customer visits to Japanese genba

Becoming Part of the Team in a Japanese Workplace

The tenth presentation of our Succeeding in a Japanese Company telesummit is Adam Komisarof talking about Becoming Part of the Team in a Japanese Workplace. The presentation will be posted at 9 am Pacific on March 18th. To listen, please register at

Adam Komisarof is a veteran interculturalist based in Tokyo. One of his key interests is in how non-Japanese living in Japan can effectively integrate into Japanese workplaces and develop strong working relationships with their Japanese colleagues. He’s published two books on this topic, On the Front Lines of Forging a Global Society: Japanese and American Coworkers in Japan and At Home Abroad: The Contemporary Western Experience in Japan. He’s also active in conducting cross-cultural workshops for both Japanese and non-Japanese participants, and provides unique insights to our clients at Japan Intercultural Consulting.

Feeling left out of the team in your Japanese workplace? That’s a common sentiment of non-Japanese employees of Japanese firms. Japanese culture is group oriented, so teams become very cohesive. Which is a good thing, if you know how to integrate yourself into the group — and can leave you feeling out of the loop if you don’t. In this session we will be discussing with Adam how to integrate successfully into a Japanese workplace, without losing your identity in the process. We’ll discuss strategies for participation in group activities, how to be viewed as a reliable team member, and whether it’s important to be able to speak Japanese well.

During Adam’s call you will discover…

  • Why it’s so hard to break into a Japanese workplace, and how to finally become a member of the team
  • The most successful acculturation strategies non-Japanese have used in Japan to fit in
  • Examples of non-Japanese who have successfully integrated into Japanese work teams and how they did it
  • What if you don’t speak Japanese – must you learn the language or are there other methods of fitting in with Japanese workers who speak your language?
  • What “Going Native” means and what Japanese think of you if you do it
  • How to integrate into a Japanese work team without losing your identity
  • How to know when to integrate into a Japanese work team and when to stay a permanent outsider
  • Seasoned advice for non-Japanese who are trying to integrate into Japanese workplaces – what works and what to avoid at all costs