Basic Things To Know

Japanese Business Cards Etiquette

  • Japanese business cards are called "Meishi", and they are exchanged very often in Japanese business etiquette.
  • As a foreigner doing business in Japan, you are expected to have your business card translated into Japanese.
  • Make sure that your translated Japanese business cards are of high quality.
  • Japanese business cards are given at the beginning of any business meeting.
  • When presenting a translated Japanese business card, bow slightly and present it with two hands.
  • When receiving a translated Japanese business card, bow slightly and take the card using both hands.
  • After you receive your Japanese counterparts card, DO NOT put them in your pocket. Use a folder, card case, or briefcase.
  • In a business meeting, leave all of your Japanese counterparts cards on the table until the meeting is over. Make sure to examine them also.
  • Take good care of your translated Japanese business cards.

Social Interaction & Behavior

  • When you greet your Japanese counterpart, make sure you bow to them. Bow to the same height that they do.
  • When giving a gift, make sure that it is wrapped.
  • Try to avoid giving flowers as a gift. In Japanese culture these are certain flowers that are presented only in funerals.
  • In Japanese business etiquette you should not open a gift until you leave the meeting or event.
  • Always remove your shoes when entering someone’s house.
  • When sitting down in a restaurant or conference room, wait to be seated. Do not seat yourself.
  • When attending a meeting do not be the first one to sit.
  • Never point with your chopsticks or stick them directly into your food to rest them. In Japanese culture this is done during a funeral service.
  • Slurping of noodles and soup is customary in Japanese culture.
  • Do not drink alcoholic drinks directly from the bottle. Always request a glass.
  • In Japanese business etiquette drinking is a very common pastime immediately after work.
  • Always make an effort to pay for dinner, regardless of the circumstances.
  • If your Japanese counterpart insists on paying for dinner or drinks let them pay, but make an effort to pay.
  • In Japan tipping is not expected in restaurants.
  • Do not blow your nose in public.
  • Do not point with your finger or use excessive hand gestures.
  • The hand gesture for "ok" means money in Japanese culture.

Business Meeting Etiquette

  • Always be on time for any meetings. Punctuality is a very important part of Japanese business etiquette.
  • Wait to be seated when the meeting starts, seating is determined by ones status within the company.
  • Be very open and friendly during the initial meeting as the Japanese are very relationship oriented.
  • Do everything in your power to not refuse a request as the Japanese are looking for long-term relationships.
  • Make every effort to have any of your documents translated into Japanese if you plan on using them during a meeting.
  • Do not write in Red ink.
  • Always bring a gift, even if it’s a small one.
  • The Japanese rarely grant entertain counteroffers, both parties are expected to bring fourth their best offers.
  • Never raise your voice or speak with excessive hand gestures during a business meeting.

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