Business etiquette in Japan
The customs for meeting & greeting people
Japanese seldom shake hands and can be so uncomfortable doing so, that they could avoid meeting again. Holding your hands together as a prayer and bowing your head slightly when you are greeting someone. When you are meeting someone for the first time, say ‘Hajimemashite’, which means ‘Hello, I am pleased to make your acquaintance’.
Business dress code
In Japan, people are often judged on the way they are dressed. In the Japanese business wearing a dark suit, white shirt and a tie is the norm. Do not wear a black suit together with a black tie. This would be seen as a funeral outfit. Nowadays other colors are seen more often than in the past, but especially when you are meeting someone for the first time it is advisable to keep it safe. Japanese companies do not allow people wearing beards or shaved heads. For women the business dress code is formal as well. Women do not commonly wear trousers in business in Japan. Accessories and makeup should not be too ostentatious.
Rules to stick to during meetings
When you arrive, always wait to be seated in the meeting room because there is a tradition regarding which party sits on which side of the table. When doing business in Japan it is important that you take a lot of business cards with you. On one side of the business card, the information should be written in the Japanese language. The other side has to be written in English. Always present your business card with both hands, with the Japanese side up and to the most senior member first. Also accept a business card with both hands and treat it with respect. Do not write notes on it, play with it or leave it behind. During the meeting, place the received cards carefully on the table in front of you with the senior cards on top. Giving gifts is also an important part of Japanese business. Gifts should not be too generous, but always of good quality and they should always be wrapped....
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