Ishin-denshin (以心伝心) is a Japanese concept of communication through unspoken implication. The term is often used to describe nonverbal, mutual understanding that takes place between two people and is supposedly unique to the Japanese.[1]

"Americans often pride themselves on "straight talk" and "telling it like it is." This is a turn-off to Japanese workers, who practice "ishin-denshin" -- communication by the heart. To the Japanese, the truth lies in the things you imply, and is not openly stated. Vagueness is preferred to precision. If you're too explicit with the Japanese, they take that as the mark of a know-it-all.[2]


  1. Pulvers, Roger, "Japanese betray some blinkered views of their foreign coworkers", Japan Times, July 4, 2010, p. 8.
  2. Nido Qubein. Cultural Diversity: Our Future.

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