- ヒューマン・コミュニケーション研究 (ISSN:09137041)
- vol.38, pp.173-192, 2010-03-31 (Released:2017-11-30)
The purpose of this study is to reinterpret Japanese communication style, which has been explained based on the theory of Japanese collectivism. In many previous academic discussions concerning the Japanese, the people and society in Japan have been described as collectivism On the other hand, very few of the recently published empirical studies support the theory of Japanese collectivism. How should this gap be explained? It is necessary to examine principles of behavior to answer this question. This study is based on the assumption that humans are guided by the behavioral principle of fulfilling their interests, needs, and desires, including the five basic needs presented by psychologist Abraham Maslow-a notion the author refers to as "the pursuit of self-interest." It is possible to assume the operation of this principle of behavior on the basis of social exchange theory in psychology and rational choice theory in sociology. Even if a communication style that appears to reflect collectivist behavior is found, that may not be because the Japanese is pursuing the group interest rather than individual interest as has been explained to date, following the theory of Japanese collectivism. Instead, in attempting to meet a goal, the Japanese may be making a decision different from that of, for example, the American because of cultural factors that have developed historically and socially. Since it cannot be considered individualistic, the Japanese communication style has been considered by Americans to be collectivistic. However, if we assume -consciously or unconsciously- the fundamental behavioral principle of the pursuit of self-interest, it may be more appropriate to adopt a paradigm such as "self-interested cooperation" which is essentially different from the notion of collectivism as it is commonly understood by American people.