Japanese Etiquette Today: A Guide to Business & Social Customs

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  1. 2. Seating Arrangements By Rank
  2. Secrets of Japanese business etiquette – Venture Japan
  3. A Practical Guide to International Business Etiquette

Japanese business etiquette is not so different to that in the UK — politeness and good manners are hugely important. The main difference is that the business etiquette is more formal, especially at the first meeting where the exchanging of the business card is an essential ritual. Cards should be double sided to include both English and Japanese. Offer the card with the Japanese side facing upwards towards the recipient. Offering the card with both hands demonstrates greater respect.

In a group of several Japanese people, cards will be offered to you in order of rank, with the highest ranking presenting their card last. The card should be placed respectfully into a business card holder, not shoved into a pocket like a tissue and do take care not to damage or bend the card; this is considered to be a direct insult. Always play safe and dress formally for your meeting; it never hurts to be overdressed.

This behaviour can result in a lack of trust and you might not be taken very seriously. Use black or blue ink when taking notes, not red. Wait for direction from your host as to where you should sit. Exceptional importance is placed upon seating in meetings and the position is determined by status. Usually, the highest ranking person will sit at the head of the table and the subordinates will sit on both sides of the table. The ranking will decrease the further down the table away from the head of the table you get. Wait for others to initiate and you can then follow their lead.

Although not compulsory for a business meeting, gifts may be presented. If you are given a gift which is wrapped, the etiquette is to wait until after you have left the meeting before you open it.

2. Seating Arrangements By Rank

In Japan, the first name follows the family name. Most Japanese family names consist of 2 kanji Chinese characters. The meanings of many of the kanji used in family names are related to nature, geographical features or locations e. First names also usually consist of 2 kanji and the meanings are usually positive characteristics such as intelligence, beauty, love or light or names of flowers or seasons. This section will be particularly helpful if you are relocating to Japan and intend to work.

Secrets of Japanese business etiquette – Venture Japan

Short verbal feedback is usually given and greatly appreciated. Ways of acknowledgement are asking them to help on high profile projects, invitations to important meetings, and even an invitation to share a meal together is accepted practice. Structuring work as team projects and rewarding people as a team is an effective management tool. Group social outings, team meetings etc. As well as being part of a group, Japanese people want to feel that the group they belong to is a prestigious one.

Any efforts to raise the public profile of your company will pay off with increased motivation. He is a freelance translator and a print and broadcast journalist specializing in business. And that is exactly what this books does. It dives deep real deep at some points into the history and modern ways of the Japanese culture. Not only harmony in the sense of balance in general, but also very much so a social harmony personal, business and political , based on following proper etiquette kata in daily behaviour.

Throughout the book, there are a few black-and-white photos to illustrate some of the topics covered in the book and break up some of the sections, but the majority of the book is text. I must say that I definitely enjoyed the first part of the book much more than the second part, because the first part is more about the history and daily life of the Japanese, where the second part really goes deep into the cultural differences between the Japanese and Westerners when doing business. This second topic is just not so interesting to me personally, because I have no intention of working for a Japanese company, and I feel most of it could have been a separate book altogether.

But it was interesting to get a bit of understanding of how difficult working together with Japanese companies can be. It was interesting to also learn how the teachings of drawing Kanji characters also gave the Japanese a highly developed sense of harmony, form, and style and therefore a deep understanding and appreciation of aesthetics, something that really fascinated me during my visits to the country.

This subtle discrimination permeates Japanese thinking and behavior, some of it subconsciously and some of it deliberately contrived. Japanese culture, unlike most of Western culture, is not always open and visible, and does not travel well. This book is great for everyone that is interested in the Japanese culture and wants to go beyond the surface of this fascinating country and its people.

Personal space is valued. Because the Japanese live in such a densely populated area, they value their personal space. A smile can have double meaning. It can express either joy or displeasure.

Business meeting advice (if doing business in Japan)

Use caution with your facial expressions. They can be easily misunderstood. The Japanese are not uncomfortable with silence. They use it to their advantage in many situations. Allow your host to sit in silence. The word for toasting is kampai, pronounced 'kahm-pie'. When toasting the glass is never left unfilled. Drinking is an important part of Japanese culture. It is a way to relieve business stress. Never pour a drink yourself; always allow someone else to do it for you.

Most business entertaining is done in restaurants or bars after business hours. Often in karaoke or "hostess bars. Let the host order the meal and pay. Business may be discussed at dinner during these events. Japanese rarely entertain in the home. If you are invited to the home of your Japanese host, consider it a great honor and display a tremendous amount of appreciation.

A Practical Guide to International Business Etiquette

If you are invited to a social event, punctuality is not expected. It is the custom to be "fashionably late. If you do take your host out insist upon paying.

The Japanese will refuse but insist. They will prefer that you choose a Western-style restaurant when entertain them. Key phrases to learn are "itadakimasu" at the beginning of dinner, and "gochisou-sama-deshita" at the end. It is polite use these phrase and it will show you host that you have enjoyed the meal. It is perfectly acceptable to slurp your noodles. Doing so will exhibit your enjoyment of your food.

Modern Japanese Table Manners

To do otherwise, indicates that your meal was not a pleasant one. Do not openly display money.