Cultural Differences in Conversational Strategies-Japanese and American University Students

Linda Viswat (1), Junko Kobayashi (2)
(1) Otemon Gakuin University, Japan, Japan,
(2) Kansai Gaidai University, Japan, Japan


This paper deals with cultural differences in conversational strategies between Japanese and American university students. Based upon a questionnaire distributed to 106 Japanese students with intermediate English proficiency and 97 American students, the paper examines specific problems caused by the differences in expectations, and identifies several culturally held values. At the same time, it also mentions individual differences in empathic ability, and suggests that people with intercultural or life experiences pass through perceptual changes over time. Then, it explores possible educational programs to help both Japanese and American students become aware of each other’s differing views and make adjustments to their conversational strategies so as to meet the other person’s expectations.

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Linda Viswat (Primary Contact)
Junko Kobayashi
Author Biographies

Linda Viswat, Otemon Gakuin University, Japan

Linda Viswat is a professor at Otemon Gakuin University where she teaches courses in intercultural communication. Her research has focused on sojourner adjustment, learning strategies of Japanese university students, motivation, and the development of a learning community.

Junko Kobayashi, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan

Junko Kobayashi is an associate professor at Kansai Gaidai University, Japan. She is the author of six English textbooks on intercultural communication.

Viswat, L., & Kobayashi, J. (2008). Cultural Differences in Conversational Strategies-Japanese and American University Students. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 8(3), 1–10.

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