Um, help with Japanese business etiquette
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sleepkyng

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so by a wacky twist of fate, i need to meet with some japanese business poeple in Tokyo... on my summer vacation...

I really need some basic business etiquette, and more specifically Japanese business etiquette. How do i present gifts, what should i wear etc.

anyone who meets Japanese businesspeople and has dealt with them, please let me know because i want to leave a very good impression


cheers
 
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fogia.4

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Talking in a straight forward manner helps, look people in the eyes while talking, shaking hands is ok, showing respect but not intimidation is also important to the Japanese...

I haven't really dealt with businessmen but the little I know about Japanese etiquette is this, hope it helps
 
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gurus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sleepkyng
so by a wacky twist of fate, i need to meet with some japanese business poeple in Tokyo... on my summer vacation...

I really need some basic business etiquette, and more specifically Japanese business etiquette. How do i present gifts, what should i wear etc.

anyone who meets Japanese businesspeople and has dealt with them, please let me know because i want to leave a very good impression


cheers



The Japanese love exchanging gifts and business cards. Always with your right hand or both hands while bowing slightly. The gifts do not have to be expensive. Its the thought that counts. Bowing is a sign of respect and humility. Clean pressed smart casual will do. Ties are big there, tho things are changing.

Also be prepared to be entertained ' on the house' when there. Do not even offer to pay for dinner or anything (entertainment) while with your hosts. Might be taken as an insult. And I hope you can handle your drinks as the Japanese love to drink.
 
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Takashi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sleepkyng
so by a wacky twist of fate, i need to meet with some japanese business poeple in Tokyo... on my summer vacation...

I really need some basic business etiquette, and more specifically Japanese business etiquette. How do i present gifts, what should i wear etc.

anyone who meets Japanese businesspeople and has dealt with them, please let me know because i want to leave a very good impression


cheers



I do not know if it's business meeting or other occasion, so here's basic things what I think people from overseas should do when they see us. (Don't take it as a golden rule because it could just be me.)

-If you bring gift, give it to them at the begining of the meeting. If it's something you can't distribute on the spot, such as a can of cookies, just vaguely look over the group and say that you brought some cookies for everybody (hold it up and somebody will take it).

-Wear short sleeve button-down shirt without tie, and tell them it's "Cool-Biz". I think it can be a good ice breaker.
("Cool-Biz" is a summer business fashon which Japanese Government is promoting to reduce energy cost. Most people including myself transrate it as "no jacket, no ties".)

-Most of Japanese wouldn't understand long jokes in english, and sarcasm are better be saved until you know them very well.

-If they are not so fluent in english, use easier words, speak in shorter sentenses. You need to be understood first to leave a good impression.

-Other than that, just be yourself, sincere and straight forward.

Hope this helps and good luck.
 
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james__bean

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A lot has been mentioned, but I've always heard its bad to slouch or stand with your hands in your pocket.
 
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utep10

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gurus
The Japanese love exchanging gifts and business cards. Always with your right hand or both hands while bowing slightly. The gifts do not have to be expensive. Its the thought that counts. Bowing is a sign of respect and humility. Clean pressed smart casual will do. Ties are big there, tho things are changing.

Also be prepared to be entertained ' on the house' when there. Do not even offer to pay for dinner or anything (entertainment) while with your hosts. Might be taken as an insult. And I hope you can handle your drinks as the Japanese love to drink.



I agree with all this.

Be prepared to be patient. Not only if their english is not good, but also for anything else. They do not "shoot from the hip" or just throw out ideas when discussing business. Everything is totally thought out before speaking or doing tasks.

If your the customer, then enjoy it. They are very accomodating.
 
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Business card exchange is an important part.

Greet with a short bow and handshake, eye contact is OK.

They will undoubtly hand you a business card. Take it and spend a short time looking at it, make a short bow, thanking them for the card, and then put it in your front shirt pocket or jacket pocket. (better yet, if you have a business card case, put it there.)

