An Analysis of the Controlling Function of National Culture in Product Choice Preferences of Japanese Consumers

L. Chamila Roshani Perera, Chandana Rathnasiri Hewege


The aim of this paper is to analyse the controlling function of national culture in regulating product choice behaviour of consumers. Japanese consumers showed signs of a high culture enabling remarkable economic achievements during 70’s and 80’s. Nationalistic feeling coming from this high culture initially favoured indigenous products creating a natural control of the influx of foreign products to the country. However, with the dilution of indigenous nature of culture, product preferences have begun to incline towards western products in general with marked preference toward American products. The Study investigates the controlling function of national culture on consumer product preferences relating to local products and products of western origin. The paper reviews socio-economic developments that cause changes in product choice behaviour and the process of western influence on the Japanese culture. Methodology used in the study is qualitative and it includes case analysis of individuals’ purchase preferences. In-depth interviews were conducted to unearth dynamics caused by cultural change and control function of the national culture affecting product choice behaviour. The study illustrates as to how national culture controls product choice preferences of Japanese consumers relating to Western products. The main implication is that by changing core values of national culture, product preferences relating to foreign products can be regulated and controlled.

Keywords: Japanese consumer preferences, national culture, controlling function of culture

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Contemporary Management Research / CMR / ISSN 1813-5498