The nail that sticks up...
The difficulty of adjusting to American culture for Japanese business executives
by Diane Choi
Introduction In Japan, there is a saying, "The Nail that Sticks Up will be hammered down." In other words, people in Japan like conformity and try to restrain or avoid people who are unconventional and attract attention. The Japanese try to stay as similar to others as possible and are afraid to attract attention from others. This is one of the major national characteristics of the Japanese people. Due to the group-oriented nature of Japanese society, they often behave in a collective way. In contrast, Americans respect and value independent behavior, which also means that Americans celebrate and accept non-conformity. The different values that American and Japanese culture give to conformity vs. non-conformity creates special problems for Japanese residents in the U.S. To assimilate into American culture, the Japanese must learn to value and not judge independent behavior. However, the Japanese social system changed in recent times, and young people are now trying to be independent in behavior. Nevertheless, the older generation still looks upon non-conformity as an unacceptable form of social behavior. Therefore, for the Japanese people, and especially for the majority of Japanese businessmen who come from the older generation educated in the traditional conservative Japanese society, the task of adapting and assimilating into American culture has been difficult. The different outlook on the acceptable form of social behavior in Japan and America is not the only challenge Japanese immigrants face. The entire American culture is new and foreign to the Japanese. For the increasing number of Japanese businessmen who are sent to the U.S. as representatives of their companies, the culture clash has caused many changes in their lives. The language, family relations, social networks, religions and forms of education has all been affected in the lives of the Japanese representatives. The Japanese Consulate General Nishikawa states, "the increase in the number of Japanese company representatives shows the success and wealth of today's Japan, and have a great impact on local attitudes and perceptions toward Japan" (Nishikawa). When Nishikawa explained this fact to me, I suddenly realized that the Japanese representative community is relatively unknown compare to their success in industrial and technological activities. Consequently, I began to be interested in the Japanese representative community. Due to the fact that there is such a large number of Japanese companies in Torrance, I focused my research on the Japanese community in Torrance. Japanese residents in the U.S. There are about four types of Japanese residents in Southern California. The first group is the Japanese business representatives and their family member who have been relocated in Southern California by their companies. The second group is the students, researchers, and scholars who are residing in the U.S. on a temporary basis. The third is a group that has settled in the U.S. illegally. In the beginning, they came to the U.S. with temporary visas as tourists or as students but remained in the U.S. after their visas have expired. Many of them hope to live in the U.S. permanently and are employed in various occupations. The last is the group of Japanese-American citizens. Most of them came to the United States before World War II or prior to the 1960s, and now live as U.S. citizens, together with their descendants who were also born and raised in the U.S. The first group of Japanese immigrants is different from the last three groups in the sense that they did not come to the U.S. as economic, political refugees or personal motivations. They came to the U.S. for business rather then in search of an economically better life than could be found at home. Nishikawa from the Consulate General of Japan states that the accurate number of Japanese in Southern California is not available. However, according to a survey by the Consulate general of Japan, the following represents the known number of Japanese nationals found in three major counties in Southern California. Since the response rate of the survey was about 35 percent, it may be estimated that the actual figures are many times larger. Also within these groups, the most rapidly growing is the group of "chu-zai in"(Japanese business representatives). Los Angeles county 37,693 Orange county 5,383 San Diego county 4,116 Total 47,192 (Rafu Shimpo) According to this data, it can be seen that a large number of Japanese are concentrated in Los Angeles and its surrounding cities, such as Torrance. Relationship between the U.S. and Japan In the half-century which has passed since the end of World War II, the relationship between the United States of America and Japan has evolved from that of an uneasy alliance to that of a mutually-beneficial trade association within the international business community. A great deal of this is a result of Japan becoming a major power in the international business market and the technological field. Within the U.S., the relationship between southern California and Japan has been stronger than any other region in the U.S. Southern California is a place where one of the largest Japanese- American communities as well as the largest number of Japanese-owned businesses exists (The graphs and pictures in the following page). As a result, a large number of Japanese company representatives and their families end up being stationed in the United States. The difference between Japanese and other immigrants Similar to all U.S. immigrants, the Japanese have found safety in numbers: several major U.S. cities, especially Los Angeles and Torrance, now have tightly-knit Japanese communities, largely populated by employees of Japanese companies. By the 1990s about a half-million Asian-Americans including Japanese, were living in the major cities of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago which represents an increase from 300,000 (Light House) ten years earlier. The one major difference between Japanese and other immigrant communities is that other foreigners, such as the Chinese and Koreans, often come to the United States in order to open small businesses of their own, and plan on a permanent stay. The Japanese, by and large, are merely biding their time until their company transfers them and their family back to Japan. Nevertheless, even this may be gradually changing: "The three of four year tour (of a Japanese businessmen in the U.S.) is now five and six years, and some plan to stay 15 years. Japanese companies are lengthening the U.S. stays to cut expenses and to develop better expertise in the American market."