Q Why do the Japanese call the other by title?

A The Japanese call people in their companies by the position they hold such as shacho (president), bucho (general manager) or kacho (manager). People holding high positions not only in their own company, but also in other companies with business ties to their own company are also called by titles.

This stems from the structure of Japanese society based on a pecking order where a superior-inferior vertical relationship in relation to the other is constantly maintained.

In American companies, superiors and inferiors are all on a first name basis which is not done in Japan. In Japan, the other must always be called by a title or by adding san (Mr. Ms. Miss) after the surname. Calling one's manager lchiro-san by adding san after his first name is rude.

In the home, a wife would call her husband anata (you, dear, darling) or by his first name. After the children are born, she would call him otosan (father) and he would call her okiisan (mother). In other words, the other is called by the role he or she plays in society. This method of calling by title or by role clarifies the relationship between oneself and the other and brings about an awareness of the position of the other, making unnecessary inconveniences less likely to occur. This is why the Japanese are said to be a people who revere harmony.