THE KATA FACTOR! Japan’s Secret Weapon!


By Boye Lafayette De Mente

Japan’s traditional culture was a mixture of the native religion [Shinto, the Way of the Gods] combined with the technology for producing arts and crafts and the form of behavior that had originated in ancient China

 The Japanese institutionalized and ritualized both the technology and this form of behavior and eventually began referring to it as shikata [she-kah-tah], which means “process” or “way of doing things.”

 Kata became the semi-sacred Rosetta stone of Japan’s traditional culture – the key that unlocked both the mystery and the mystique associated with how the Japanese did business and conducted their personal and professional affairs.

   Expressed another way, kata were the cultural molds that created and controlled the traditional behavior of the Japanese and were the source of both their strengths and weaknesses.

   Still today all dealings in Japan are influenced by the kata that continue to influence the mindset and behavior of the Japanese, yet most foreigners are not aware that they exist.

    Knowledge of the kata strips away the cultural cloak hiding the Japanese from the outside world and reveals the essence of the famous Japanese Way.

    For foreigners to deal  effectively with the Japanese – in both personal and business matters – they must know when and how to induce them to break the kata molds and behave in a non-Japanese way.

   Younger generations of Westernized Japanese break the molds until they go to work, then they must conform to the kata that remain in whatever company they join.


This title was originally written in the 1980s before the Digital Age. It was converted to digital, updated, and uploaded to Amazon in August 2014. It is available in both printed and ebook editions from


Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia and Mexico since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the plague of male dominance and the moral failings of the U.S. and the Western world in general.

Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; THE MEXICAN MIND—Understand and Appreciating Mexican Culture; and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

 All of his titles are available from

Published in: on August 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment