Japanese Business Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts

Japanese Business Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts

Japan is a unique and fascinating country with a rich cultural heritage that has a significant influence on its business practices. For international companies expanding their business to Japan, it's essential to understand the Japanese business etiquette to build successful relationships with your clients and avoid cultural misunderstandings.

Here are some do's and don'ts of Japanese business etiquette that international companies should keep in mind when doing business in Japan:

Things you do that Japanese people would appreciate (Do's):

1. Bowing

Bowing is a traditional Japanese greeting which shows a sign of respect. When meeting someone for the first time, bow slightly and maintain eye contact. The depth and length of the bow may vary depending on the person's status or rank.

2. Exchanging business cards

In exchanging business cards, Japanese people treat business cards with great care as if they were the person themselves. There is a belief that "even objects have a soul". Business cards are an essential part of Japanese business culture. When exchanging business cards, present yours with both hands facing upwards, and receive the other person's card with both hands. Take the time to read the card before putting it away and keep it securely in your card case.

3. Being punctual

Being punctual is highly valued in Japanese culture. Arriving late even for just 5 minutes for a meeting is considered disrespectful, and it can damage your reputation. It is recommended that you arrive 5-10 minutes before the appointment time.

4. Bringing souvenirs

Bringing a small gift, such as a box of chocolates or a souvenir from your home country, is a thoughtful way to show your appreciation and build relationships with your Japanese counterparts.

Things you should not do (Don'ts):

1. Wearing shoes indoors

In Japan, it is customary to take off your shoes when entering a house. When you are invited to a home, take off your shoes at the entrance.

2. Casually touching others

Touching or hugging someone you have never met before is considered inappropriate in Japan. Keep your physical distance and avoid physical contact unless invited to do so.

3. Eating or drinking while walking

Eating or drinking while walking is considered impolite in Japan. If you need to eat or drink, it is better to find a place to sit down.

In conclusion, understanding the Japanese business etiquette is essential for international companies expanding their business to Japan. Japanese people will surely appreciate it if you follow these do's and don'ts and you can establish fruitful connections with your Japanese counterparts.

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