also different as the two cultures are really different from each other. the American style is a low context mode of communication given that the people are more for saying what one receives about a certain situation instead of using a lot of words to say the same thing that would be said in just a few ones. Consider the incident that Hunt wants to go look for the Partnership of the Japans In the car business venture. He does the pr4sentation that is apparently meant to convince the investors on the rewards of being involved in the businesses. When he sees that he is not going anywhere with the challenges, he then explains to the investors on the benefits of being involved with them in a curt and a blatant manner. He then promises of full cooperation of the Americans should they be interested in the venture. Given that the Japanese culture is one that is high context, their silence is meant to communicate to Hunt his willingness to venture in the enterprise (Howard et al.). He however perceives the action as one that has meant that he has failed in convincing the company. The difference in the way different cultures interpret non-verbal cues such as silence shows that it is very different. In some settings, the silence could be perceived to mean their acceptance just like in the Japanese boardroom (Ho,n.p). Silence in some other cultures such as the American can be in interpreted to mean reluctance. The variance in different cultures, hence demonstrates to the user, the need first to understand the culture before coming into assumptions just like Hunt had.
The high context culture of the Japanese, also insists on the importance of having cordial relationships instead of being right at the expense of the relationship (Ho,n.p). For instance, this incident is demonstrated when the American workers challenge the Japanese workers to playing a game. When the Buster, an American resorts to engaging in dishonest ways in order to beat them, the Japanese resorts to letting it slide instead of confronting them and ending up in an awkward situation. The issue of communication styles between the two cultures are sometimes in a constant clash as the people have different way of handling situations. When the men want to talk in confidence, they indirectly ask the women to leave by dropping hints that they would like to discuss business with Hunt, the Japanese women take cue, and leave but Audrey does not get it and even insists in being involved in the discussion. Kazihiro is not comfortable with the arrangement but he remains silent as he is reacting to a high context communication as being one that needs direct talk instead of twisting the information to suit their comfort (Ho, n.p).
The Americans also have a different perception on how power should be handled as they are the ones that are going to execute the decisions. It is hence important for one to look at the impact that the lack of involvement of the Americans in making decisions that they are expected to execute will have on the people. The Japanese on the other hand, feel that the people should only be informed of the process of the decision making if it only affects them. The Americans feel that their duty is to challenge the management on some decisions such as labor management decisions as they are decisions that will ultimately affect them, the Japanese sees it as a form of disrespect that they are questioning their bosses. The issue of ethnocentrism arises as each culture feels that their perception is the superior one and the other inferior (Ho,n.p). Such decisions are ones that are bound to affect the working relationship between the two parties.
It is however a relief that despite the blatant difference in the cultures, the two manage to find a central ground and become successful in their enterprise. The movie becomes a relevant one to the world especially given the rate at which the world is globalizing. By the characters finding a middle ground, they illustrate to the viewer that it is important to compromise while in business by weighing the options.
Howard, R., Blum, E., Ganz, L., Keaton, M., Watanabe, G., & Wendt, G. (2017). Gung Ho (1986).? IMDb. Retrieved 28 November 2017, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091159/
Ho, G. (2017). Gung Ho (Movie) American versus Japanese Culture. Hugh Fox III. Retrieved 28 November 2017, from https://foxhugh.com/tv-series-esl-discussion-questions/gung-ho-movie-american-versus-japanese-culture/
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