Wa (Japanese culture)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wa () is a Japanese cultural concept usually translated into English as "harmony". It implies a peaceful unity and conformity within a social group in which members prefer the continuation of a harmonious community over their personal interests.[1][2] The kanji character wa () is also a name for "Japan; Japanese",[3] replacing the original graphic pejorative transcription Wa "dwarf/submissive people".

Wa is considered integral to Japanese society and derives from traditional Japanese family values.[4] Individuals who break the ideal of wa to further their own purposes are brought in line either overtly or covertly, by reprimands from a superior or by their family or colleagues' tacit disapproval. Hierarchical structures exist in Japanese society primarily to ensure the continuation of wa.[5] Public disagreement with the party line is generally suppressed in the interests of preserving the communal harmony.[6]

Japanese businesses encourage wa in the workplace, with employees typically given a career for life in order to foster a strong association with their colleagues and firm.[1][7] Rewards and bonuses are usually given to groups, rather than individuals, further enforcing the concept of group unity.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Christine Genzberger (1994). Japan Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business With Japan. World Trade Press. pp. 155. ISBN 978-0-9631864-2-3. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b Susan C. Bauman (1 June 1994). In Search of the Japanese Spirit in Talent Education. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-87487-767-0. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  3. ^ Jonathan Rice (2004). Behind the Japanese Mask: How to Understand the Japanese Culture and Work Successfully with it. How To Books Ltd. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-85703-968-9. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  4. ^ Jason Helfer (18 December 2006). Proceedings of the 2004-2005 Midwest Philosophy of Education Society. AuthorHouse. pp. 135–136. ISBN 978-1-4259-9379-5. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  5. ^ Ian Neary (12 October 2012). War, Revolution and Japan. Taylor & Francis. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-1-873410-08-0. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  6. ^ Krishnamurthy Sriramesh; Dejan Vercic (10 September 2012). The Global Public Relations Handbook, Revised Edition. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1007–. ISBN 978-0-415-99513-9. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  7. ^ Heinz Weihrich; Mark V Cannice (1 April 2010). Management. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-07-070072-7. Retrieved 22 October 2012.