By: Meredith Erikson
More than anything, I cannot wait for this semester to be over with. No, not because I’m intimidated by this semester’s course load (maybe a little). Not because I’m celebrating graduation. It’s because I have the most wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Japan with the Mayborn School of Journalism. I can’t wait for the culture shock and more importantly, the food. I’ll be taking two classes, cross-cultural reporting and international public relations.
After doing some reading on “PR Week” I found that Japan’s PR industry is suffering a setback, due to the slow recovery of Japan’s economy. The country is relying heavily on their hosting of the 2020 summer Olympics to bring in money, which can’t be done without the help of some strong media strategies. What I found interesting about the country’s media is that although the circulation of newspapers has declined in most places in the world, print media is still influential in Japan. Also, television is strongly disliked because content is “repetitive, poor quality and uninteresting.” I note this as something to observe and to compare to U.S. media while studying abroad.
John Morgan, president and CEO of Asia and Japan at Hill + Knowlton Strategies had a few thoughts for the country’s PR industry as it is forced to evolve in the new economy. He discussed the change for Japanese public relations professionals to start following a similar method to integrated marketing, something they’ve been blocked from doing. Traditional Japanese communication definitively divides advertising and PR. With communication changing and broadening, I wonder if Japan will be willing to evolve from their traditional practices and converge with today’s modern communication. Even though I only have knowledge of U.S. PR communication to compare to so far, I feel that integrating will be really beneficial and the right move for them.
Morgan said that international firms would have the upper hand on “Japan behemoths” who often lack the skill set and international network to speak to non-Japanese communicators. I found this surprising because I thought this was something Japanese professionals would be proficient in. I was told most people there do speak English. In a thoughtful article on intercultural communication by Jovan Kurbalija, he explains how lack of knowledge of another culture can lead to embarrassing mistakes and could potentially offend people. I’m going to have to take a lesson in Japanese 101 to avoid this.
Tetsuya Honda, a managing director at Blue Current Group Japan explained that the Japanese PR market is in need of more PR expertise, more like Western countries. I think he’s just being hard on his field. No matter what, I can’t wait to learn from a different perspective of communication and to live in such a wonderful culture. Sayonara!
Benjamin, K. (2016, January 20). Country Case File: Gentle optimism for Japan’s PR industry as economy begins slow recovery. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.prweek.com/article/1379806/country-case-file-gentle-optimism-japans-pr-industry-economy-begins-slow-recovery
Kurbalija, J. (n.d.). Intercultural communication. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from http://www.diplomacy.edu/language/intercultural-communication