(Ely 25) The cultural differences in work ethic However, similar to all new immigrants to the United States, the Japanese wind up facing a culture shock upon their arrival. Since many Japanese customs and lifestyles are quite different from those that of America, Japanese often find it a struggle to adapt. Of course, there is also the language barrier, which makes it even more difficult to adapt upon arrival in the United States. Therefore, living in the U.S., for Japanese businessmen and their families, becomes very harsh and stressful. For example, Mr. Fujita who works at a big shipping company, says that he had experienced many unpleasant feelings due to cultural differences. He states, "In the service industry, the attitudes of many American employees make me very upset. Because training employees in Japan is very strict, whatever the job is, the employees who have rude attitudes could be fired right away" (Fujita). Many Japanese in the U.S. has also experienced unpleasant situations due to the service of American employees. Personally, many of my friends have complained that they are very upset about the customer service of American employees. They stated that some American employees have not only rude attitudes but also do their work very slowly even though there is a long line waiting for the services. I believe that these impractical customer service attitudes come from a lack of team spirit and group loyalty. When most American workers come to work each morning, it is not with the intention of doing his or her best for the company. Rather, such a worker is not likely to have anything more in mind than the salary which he or she is expected to receive in return for a given number of hours of work. This attitude may help to explain why the United States has in so many industries proven itself unable to compete effectively with Japan. This does not by any means imply that American workers are lazy, since when properly motivated, they can work as productively as the Japanese. In comparison, Japanese companies are usually very strict with their employees. Thus, the Japanese work very hard and they often spend weekends at a retreat run by the company. As a result, many Japanese businessmen end up being very tied to the company due to the fact that the company becomes their way of life. Thus, Japanese cannot quit or change their place employment as readily as the American workers. Overall, the Japanese worker has much more to lose. It is difficult to decide which system (Japanese or American) is better. However, it can be said that the Japanese are working for their companies and Americans are working for themselves. The many differences between Japanese and western traditions manage to present a culture clash, if not a problem, for the Japanese. For example, Japanese are, on the whole, a very polite and quiet people which means that they are bound to stick out at least a bit in a city such as Los Angeles. Additionally, Japanese men have found themselves surprised by the fact that junior business executives are permitted to speak up at business meetings because in Japan, junior business executives are not allowed to speak up at business meetings. Or, by the fact that after business-drinking is recreational, nor an obligatory ritual: or even that Americans find it customary to smile when they greet each other unexpectedly on the streets. Such customs, simple to Americans yet potentially confusing to the Japanese, do not help in getting them to attempt to mix with Americans during their stays in the U.S. Mr. Fujita states another cultural differences that Japanese face when dealing with American businessmen, "In Japan, we are taught to always be humble. Even in the work place, if I am asked if I have knowledge about a certain field or language, I am supposed to answer very humbly that I know little about the field even if I am an expert. With this kind of cultural upbringing, I have had a difficult time with Americans. Americans would ask me about my expertise in certain areas, and I would answer that I know little that I have only some knowledge. It doesn't mean that I have a lack of self-confidence or lack of expertise. It is just matter of the culture, but the American businessmen underestimate my status or expertise. This kind of cultural difference led to many misunderstandings with Americans" (Fujita). Mr. Fujita's statement has a familiar ring to many Japanese immigrants and businessmen. Japanese businessmen were educated by strict parents who became very conservative by experiencing World War II and its losses. Japanese society still teaches children to be humble and not to be arrogant. I believe that Mr. Fujita's statement is very agreeable to Japanese. I am also sometimes misunderstood by Americans. I am just trying to be humble, but some Americans misjudge and end up underestimating me. The problems within the family and the community Because many Japanese representatives struggle with cultural differences, and emotional stresses in the U.S., their companies try to fulfill the needs of the representatives. One way of compensating for dealing with the cultural