Japanese Business Etiquette

In Japanese business etiquette protocol is very important during any type of business affairs. Even for foreigners there is still an expectation of at least some understanding of the business customs. Nevertheless, the Japanese are usually forgiving to outsiders that show an effort to understand the Japanese business etiquette. The Japanese host will often try to help in any way possible.

A conservative demeanor is advisable, as it is not customary for Japanese businessmen to be brash or arrogant. Arrogance will take away from ones trust and image, which will lead to a lack of respect from your Japanese host.

Upon the initial meeting with a Japanese host, one must honor the Japanese cultural traditions. This includes bowing before shaking hands. Your Japanese host will likely offer a handshake, at which point a handshake will be appropriate.

In Japanese business etiquette seating positions are very important as they are in indicator of status. The highest ranking person will sit at the head of the table furthest away from the door. Always wait to be seated, and never be the first one to sit down.

Show interest in the meeting and acknowledge everyone’s participation. You may want to take notes to help you remember the discussion. Taking notes will also make you look more attentive. It is very important to look as though you are interested in what is happening.

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