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Sarah Tapp

Sarah Tapp

Short Bio

Dipl.-Reg.-Wiss. Tapp was exchange student at Ryukoku University (Japan) and made two internships in Japan before she graduated in East Asian Studies from University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany). After her graduation she was the responsible sales person for the Japanese market in a German corporation. Her PhD project aroused from her work experiences and since 2011 she pursues her studies in the Faculty of East Asian Studies at Ruhr University Bochum.

Title of research

The paradigm of Nihonjinron: the alleged Japanese uniqueness and its impact on business relations between European and Japanese companies (supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ommerborn; co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christine Moll-Murata)

Short abstract of project

Many European companies are still failing to establish successful business relations with Japanese business partners in the long run. Albeit the Japanese government has cut down most policy-based barriers, foreign enterprises are still experiencing plenty of other obstacles. In a significant way, one of these obstacles seems to be the basic cultural thinking or moral concept, which can lead to miscommunication and might also prevent deeper business relations. The problem arising from this is the question why cultural communication between European and Japanese business actors still seems to be difficult and to find a key to this in the roots of Japanese culture and mentality and the historical experiences between “the West” and Japan. By use of the discourse of Nihonjinron (theorising the Japanese), which usually implicates the unique Japanese cultural identity and superiority to the rest of the world, and Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration the dissertation analyses the history of ideas between Japan and the West in the course of the centuries and backs up the results with a qualitative survey research with European and Japanese companies.