Kyushu University Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Global Society

Activity report


Special Lectures by Prof. Kimberly Jones, Arizona University


Bilingual Lecture provided in English and Japanese

 Special Lecture "Shared Norms, Polite Fictions, Cross-cultural Communination" attracted a large audience with lively atmosphere at the venue to nearly overflowing. Professor Jones bilingually offered variety of specific episodes to help the listeners understand the theme clearly and pleasantly. Many questionnaire respondents uniformly commented to show their wish to take a possible sequel to this lecture, impressed and inspired by the Professor's research presentation.


"Polite Fictions"

 "Norms" is meant to basically determine one's talk or action. "Polite Fictions", which are related to "norms", are something people unintentionally depend on in order to be consistent with common courtesy in the cultural socity that they belong to.(Sakamoto and Naotsuka 1982)
 Cross-cultural miscommunications often arise from a lack of shared "norms" or "polite fictions"about how speech and interaciton should proceed. In many cases, interactants tend to simply blame communication difficulites on the personal, ethnic and/or national character flaws of their interlocutors in the workplace.
 Prof. Jones introduced Japanese general manners in which they use a humble form and expressions toward outsiders regarding insiders such as their family or another personnel in their workplace. Their typical common sense to clearly divide internal and external sources was also explained with daily examples to highlight the differences between "norms" of Japanese and American spekers.


Cross-cultural Communication

 Furthhermore, many other episodes including Prof. Jones' own experience she had with her landlord during her study period in Japan were refered to, which indicated Japanese communicative manners to choose an indirect expression hoping for listener's appropriate inference of its real meaning.
 Attendants responses were active enough to give massive applause to the Professor with laughter in sympathy. The lecture showed that differences of "norms"could cause speakers to experience cultural shock. On the contrary, we also learned that it would help avoid risks of cross-cultural miscommunication for us to be aware of "norms " of our dialogue couterpart. After the lecture, many students remarked in the attendant questionnaire that they would make good use of the Professor's research method or this interesting theme for thier own study.




Kyushu University
Graduate School of
Integrated Sciences for Global Society

Global Project Office

744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka

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