7 Do’s and Don’ts with Meishi (Japanese business cards)
Japan is a country so rich in tradition it’s not surprising that, to do business there, you need
to know the ropes. Meishi, business cards in Japanese, are an important and often vital part
of doing good business in Japan. Although the Japanese wouldn’t expect a foreigner to know
every rule when it comes to business card etiquette, knowing the basics could create
relationships where others may stumble.
7 Do’s and Don’ts with Meishi business cards:
Do… go prepared. Having a greater number of cards rules out the risk of running out. Not
presenting a business card to a Japanese prospective client is the equivalent of refusing to
shake a client’s hand in a Western business meeting.
Do… stand up when exchanging business cards.
Do… give and receive cards with both hands! This is a sign of respect. Reading the business
cards carefully is also the key to creating a good first impression.
Don’t… let your cards get scruffy. The Japanese are extremely proud when it comes to
presentation. Cards are often kept in a leather case and are never (ever) just thrown in a top
Do… address people by their surname. Japanese business cards place emphasis on the
surname as this is the name they are known by.
Don’t… cover the company name or the card holder’s name with your thumbs. You can be
sure not to do so by holding the corners when giving or receiving business cards in Japan.
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