differences is by providing high salaries for the representatives. The average income of Japanese representatives in relatively high around $80,000 per year (Rafu Shimpo). Most of Japanese representatives are sent to the U.S. with very reasonable conditions. Their companies provide housing in exclusive neighborhoods and luxury automobiles for employees. Therefore, the most of the Japanese representatives who works in Torrance have a company-provided residence in Parlos Verdes, an exclusive residential district. Also many of them drive luxury automobiles such as Mercedes-Benz, and even some of their children drive Mercedes. Therefore, it may seem that their stay in the U.S. is very comfortable; however, Japanese representative families have many problems. One of the major issue is children's education. Since Japan is a rather family-oriented country, many Japanese business representatives arrive with children. However, the Japanese education system is typically more advanced than that of the United States. As a result, many Japanese fear that their children will have fallen too far behind when it is time to return to Japan and possibly not be able to attend higher education in Japan. "The new (Japanese) arrivals (in the U.S.) and their families are faced with a wide cultural gap and different educational systems. But knowing that they typically will return home in 3-7 years, many said, they wonder whether to struggle across the gulf or that refuge in frequently large expatriate communities" (Kats and Togo). Thus, some Japanese businessmen transferred to the U.S. leave their families in Japan in order for their children to experience a proper Japanese education. "Some Japanese parents feel that their children's education will suffer if they are required to learn and study in English" (Schlosherg 50). If American and Japanese education systems are realistically compared, however, it may seem as though their concern is justified. "American schools. are often a year of two behind their Japanese counterparts in crucial subjects such as math and science"(Tifft 92). "Mathematical standards at American schools are significantly lower than in Japan. and children must do hours of extra homework to master such subjects as Japanese history and languages. Many parents express concern that a poor command of Japanese will harm their children's prospects when they apply to colleges and enter the obligatory corporate-recruitment race back home" (Kats and Togo 28A). Increasingly, more and more Japanese students living in the U.S. are receiving a Japanese education through an increasing number of Japanese school located in the U.S. The first such school was opened in Sweetwater, Tennessee in 1979. A similar school opened in Cincinnati, which includes students of ages ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade, saw its enrollment more than quadruple since opening its doors in 1983. Moreover, there are not only three full- time Japanese schools but also about fifty Japanese cramming schools and music schools in Torrance. There are three full-time Japanese schools in Southern California, and all three of them are located in the Torrance area. The most famous school is Nishiyamato Gakuen (Nishiyamato Academy of California). They have kindergarten, elementary, and junior courses. The teacher of junior course, Mrs. Sakurai says that business representatives who know that they go back to Japan within 5 years usually do not transfer their children into the American schools. However, due to the fact that there is an entrance exam to get into such full-time Japanese schools, and the number of the students is limited, some children attend Japanese supplementary school after American school. The educational competition in Japan is very competitive, and most parents fear if their children can not get into prestigious schools which will jeopardize their children's chances of landing prestigious jobs in future. Therefore, most representatives' children are forced to go to either full-time Japanese schools or Japanese supplementary schools. In such full-time Japanese schools, Japanese parents can rest assured that their children will get a typical 35-hour-a week Japanese high school curriculum including five classes each of English, math and Japanese and four hours of social studies and most of the classes are taught in Japanese. While Japanese education in such schools is reproduced as closely as possible, the overall disciplinary structure of such school is also somewhat less strict than it would be in Japan. For example, the students of the Japanese schools in the U.S. may be allowed to pierce their ears and wear trendy hairstyles, but those acts of individual expression is forbidden for students in Japan by Japan's lockstep education system. This is not the only inroad which western culture and ideas have made on the U.S.-based Japanese community. However, it is a very demanding schedule for the children to attend both Japanese and American schools. A 12 year old girl, Maiko says," I sometimes feel like I'm a studying machine." Maiko attends both Japanese supplementary school, Asahi Gakuen, and America school. Her daily schedule is harder than her parents. Maiko wakes up in the early morning at 6:30, and she attends the American school. After finishing American school around two o'clock, she heads to the Japanese school from 3:30 till 7:30. "It is even hard for me to make friends because I have no time," says Maiko. "After I get back home, I have to do both American and Japanese homework." Maiko also said that it is just as difficult or even more so than living in Japan. Her family is planning to go back to Japan within 2 to 3 years, and she is now preparing for the high school entrance exam. In Japan, education is compulsory up to the end of Junior high school, and students must pass the entrance exams to get into high school where he/she desires to attend. Even in the U.S., Maiko has