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Japanese noren

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Traditional Japanese businesses

Japan is a country with old age customs and a rich culture of businesses and merchants that have been around for a very long time.

There are more than 50,000 businesses that are over 100 years old. Of those, about 4,000 of them have been running for more than 200 years.

As you can imagine, with a history of business stretching back so far, there are some interesting customs that have grown up traditionally in a number of fields of trade.

In this fascinating blog about business practices and language in Japan, Yanaka sensei introduces a phrase that is used in Japanese accounting and bookkeeping that really demonstrates the history well.

Please read the blog without Kanji help, and also with Kanji help to learn some Japanese business language And watch the video, which Yanaka sensei reads herself – to listen to fluent Japanese.

Japanese noren






To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 




Japanese noren

When I was studying bookkeeping, an item called “Noren” came up. “Noren” is an item that appears in the field of company acquisitions and mergers. For example, let's say that there is a shop that sells delicious pastry, and I decide to purchase this shop. And the amount of assets of the shop, for example, the refrigerators and oven, comes to 100 thousand yen. I could purchase that shop for the amount of 100 thousand yen, but this shop's pastries are really delicious and there are many people who come to buy their pastries every day. And the confectioner certainly has great skill. If I run a business on the Internet. And if I buy this shop, I can use the Internet to sell the pastries online and can gain more profits. So, I purchase this shop for 150 thousand yen. If I deduct the cost of the assets (100 thousand yen) from the amount that I purchased the shop for (150 thousand yen), then I can appropriate the left-over amount (50 thousand yen) as an item which we call “Noren” into the records. This 50 thousand can be considered as payment for the taste of the pastries and the skill of the confectioner.

The word “Noren” comes from the piece of decorative cloth that shops hang at their storefronts and it is a custom that comes from many years of business activities and has come to represent that particular shop's traditions and history of trust. And I think that the term “Noren” that appears in bookkeeping holds something close to these two meanings. Tradition, trust, taste, and skill are difficult things to express in a concrete form, but they are legitimate shop assets. I think the person who named this term as “Noren” had a really good sense of language. I wonder who first used this phrase. I would like to know so I think I will look it up a little later.

簿記(ぼき) bookkeeping

項目(こうもく) item

買収(ばいしゅう) acquisitions

合併(がっぺい) mergers

洋菓子(ようがし) cake; pastry

資産(しさん) assets

菓子職人(かししょくにん) confectioner

腕(うで) skill; ability

利益(りえき)を得(え)る gain a profit

計上(けいじょう)する to record; appropriate

対価(たいか) a consideration

店先(みせさき) the store front

布(ぬの) cloth;

長年(ながねん) for many years

営業活動(えいぎょうかつどう) business activities

伝統(でんとう) tradition

信用(しんよう) credit

立派(りっぱ)な proper

財産(ざいさん) property;

のれん (1) a shop curtain (2)credit; reputation (3)goodwill


Hajimemashite ! My name is Izumi YANAKA.
Through my work as a System Engineer, I have had the experience of teaming up with foreign members of a team. After seeing the difficulties the team members went through with communication and cultural differences, I got to thinking, "If only there was something I could do to help !" Which was what led me to become a Japanese teacher.

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What's the best phrase to say in this situation ? Is this grammar usage correct ?

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Once you are able to speak, it gets to be fun. It's not difficult, and not trying at all ! I will help you widen your Japanese speaking world. Let's enjoy learning Japanese together.

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