in #business5 years ago (edited)

In Japan, business cards are called meishi and exchanging them is not a simple formality but a real ritual that is practiced mainly in working environments but also in less formal situations.

Although exchanging business cards isn't unusual in the rest of the world, no relationships will be jeopardized if you fail to bring them.

In Japan, it is quite the opposite. The meishi koukan (business cards exchange ritual) is considered to be a formal introduction to the person. No business can begin until cards are exchanged because the exchange itself indicates the beginning of a relationship.

The ritual does not happen randomly but following a series of precise steps.
Depending on the context it becomes more or less important to observe the following 5 steps to make a real good first impression and don't look rude.

1. The highest ranking person gives out business cards first.

2. Cards must be given and received with two hands.

3. Cards should be handed face-down to the receiver.

4. Cards should be kept on display for the remainder of the interaction.

5. Cards should be kept as immaculate as possible. Preferably placed in the appropriate business card holder.

When you receive a business card from someone you need to read it by showing some interest and never place it immediately. You should not bend it, wrestle it, write over it or play with it in your hands because this could be considered a lack of respect.
After having looked at it carefully for a few seconds, the business card shall be placed inside a business card holder.
It is best to avoid placing it in the wallet or pocket as there is a chance they will ruin.

To hand over your business card you have to provide it so that the written information is readable from the point of view of the other person. You also have to be careful not to cover the infos with your fingers.

Holding the meishi from two corners with both hands making a slight bow is the most polite and formal way to bring it to someone, even if it is held with one hand it is important to do it from a corner and never from the center.

Always have some with you since a business card is a good way to make a great impression on the Japanese, so before going to Japan printing some is definitely a good idea!

If you are somehow reading this while in Japan and didn't bring any business cards with you, then you are one lucky man! Japan is also famous for having so many vending machines for the most unusual items and guess what?
There are also vending machines that print business cards.
Chose your design, insert your informations and there you have them.

Japanese business culture is so fascinating and I will definitely be writing more about it.

Hope you found this interesting guys.

Till next post! Love ya all.



Actually, neve knew this but considering that it's Japanese culture it makes sense. Good info. I'll keep an eye out for more stuff like this from you.

Thank you very much @exavier, glad you enjoyed the read!

Great post! Very detailed and thorough just like the Japanese. Business card etiquette hasn't changed much in the 25 years I've been here.

Thank you very much!
I've always been very passionate about Japanese business culture and fascinated by Japan in general. Will surely visit it someday!

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