LIST: 3 values Filipinos can learn from Japanese professional culture
Filipinos are more and more taking interest not only on learning the Japanese language but also their professional culture.
LIST: 3 values Filipinos can learn from Japanese professional culture
Gerald Dizon ( - September 23, 2020 - 10:37am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines, being hospitable to many trends and cultures, has often been observed as a melting pot of influences. Of late, those originating from East and Southeast Asian countries, such as Hallyu wave from South Korea, the resurfacing BL genre from Thailand, and milk tea and cha chaanteng menus from Taiwan and Hong Kong, all permeate our mainstream today.

One other country that has galvanized its position in terms of familiarity and public knowledge is “The Land of the Rising Sun” Japan. We have grown with and patronized their food and drink, manga, and anime over the years.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that more and more Filipinos are also taking interest in learning the language but also their professional culture.

Helping us deep dive into this interesting realm, Accenture Operations held a virtual talk last August 28 to showcase the most prominent features of Japan’s professional culture.

Entitled “Sessions with Sensei,” the virtual talk served an informative gateway into the Japanese business and professional culture. Here are some important lessons which we can apply in our own day-to-day and even professional lives.

1. Jounetsu

3 values Filipinos can learn from Japanese professional culture
Selah Filardo, service delivery operations associate manager at Accenture Operations, leads the discussion on The Multilingual Edge.
Screengrab from Sessions with Sensei

Jounetsu, which simply translates to passion, is a concept that resonates among the Japanese in the pursuit of professional and personal success.

In much of what people have found zest in doing, jounetsu is one that “pours out, shows our desire for life, our eagerness to grab, feel, and do,” said Selah Filardo, service delivery operations associate manager at Accenture Operations, during her presentation “The Multilingual Edge.”

“My Nihonggo journey, my jounetsu, started with a desire to absorb a culture, to live in a new world, and to be part of my dream community, which happened to be Japan,” she added.

Interestingly, jounetsu is also one of the pillars in Japan’s famous age-old ideology known as Ikigai or “reason for being.”

Ikigai goes hand-in-hand with jounetsu in one’s acknowledgment of the very thing that keeps one going every day, and with more direction. This is especially true for the younger generation who are constantly looking for meaning in their lives and professions.

2. Omotenashi

3 values Filipinos can learn from Japanese professional culture
Marvin Go, sales head of the Osaka-based BloombergNEF, puts Japanese business culture in context. 
Screengrab from Sessions with Sensei

Another integral part of Japanese business culture is the concept of omotenashi. This one proves to be trickier to pin down in English, but it roughly translates to “a tradition of exceptional hospitality.”

Omotenashi is about taking the extra effort to make sure that your clients are happy with the services that they are getting,” explains Marvin Go, sales head of the Osaka-based BloombergNEF and an external speaker to the virtual talk.

It is said to be deeply rooted in practices such as sado or tea ceremony, where the manner in which one takes care of guests is of utter importance. The concept has grown to encapsulate Japan as a country, and its mindset of being of service to a guest and provide care that goes beyond expectation.

Here, every gesture, utterance, and sheer attention to detail are all in anticipation of the needs of the customers and having a tacit recognition of their needs, even before they could mention it. Ultimately, it’s all about giving a sense of welcome to customers which leads to them having the best experience.

3. Omoiyari 

3 values Filipinos can learn from Japanese professional culture
The 'omoiyari' concept champions "harmonious communication with others."
Photo from / tirachardz

Another concept that’s been ingrained among the Japanese is one that’s called omoiyari, springing from two terms “omou” (to think and feel) and “yaru” (to do or give). In English, it roughly translates to “harmonious communication with others,” emphasizing on consideration or compassion.

In Japanese business etiquette, while omotenashi is more focused on customer service, omoiyari on the other hand is more preoccupied with “doing the best thing” among colleagues or coworkers.

It works the same way as in omotenashi in how one anticipates the needs of another; in the workplace, omoiyari can simply come to mean thinking head and doing everything one can in order to make working together more fluid.

“This concept is what makes the Japanese very good team players. Because when you’re in a team, every action that you take, you would think, ‘How would this benefit the team?’, ‘How can this impact the other people in the team?’, ‘How can I help the team work more effectively?’” said Go.

These ideal ways of behaving and communicating have always been characteristic of Japanese society that many of us could do well to emulate. On a larger scale, these principles not only foster politeness and collaboration, but also general respect among others.

Find success with Accenture

3 values Filipinos can learn from Japanese professional culture
In whatever path one chooses in their career, a little 'jounetsu' certainly goes a long way.
Photo from / tirachardz

For those looking to expand networks and grow professionally, navigating Japan’s business culture is key. No other institution can best inculcate these professional virtues and know-how, as well as cultural diversity, than Accenture.

Find endless opportunities in Accenture Operations, which is looking for the following:

  1. Japanese native professionals;
  2. Those who can speak, read and write Nihonggo (JLPT N1-N3) but don't have the technical knowledge on the project, they have the chance to learn a new skill  and make the most of their Nihonggo skills at Accenture;
  3. Bilinguals or multilinguals with specialized or technical skills (JLPT N1-N3);
  4. Those with or without specialization or technical skills but have the passion for quality excellence and want to grow professionally by learning about the Japanese language and culture; and
  5. Graduating students with or without Japanese language skills but have a strong desire to learn Nihonggo and are willing to undergo language training.

Through differentiated training, mentorship and formal language learning, the company has everything you need to set you on the path to success.


For more information, visit Accenture or email and use the subject line: Sessions with Sensei. 

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