How gift giving relates to tradition and religion, what are its implications to consumer behavior, how the nature of the relationship between the recipient and gift giver becomes reflected in the act of gift-giving, are some of the questions which this panel will address.
While gift-giving practices are among the most universal patterns of reciprocity and exchange in any cultural setting, Japan is among the most quoted examples of a society in which gift practices follow extremely complex etiquettes of exchange and wrapping, as well as of the opening (or not) of the objects donated. Some history and folklore literature trace the development of these practices back to early moments in which people discovered the practice of offering the best parts of their game to supernatural beings or deities. In Japan, humanities literature pictures back the origin in the canonization of the Shinto religion. The human donated to the kami in the hope that he could influence the course of reality. From this to clientelism and political corruption the step is not too long. Today, gift-giving plays a big part in most of the important events of the social life of the individual in Japan. How this relates to tradition and religion, what are the implications of gift-giving practices to consumer behavior and to the business world in general, and how the nature of the relationship between the recipient and gift giver becomes reflected in the act of gift-giving, are some of the most relevant questions which this panel will address.