DISCREPANCIES IN COMMUNICATION STYLE: HOW PERCEPTIONS OF INDIRECTNESS IN COMMUNICATION AFFECTS INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS' IMAGES OF THE JAPANESE
 
Shigemasu, E. and Ikeda, K., The University of Tokyo, Japan
 
This study investigates how perceptions by international students in Japan of a discrepancy between their own communication styles and the communication style of the Japanese affects their images of the Japanese. Specifically, this study focuses on the "indirectness" in communication that is often said by international students to be a problematic characteristic of the Japanese. International students in Japan were asked to rate the degree of "indirectness" in both their communication styles and the Japanese people's, and their images of Japanese according to criteria such as "likable," "friendly," "understandable," and "trustworthy." As to "Likable," we hypothesized that not only those who perceived the Japanese communication style to be more indirect than their own style (INTLPN), would hold more unlikable images of the Japanese than those who perceived the same degree of indirectness in them (INTL=JPN). The following results were obtained. Compared to the INTL=JPN group, (1) "Likable": The INTLPN group both yielded more negative ratings, consistent with our hypothesis. (2) "Friendly": The INTLPN group yielded more positive ratings. (4) "Trustworthy": There was no significant difference. These results suggest that the discrepancy in international students' perceptions of indirectness affects their images of the Japanese differently, depending on the criteria. The effects of the discrepancy on the images were stronger than the effects of language skill and social network.