Japanese Business Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts

Mastering Japanese Business Etiquette: Essential Dos and Donts for Successful Business Interactions in Japan

Japanese Business Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts

Master the dos and donts of Japanese business etiquette for successful interactions in Japan. Gain insight into customs and traditions rooted in respect and formality, and enhance professional relationships by immersing yourself in the culture. Follow these essential tips to create a positive impression and have happy business dealings in Japan.

Gaining insight into the customs and traditions of a country is crucial, especially when it comes to conducting business overseas. Japanese business etiquette is deeply rooted in respect, formality, and harmony. Without understanding and adhering to these cultural norms, your business interactions in Japan can become challenging. Lets delve into the dos and donts of Japanese business etiquette.

The Dos

  1. Bow as a Sign of RespectBowing is an essential part of Japanese culture. When greeting someone, bow slightly to show respect. The depth of the bow depends on the persons seniority, so be observant and follow their lead.
  2. Exchange Business Cards ProperlyPresent and receive business cards with both hands, ensuring the text faces the recipient. Take a moment to inspect the card before storing it respectfully, such as in a cardholder or a clean pocket.
  3. Arrive PunctuallyPunctuality is highly valued in Japan. Arrive a few minutes early to meetings and appointments as a sign of respect for others time.
  4. Dress ConservativelyWhen it comes to business attire, conservative dress is the norm. Stick to dark colors, avoiding bold patterns or excessive accessories.
  5. Practice Exchanging MeishiMeishi refers to the exchanging of business cards. Practice this ritual, as it can be performed multiple times during one meeting. Maintain an attentive and respectful attitude during the entire process.

The Donts

  • Avoid Personal Space InvasionRespect personal spaces, as the Japanese culture values privacy and modesty. Maintain an appropriate distance when engaging in conversations.
  • Dont Cross Your LegsDuring formal meetings, avoid crossing your legs. It is considered disrespectful and can be seen as a sign of arrogance.
  • Dont Be Overly DirectWhile directness is appreciated in some cultures, in Japan, it is essential to communicate with tact and diplomacy. Be mindful of the tone and manner of your speech to avoid causing offense.
  • Avoid Eating or Drinking Before OthersIf you are invited for a meal, wait until others start eating or drinking before you do. It shows respect for the host and demonstrates good table manners.
  • Dont Blow Your Nose in PublicIn Japan, blowing your nose loudly in public is considered impolite. Excuse yourself and find a private area if the need arises.

By understanding and respecting Japanese business etiquette, you can enhance your professional relationships and create a positive impression. Remember to immerse yourself in the culture, observe the behavior of others, and adapt accordingly. Happy business dealings in Japan!


Minoru Shiina