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Japan
Business and Social Etiquette

Christina Flores
TOPICS

What to expect in Japan

1

Gestures and Body Language

2

Business Etiquette

3

Social Interaction
Social Interaction

4

Dining

5

Everyday Activities

6

National Holidays
Gestures and
Body Language
Greeting
• Japanese equivalent of
the Western hand shake
is to bow, although the
handshake is common
among international
guests
• Females maintain both
arms to the front
• Males keep their arms to
the side
• When speaking to a
Japanese individual,
make very brief eye
contact, prolonged eye
contact is considered
rude

Sitting and Standing
•
•
•
•

Do not sit in a way that
shows the sole of the
shoes
Do not lean on your
chair, sit on the edge to
show respect
Do not leave hands in
your pockets when
speaking to someone
Do not lean against a
wall or door

Distance and Touching
• Touching is considered
taboo, do not pat a
person on the back or put
your arm around their
shoulder
• The Japanese like their
space, keep your distance
when bowing
• When someone points at
their nose, they are
referring to themselves
The Proper
Business Bow
Male Bow

Female Bow
Business Etiquette

• Dress appropriately for the occasion
• Sitting arrangements will be determined in the meeting, you will be
directed to the appropriate seat
• Stand at your seat and wait for the host to tell you to be seated
• When the meeting ends, wait until the host stands up before
standing up yourself
• Consider bringing a souvenir to present to the host, it will be
appreciated
• The host may give you a gift as well, be appreciative, but do not
open until you leave.
• Show interest by taking notes, carry a blue or black pen
• A negotiating strategy in Japan is silence, do not be tempted to
interrupt, be patient.
Social
Interaction

Invitations

Alcohol/Drinks

Who pays?

• Hosts could bring up ideas about socially
getting together
• Do not be offended if the host does not pull
through with the invitation
• Do not aggravate the host by insisting on a
get together
• Japanese love to drink alcohol, it would be a
plus for you to drink while socially interacting
with the host.
• It is common to go out for another round of
drinking either for coffee or alcohol
• Do not drink from the bottle, pour beverage
into glass or cup
• Hosts tend to insist on paying for the tab
because you are a visitor
• It does not hurt to offer to pay
• Offer to pay for drinks after dinner to be
polite, most likely the host will still pick up the
tab
Dining
• Dinner meetings are to be held in restaurants
• When eating, try some of everything, and look like you are enjoying
your food
• Do not stick chopsticks in rice, set chopsticks on the side of the
plate or on chopstick holder
• Do not play with chopsticks and do not use chopsticks to pass food
• Do not pour soy sauce directly over rice, instead pour on a small
dish
• It’s okay to slurp your noodles, in fact it would be rude not to
• Let others serve you, let them pour your drink and you can do the
same as well
• Do not leave tips, it is considered offensive
Everyday Life
1

Many people in Japan wear surgical masks in public to avoid spreading germs while they are
sick, do not blow your nose in public, it is considered rude.

2

Silence is golden, talking loudly on a train or subway, or while talking on a cell phone is
considered vulgar.

3

Do not wear shoes indoors when visiting a private home. Shoes are to be taken off
at the door.

4

7

Do not eat and walk in public, it is frowned upon.
National
Holidays
Shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions are open on national holidays except on New Year

✓

January – 1 New Year, 2nd Monday (Coming of Age), February – 11 (National Foundation
Day)

✓

April – 29 (Showa Day), May – 3 (Constitution Day), May – 4 (Greenery Day)

✓

May – 5 (Children’s Day), July – 3rd Monday (Ocean Day)

✓

September – 3rd Monday (Respect for the Aged Day), 23 – Autumn Equinox Day

✓

October – 2nd Monday (Health and Sports Day), November 3 – Culture Day

✓

November 23 (Labour Thanksgiving Day)

✓

December 23 – Emperor’s Birthday
Doing Business in Japan
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Cultural power point briefing

  • 1. Japan Business and Social Etiquette Christina Flores
  • 2. TOPICS What to expect in Japan 1 Gestures and Body Language 2 Business Etiquette 3 Social Interaction Social Interaction 4 Dining 5 Everyday Activities 6 National Holidays
  • 3. Gestures and Body Language Greeting • Japanese equivalent of the Western hand shake is to bow, although the handshake is common among international guests • Females maintain both arms to the front • Males keep their arms to the side • When speaking to a Japanese individual, make very brief eye contact, prolonged eye contact is considered rude Sitting and Standing • • • • Do not sit in a way that shows the sole of the shoes Do not lean on your chair, sit on the edge to show respect Do not leave hands in your pockets when speaking to someone Do not lean against a wall or door Distance and Touching • Touching is considered taboo, do not pat a person on the back or put your arm around their shoulder • The Japanese like their space, keep your distance when bowing • When someone points at their nose, they are referring to themselves
  • 5. Business Etiquette • Dress appropriately for the occasion • Sitting arrangements will be determined in the meeting, you will be directed to the appropriate seat • Stand at your seat and wait for the host to tell you to be seated • When the meeting ends, wait until the host stands up before standing up yourself • Consider bringing a souvenir to present to the host, it will be appreciated • The host may give you a gift as well, be appreciative, but do not open until you leave. • Show interest by taking notes, carry a blue or black pen • A negotiating strategy in Japan is silence, do not be tempted to interrupt, be patient.
  • 6. Social Interaction Invitations Alcohol/Drinks Who pays? • Hosts could bring up ideas about socially getting together • Do not be offended if the host does not pull through with the invitation • Do not aggravate the host by insisting on a get together • Japanese love to drink alcohol, it would be a plus for you to drink while socially interacting with the host. • It is common to go out for another round of drinking either for coffee or alcohol • Do not drink from the bottle, pour beverage into glass or cup • Hosts tend to insist on paying for the tab because you are a visitor • It does not hurt to offer to pay • Offer to pay for drinks after dinner to be polite, most likely the host will still pick up the tab
  • 7. Dining • Dinner meetings are to be held in restaurants • When eating, try some of everything, and look like you are enjoying your food • Do not stick chopsticks in rice, set chopsticks on the side of the plate or on chopstick holder • Do not play with chopsticks and do not use chopsticks to pass food • Do not pour soy sauce directly over rice, instead pour on a small dish • It’s okay to slurp your noodles, in fact it would be rude not to • Let others serve you, let them pour your drink and you can do the same as well • Do not leave tips, it is considered offensive
  • 8. Everyday Life 1 Many people in Japan wear surgical masks in public to avoid spreading germs while they are sick, do not blow your nose in public, it is considered rude. 2 Silence is golden, talking loudly on a train or subway, or while talking on a cell phone is considered vulgar. 3 Do not wear shoes indoors when visiting a private home. Shoes are to be taken off at the door. 4 7 Do not eat and walk in public, it is frowned upon.
  • 9. National Holidays Shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions are open on national holidays except on New Year ✓ January – 1 New Year, 2nd Monday (Coming of Age), February – 11 (National Foundation Day) ✓ April – 29 (Showa Day), May – 3 (Constitution Day), May – 4 (Greenery Day) ✓ May – 5 (Children’s Day), July – 3rd Monday (Ocean Day) ✓ September – 3rd Monday (Respect for the Aged Day), 23 – Autumn Equinox Day ✓ October – 2nd Monday (Health and Sports Day), November 3 – Culture Day ✓ November 23 (Labour Thanksgiving Day) ✓ December 23 – Emperor’s Birthday
  • 10. Doing Business in Japan Video - Tips