to struggle with the Japanese educational system. I believe that Maiko's demanding schedule is not only to benefit her future. Japanese parents worry too much about keeping up appearances in front of other parents, cause the stressful educational situations for their children. Culture shock is also an imminent problem for Japanese wives who come to the U.S. with their businessmen husbands from a country and culture in which women, for the most part, are still expected to be seen and not heard. As a result, Japanese housewives rarely have jobs and generally end up speaking English less fluently than their husbands or children. Many do not even drive cars and often restrict their shopping to stores and businesses geared specifically towards Japanese customers. Many such women view their American counterparts as being spoiled for not having to adhere to such staunch traditions. Staying in the U.S. is thought to be very comfortable, but some Japanese housewives of representatives in the U.S. are going through such hardships as harassments by other wives of representatives. According to a Japanese weekly magazine, Bridge USA, they have received several reports from Japanesehousewives about harassment. These harassments between business representatives' wives are increasing in number each year. The harassment or bullying the weak is a very serious problem in Japan. This problem is not only between children but also between adults. There are many cases of suicides of Japanese due to harassment at the school or the work place. However, even in the community of Japanese business representatives in the U.S., this problem is spreading. For example, the wife of a Japanese business representative who works at a construction industry, Shinohara reported her unpleasant experience of sly harassment by other wives. "One day, I was invited to the party by Mrs. Yamada whose son attends same nursery school with my son. At that time, I did not have any friends because it had been only a short while after I came to the U.S. So, I cooked special Chirashi- zushi (a kind of sushi), and ordered Japanese toys from Japan because Mrs., Yamada told me to do so. And I went to the party with my son. But nobody was there when we got to the place where I was told to come. My son and I waited for about an hour, but nobody showed up, so we went home. When we got home, my husband told me that Mrs. Yamada has called. So I called her back and she said, "Why didn't you come yesterday? I told you that the date had been changed. We were waiting for your food and the Japanese toy. You shouldn't do this to us." I kept telling her that she did not tell me about it, but she did not listen to me. A few weeks later, another woman told me that the whole thing was just set up by Mrs. Yamada. She also told me that Mrs. Yamada was the leader among the group of the wives, and Mrs. Yamada plotted it to trap me. Mrs. Yamada was going to let me join the group of Japanese wives if I apologized to her. Mrs. Yamada didn't like it when I talked back to her. Since Mrs. Yamada was the leader, everyone turned the cold shoulder on me. I think everybody had to follow her to not to be the next target. I was just so disappointed about this whole thing."(Shinohara 112) Even though this case was very childish, when similar situations are experienced repeatedly, it could become very stressful. There are different kinds of reasons for bullying among wives of representatives. Dr. Matsuoka, psychotherapist who handles these problems says that the reason is most likely jealousy. People who speak good English, have many American friends, go to graduate school or have good families and good looks easily arouse feelings of jealousy. (Matsuoka 113) Since the Japanese representative's community is small compared to other communities, people who attract attention stand out. As I mentioned before, some Japanese try to hammer down the nails that stick up and those Japanese just try to be same as others and try to stay out of the trouble. Misunderstanding between parents and children due to different cultural upbringing is another common problem for representatives' families. Children are more flexible and adapt to American culture and language more easily than their parents. Children often become Americanized in a short period of time. Therefore, many parents say that they have a hard time understanding their children. Even after returning to Japan, it is hard to improve their relationships. As a solution, many parents try to spend more time with their children, but children do not realize how deeply concerned their parents are about them. Also, children want to become independent of their parents at early ages, making the efforts at closeness by the parents and fruitless effort. Mr. Katsuragi, who works at a trading company plans to go back to Japan within a year. Mr. Katsuragi says, "I'm thinking about leaving my daughter in America." His daughter, Yukiko is 17 years old and attending Torrance high school. She has received both American and Japanese education in the U.S. Mr. Katsuragi and his family came to the U.S. 8 years ago in 1990. "My daughter wants to stay in the U.S. by herself. I persuaded her to go back to Japan with us, but she didn't even try to listen to me"(Katsuragi), Mr. Katsuragi said. Mr. Katsuragi also stated that he is dissatisfied with his daughter's Americanized attitudes. In Yukiko's view, her parents are too traditional. "My parents don't try to listen to my opinion and try to educate me in a traditional Japanese way. They want me to obey them and do whatever they way. I'm not a machine, I'm an independent person," said Yukiko. When I asked her why she wants to stay in the U.S., she said, "I just want to finish my university education here. I don't want to go back to Japan now. There must be bunch of people living in Japan just like my parents." Trying to educate children in a foreign country, it seems parents become more