Japan: The All Important Business Card
In Japan the business card is paramount. Unlike in Britain where we exchange business cards as a simple contact medium, the exchanging of business cards in Japan, or with a Japanese person is virtually ritualistic. Always have plenty to give out. And take heed of the following:
- Double sided English and Japanese business cards should be used.
- Always present the card with both hands, Japanese-language side forward to the most senior member of the Japanese first, bowing slightly and then move on down the corporate ladder.
- Do not slide the card across the table.
- Accept a Japanese business card with the same manner.
- When presented with a business card always say thank you (I know it sounds patronising, but honestly you’ll thank me) – in Japanese if possible (Hajimemashite), study the card carefully. Do not put it away immediately.
- Never ever write notes on a Japanese business card.
- Never fiddle or play with a Japanese business card.
- Treat the cards with respect and keep them in a special case.
- Forgetting to pick up a business card after a meeting would be akin to a slapping that person in the face.
- Many Japanese stay life-long in their company, a junior employee today, could well be a senior executive tomorrow, treat every card with the same respect.