Friday, 25 September 2009


There's been a little something that I've found a little perplexing about the writings I've been working with thus far. Basically I've been a little concerned about the dearth of citations and sourced statistics. This is something quite alien to me, and a little disconcerting in light of the work I had to put in with regards to citations in order to get myself published.

My good mate, who lives here in Tokyo, made a very interesting observation about my impressions. He argued that it's merely indicative of the fact that Japan is a high context culture. The fact that my boss is who he is, a man with a long history in the bureaucratic officialdom, gives him a level of credibility that makes citations unecessary.  His message is viewed in its context. Who is giving the message? What organisation does this person represent? What is this person's academic credentials? He also said that a lot of business and academic practices, coming from this cultural background, fall short of international standards.

I've been mulling this over a bit, first I wonder if this is in fact an accurate analysis of the cause of my observations. Second I've thinking a little bit about what I can bring to the organisation. As far as I know, my name will on the work I've produced. As I need the exposure to make this internship a beneficial investment, it is certainly not in my interests to put something out there that isn't ready for prime-time. More imporantly though, and what I think I'll have to argue is that it isn't in my boss' best interests either. I believe that I am correct in my belief that without sources, the English version of the chief's book I've written will be viewed with some interest, but that it will lack the gravitas that the chief will need if he hopes to influence the appropriate movers and shakers in the English-speaking world.

This has also made me think again about my role in the organisation. Am I wearing my evaluator hat when I make this observation? I just being myself, an enthusiastic employee? It's probably a mix of factors (complicates the idea of being a detached non-participant evaluator). Considering my context (young, less experience, non-Japanese) would my arguments be taken seriously? Can I even be seen as a qualified advisor and evaluator here?

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