Do NOT put it in your wallet and stick it in your back pocket. (you are essentially sitting on their name.)

Then right after, hand them your business card. They will do the same thing of acceptance of the business card.

Now that is the formal business greeting type.

Dress however would be appropriate for the setting. Be sure to ask your friend, or whomever set up this meeting.

Good luck.


-Ed
 
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jjcha

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Edwood
They will undoubtly hand you a business card. Take it and spend a short time looking at it, make a short bow, thanking them for the card, and then put it in your front shirt pocket or jacket pocket. (better yet, if you have a business card case, put it there.)


Generally true though one exception. If you're going to be sitting at a meeting or conference table, don't put the card away. When you sit, put it on the table in front of you, facing you. This is so you can gaze in contemplation at the meaning of their company's kanji during the meeting.

Okay, the last part's a joke.

Really, I wouldn't try that hard. Other than respecting the business cards, just use good Western business manners and common sense and you'll be fine. Takashi's hit the nail on the head - they'll love the cool-biz reference, though any Japanese that are very westernized (e.g., if you're going to say Lehman Brothers Japan) will think you're a dork. But, as you're prolly gonna be sweating like a madman this summer anyway...

Best regards,

-Jason
 
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GanChan

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When in doubt, apologize.


Apologizing is NEVER wrong in Japan. At worst you'll be considered extremely polite.
 
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bend to the side with your palm out face up, and say "'sup, cuz?"

it's a great insult if they don't "give you some skin" so if this happens, rear back with hand up, palm forward and exclaim "can't a brother get sum love?"




just kidding. actually if you do that you might learn what baka gaijin means pretty quickly. i had no idea the customs were so deep. do japanese businesspeople respect western culture at all, or is it up the westerner to acquiesce completely to their ways?
 
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The business environment has certainly changed a lot recently. But the basic rules will still apply. Nothing wrong with wearing a suit. However you go dressed, be properly turned out in detail... no frayed ties, no shoes needing repair, etc. The older guys may not pick up attire faux-pas, but generally speaking the younger guys will and it will form part of their impression of you. Be smartly turned out... that's all you have to be.


Observe the namecard sequence as detailed above. If you get cards from several people and you're sitting down at a table in the meeting, line up the cards in order of seniority.


To the Japanese, irony means "like iron" (all right, that's irony). Do not attempt jokes in that sense because it will sail straight over their heads.


If you want to get your point across and be sure that you've been understood, definitely follow Takashi's advice of using simple words, clearly spoken in a non patronising manner. Japanese people have a tendency to nod and agree even if they don't understand what you're talking about. If there is a key point that you have to get across, repeat it in different ways so that if they're in doubt the first time, they have several chances to catch what you're on about.


Apart from that, just be sensible as jjcha said.


Quote:

i had no idea the customs were so deep. do japanese businesspeople respect western culture at all, or is it up the westerner to acquiesce completely to their ways?


Culture is culture wherever you go. And it's different wherever you go. Respecting it makes it more likely you will be accepted. Only the ignorant and the arrogant (usually both together) assume otherwise.
 
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jjcha and bangraman hit everything that came to my mind.

good luck with the meeting. feel free to let us know how it went!
 
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Quote:

Culture is culture wherever you go. And it's different wherever you go. Respecting it makes it more likely you will be accepted. Only the ignorant and the arrogant (usually both together) assume otherwise.


i understand that. what i'm asking is, while there is pressure for a westerner to ape the culture when in japan, why doesn't it work the other way around? double standard?
 
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This is probably obvious, but don't say, "please call me [insert first name]," even in very casual settings. Japanese people refer to anyone outside of family (and possibly some childhood friends) by their last name in any setting. Asking to be called by your first name will likely cause more awkwardness than intimacy.

Incidentally, googling for "Japanese business etiquette" brings up some good sites.

Quote:

i understand that. what i'm asking is, while there is pressure for a westerner to ape the culture when in japan, why doesn't it work the other way around? double standard?


I think it's because in any situation it better to err on the side of more formal, more polite.
 
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