behave conservative than they would have in Japan. Yukiko also stated, "You know what ! Every time I bring my American friends to my house, my parents try to avoid my friends. They are always trying to keep themselves only in the Japanese community, and do not try to get involved with others." The Japanese business representatives' community provides a somewhat of a support and feeling of comarady to newly-settled Japanese families; however, like Yukiko states, the community can also hinder and limit contact between Japanese and Americans. The completed Japanese business community The reason that many Japanese often find it a struggle to adapt to American culture is not only due to many Japanese customs, and lifestyles being quite different from those of American, but also the existence of perfect Japanese community in the U.S. hinders adaptation of American culture. For example, as Kats and Togo describe Cincinnati, Ohio which is a fairly typical example of a Japanese community in an American city, "Signs of Eastern influence are everywhere--the usually good Japanese restaurant; the food store that sells tofu and noodles; the brace of social and commercial clubs that compete for attention; and the active exchange program with Gifu, the city's Japanese sister city" (Kats and Togo A28). Since many Japanese live in the United States for business purposes, such local communities often develop in locations in which transportation to common offices is easy and convenient. In Fort Lee, New Jersey, for example, "the Japanese settled here for the most practical reasons. Fort Lee, anchoring the west end of the George Washington Bridge, makes it a quick zip into Manhattan or out dozens of Japanese corporate offices..scattered about the north Jersey suburbs" (Ely 24). Naturally, such communities are filled with businesses such as Japanese restaurants and grocery stores designed to provide such Japanese people with a sense of home. In comparison, a shopping center "Yaohan Plaza" in Torrance, the main supermarket for Japanese representatives, provides not only Japanese foods, but also it provide a mood of home country. "It's a sprawling shopping complex - a mecca (best place) for Japanese seeking the comforts of home. A supermarket carries all sorts of Japanese staples and delicacies, including fresh fruit shipped in by air freight. The cashiers are American, but almost all the shoppers are Japanese..A food court offers an array of Japanese dishes, while satellite stores offer from golf gear to Japanese books to the latest electronic gadgets from Tokyo." (Ely 24) In Torrance, there is a large number of Japanese companies. According to a survey by the Business Promotion Center, the number of Japanese companies in the U.S. as of October 1991 totaled 6,911. "California topped other states with 2,032 companies, three quarters of which are located in Southern California around Torrance area"(US-Japan Business News 1992). Also, about a hundred of Japanese restaurants and supermarkets exist in Torrance. These markets and restaurants complete the daily lives of the representatives and their families. Also there are seventeen Japanese banks in Los Angeles county. "As of 1988, eight of ten largest foreign banks in California were Japanese" (Aoyama). In addition, the Los Angeles area offers a variety of forms of Japanese language mass media including daily newspapers, weekly magazines and radio and TV broadcasts. These publications and programs are mainly targeted to Japanese businessmen because the information from Japan is necessary for them. However, this completed environment sometimes gives a bad influence to Japanese business representative's community in Torrance. Whether it's because of the culture gap, their own traditions, or the fact that their stays in the U.S. are usually limited, Japanese representatives typically do even less socializing with Americans and others (other immigrant groups in large cities). "The Japanese try to remain invisible.(they) remain a world unto themselves. The corporations that bring them (to the U.S.) do little to help them embrace the American lifestyle. Some don't even learn English. The men live just as they would in Tokyo. Returning from the office, they either go straight home or haunt the local Japanese sushi houses, playing Mah-Jang and singing karaoke and talking business deep into the night" (Ely 24&25). In addition, one benefit of American life was already here waiting for Japanese businessmen long before they ever arrived on out shores: golf. The sport is a largely popular form of recreation among men in Japan, who find that in the U.S., it's not only available but far more accessible than it is in Japan. "Virtually every Japanese executive cites inexpensive golf as a bonus of life in America, (where) they might pay $15 for a round, while club memberships in crowded Japan typically starts at $100,000" (Kats and Togo 24). Due to this completed Japanese community environment, the Japanese people withdraw into the community. Cmmunity groups and organization There are several community groups and organizations which support Japanese representative's community. One of these organizations is the Christian church. Many Japanese have begun a flirtation with Western Christianity, and have started to attend church services at various denominations. "Although Christianity is not widely practiced in Japan, about 185 Japanese-American churches currently operate in the U.S.," (McDonald and Uttley 60) and about 15 churches exist in Torrance. Most of the Japanese who are attending churches are Japanese-Americans (who emigrated to the U.S. since early times ), but a number of Japanese (who came to the U.S. recently, such as representatives) is also rapidly increasing. Priest Kurihara says that many Japanese representatives' families attend church service to get involved with other Japanese. Also attending church with the family helps to decrease the gap between