3 Important Japanese Business Customs You Should Know!

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  • Different countries have different customs and manners and Japan is no exception to that. For the foreigners who are living in Japan, some things may be an unusual sight for you or you may not be familiar with certain practices. There are many customs and manners in Japan but in the business world, you need to be aware of these in order to give off a good, long lasting impression.

    1. Seeing People Off

    There is a custom of seeing people off in Japan which is usually seen in stores, hotels and sometimes even with house visits. This is an important thing for businesses because this is an expression of hospitality and the feeling of valuing the person you are doing business with. This is a custom that is both expressed to Japanese and foreign people and some Japanese consider it rude if they are not seen off by their host before leaving.

    2. Saying “Kanpai” Together Before Drinking

    Japanese business workers often have meals with coworkers, including people of higher position in the company in groups. Usually, women serve the drinks and once everyone has something to drink, everyone has to say “kanpai” (cheers) first before anyone can take a sip. This custom is because Japan is a horizontal yet hierarchical society and the people value seniority. The boss or higher-level person generally starts the kanpai and everyone else follows before taking a sip.

    3. Properly Handling A Meishi

    A meishi is what you call a business card in Japan. The meishi is a very important part of business and is treated with utmost care in Japan. There is a proper way of receiving and storing these cards. In Japan, you receive the meishi with both hands and you need to have a card case to place the meishi you receive as well as your own. It is considered very rude and unprofessional if you take your meishi from your wallet or pocket and may hinder the possible business transaction.

    Now you know some of the important business customs and manners in Japan. Do you have these in your country as well? Make sure you remember these when you’re working in Japan to make a good lasting impression for your customers, boss or important business transactions!

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