Cultural Differences Between Japan and the United States in Uses of "Apology" and "Thank You" in Favor Asking Messages

Hye Eun Lee, Hee Sun Park, Tatsuya Imai, Daniel P. Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Three studies investigated whether apologies and thanks are used differently when asking favors in the United States and Japan and examined whether their use makes a favor asking message less face-threatening. In Study 1, participants (N = 152) composed an email message for a favor asking situation. Next, participants in Study 2 (N = 634) and Study 3 (N = 417) completed one of four versions of a questionnaire regarding a prototype of an email message. Results showed that (a) more Japanese included apologies in their messages while more Americans used thanks and (b) Japanese considered apologies to reduce some face threats while Americans did not consider thanks to reduce face threats. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-289
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sep



  • apology
  • cross-cultural research
  • culture
  • face
  • gratitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Language and Linguistics

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