Useful Expressions for Arguing in Japanese

By Michael Gakuran | | Japan | 12 Comments |

Hop on over to the Japan Times to read my special feature titled “Mastering the Gentle Art of Arguing in Japanese” – an extension to last month’s Arguing in Japanese article. This one looks more at the sort of expressions you can use in Japanese to help discussions go smoothly!

Also, a big welcome to visitors coming from the Japan Times! If you’ve just landed here and don’t know what to do, why not check out some of the featured articles at the top of the gakuran.com homepage and follow me on Twitter for regular updates? If you just want to say hello, leave me a comment below or send an email. Let me know what I can do to help you :).

You can find the original How to Argue in Japanese article that I wrote here, as well as other related articles under the Culture category. I also blog a lot about the lesser known aspects and places in Japan under Secret Japan and often write posts about the Japanese language and my hobby of exploring ruins. Very occasionally I’ll also drop in a post about bioluminescence – that light fireflies and deep sea jellyfish emit!

To regular readers – a big thank you for all your support! The comments and feedback I receive continue to make blogging a real pleasure. The Japan Times article is in the print edition of today’s newspaper too, so send me a picture if you happen to see it! Here’s to good times ahead ^^.

12 comments on “Useful Expressions for Arguing in Japanese
  1. Tan Mell says:

    you're not Japanese so some things will be different. I'm not sure where the line goes, but when arguing ruins relationships because you're not doing it like a Japanese person would, I think it's partially the Japanese person's fault for not understanding where you're coming from.

    Having said that, now that I know how arguing works in Japan, I will consider that way of doing it when talking to a Japanese person. But if I was a Japanese myself, I just wouldn't expect a foreigner to know such a thing, hence take an understanding standpoint rather than a defensive one.

  2. yonasu says:

    Well yeah, if you put it in that perspective I get it. I wonder how Japanese businessmen do when they go abroad to discuss things with other companies…

  3. Gakuranman says:

    That's very true. Especially in mutual relationships between couples, I think it's important for both sides to try and understand each other's ways of thinking and debating, but imagine a business situation. If a Western company wanted to sell something and build trust in Japan, they are hardly likely to be in a position to ask the Japanese side that they should try to understand Western discussion techniques. I think situations like this, where the Japanese side has a smaller incentive to understand the Western side that are most difficult.

  4. yonasu says:

    Yeah I get that, it's definitely important to try and adapt to the culture of the country you're in. But you can't change everything, you're not Japanese so some things will be different. I'm not sure where the line goes, but when arguing ruins relationships because you're not doing it like a Japanese person would, I think it's partially the Japanese person's fault for not understanding where you're coming from.

    Having said that, now that I know how arguing works in Japan, I will consider that way of doing it when talking to a Japanese person. But if I was a Japanese myself, I just wouldn't expect a foreigner to know such a thing, hence take an understanding standpoint rather than a defensive one.

  5. Gakuranman says:

    Good question Yonasu. I think the focus is on us to adapt when in Japan. Likewise I would expect Japanese people to try and adapt to foreign cultures when they go abroad. Of course, it would be difficult to completely change one's attitude quickly when visiting another country, but it would certainly be a good start!

  6. yonasu says:

    Very good article Gaku! One thing I wonder though is why it's always we who have to adapt, I think it's important to understand both cultures and both ways of doing it. But then again, Sweden is a multicultural country so I guess I've had more experience dealing with people from all over the world…

  7. Gakuranman says:

    買ってくれてありがとうね!逆バーションも考えとくw。日本人からどう話したらいいのかな・・?

  8. Apple-chan says:

    今日The Japan Times 買ったよ! 
    逆バージョンの‘外国人との口論の仕方’があったら参考にしたいな★

  9. Gakuranman says:

    Ahh, I'm sure you'd get better at it. Like most things it takes practice :)

  10. Gakuranman says:

    Ahh, I'm sure you'd get better at it. Like most things it takes practice :)

  11. WC says:

    In America, I already don't have many friends because I'm too blunt and logical. In Japan, it appears I would be a complete outcast. ;)

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