parent and children. Although Christianity in Japan is not popular, it seems like the church in the U.S. has become a convenient place for Japanese business representatives to socialize and form relationship with the Japanese local community in Torrance. Unlike the U.S., Japan has traditionally considered public welfare to be primarily the government's responsibility. However, many Japanese companies in Southern California have recently became actively involved in making their own contributions to educational institutions and community programs for Japanese business representatives. The major supporting organizations for Japanese business representatives are JBA (Japanese Business Association) and JCC (Japanese Chamber of Commerce). JBA is established in 1961 with 48 initial member firms. Nevertheless, JBA has more than 500 corporate members or most of the Japan-based firms doing business in Southern California now and more than half member companies exist in Torrance. JBA is the biggest Japanese organization located out side of Japan. Members of JBA are made of board of directors from major Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsui etc. They promote trade between the U.S. and Japan and maintain good relations between its member companies and community. To improve Japanese business community, JBA also promotes charity fair and supports Japanese Matsuri (festivals) for community to get to know each other better. Also some companies have established foundations specifically for charity purposes. According to a 1991 survey by the JBA and JETRO, the rate of JBA member companies participating in some kind of charity activity grew from forty-three percent in 1988 to seventy-two percent in 1990. The main targets of contributions include local police stations, the United Way, and educational institutions. The following is a list of major contributions made by Japanese companies 1988 through 1992. Company Name Amount Receiver Toyota Foundation......$220,000 UC Davis, Hearing Research Institute and other organization Marukoh Group......200,000 Los Angeles Homeless Association Toyota U.S.A.......1,000,000 Hospital, medical center, (over five years) Volunteer Center in Torrance Kyocera and other companies.3,250 Scholarships for San Diego University students who study Japanese Honda U.S.A........100,000 UCLA Foreign Student Center " .........77,000 Technology For Result In Elementary School US-Japan Gateway Committee..3,250 San Diego State University (organized by the presidents of Seiko, Fuji Xerox, Kyocera, and others) Yasuda Scholarship....150,000 Scholarships for underprivileged children in Los Angeles Hitachi (Los Angeles).....25,000 Black University Foundation, Huntington Library, etc. Suntory International.....1,000 Japanese American Retirement Home in Los Angeles TEAC........American gifts Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (VCR) Japan Business Assoc.....60,000 Orange County Education Committee (Orange County) Epson American Japanese Group of 300 Japanese companies..1,850,000 Torrance Civic Center garden, United Way Japan Business Assoc. ...5,000 each Scholarships for American students to study in Japan and for American teachers to visit Japan " ....40,000 Sough Bay Youth Program " ......5,000 Japanese American Retirement Home " .....350,000 Various educational programs " .....105.000 Public Schools in the South Bay " .....200,000 Local Schools Toto Kiki U.S.A. Inc. .....gifts Santa Monica city (toilets for low income housing) Universal Contract Interior..3,200 Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Group of 32 Japanese Companies ..163,000 Homeless Facility Building Foundation Group of Japanese companies in San Diego...........480,000 San Diego State University (a building for an international program) ( Source: US-Japan Publication Corp.) Some of these efforts have also been recognized by the American community. In 1990, Hitachi was awarded the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce's Medici Award, an award given to the companies which has made the greatest contribution to Los Angeles cultural, educational, and artistic activities. Japanese business organization are providing support for not only Japanese business representatives, but also are trying to maintain a good relationship between American society and Japanese business representatives. Conclusion In conclusion, the natural Japanese inclination to conform with society is complicated by the American culture's value on non-conformity. Additionally, Japanese business representative's community has become very convenient. In their community, business representatives are able to make their stay in the U.S. very comfortable even without using English. As a result, they created locked up system among their community. Many believe that they are safe and protected by the community as long as they stay within the community. Therefore, they do not try to get involved with Americans or other races. It is true that many problems among Japanese families and the American community is due to cultural differences. However, I believe that Japanese national characteristics which is unwilling to accept the unconventional (because the sticked up nail will be hammered down) and try to be same as others, makes the problems of assimilating into American culture more difficult. To solve their problems, the Japanese immigrants must learn how to embrace change. I believe one of the first steps towards adapting to American culture, is to get involved with and form a stronger relationship with people from outside the Japanese community. All in all, Japanese men, women and children do for the most part find ways of coping, whether it is by transplanting their own values and traditions or adapting to American ones. Japanese citizens with ties to their country's all-important business community understand just how important their time in the U.S. is, both on a personal and business level.