外贸知识

【日本】Business Etiquette 商务礼仪

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Althoughmanybusinesspracticesareuniversal,certaincustomsareuniquetoJapan.It’snotnecessarytoobservetheseprecepts,buttheJapanesealwaysappreciateitifyoudo.

InJapan,meishi(businesscards)aremandatory.Uponmeetingsomeoneforthefirsttime,it’scommontobowandtoprofferyourbusinesscardsimultaneously.AlthoughEnglishwillsufficeonyourbusinesscard,it’sbesttohaveonesideprintedinJapanese(therearebusinessesinJapanthatprovidethisservicein24hours).Inasense,thecardsaresimplyaconvenience.JapanesesometimeshavedifficultywithWesternnames,andreferringtothecardsishelpful.Also,inasocietywherehierarchymatters,Japaneseliketoknowjobtitlesandrank,soit’susefulifyourcardindicatesyourpositioninyourcompany.Japaneseoftenplacethebusinesscardstheyhavereceivedinfrontofthemonatableordeskastheyconducttheirmeetings.Followsuitanddonotsimplyshovethecardinyourpocket.

TheconceptofbeingfashionablylatedoesnotexistinJapan;itisextremelyimportanttobepromptforsocialandbusinessoccasions.Japaneseaddressestendtobecomplicated,andtrafficisoftenheavy,soallowadequatetraveltime.MostJapanesearenotaccustomedtousingfirstnamesinbusinesscircumstances.Evencoworkersof20years’standingusesurnames.UnlessyouaresurethattheJapanesepersonisextremelycomfortablewithWesterncustoms,it’sbesttosticktolastnamesandusethehonorific-sanafterthename,asinTanaka-san(Mr.orMrs.Tanaka).Also,respectthehierarchy,andasmuchaspossibleaddressyourselftothemostseniorpersonintheroom.

Don’tbefrustratedifdecisionsarenotmadeinstantly.Rarelyempoweredtomakedecisions,individualbusinesspeoplemustconferwiththeircolleaguesandsuperiors.Evenifyouareannoyed,don’texpressangeroraggression.Losingone’stemperisequatedwithlosingfaceinJapan.

AseparationofbusinessandprivatelifeissacrosanctinJapan,andit’sbestnottoaskaboutpersonalmatters.Ratherthanaskingaboutaperson’sfamily,it’sbettertosticktoneutralsubjectsinconversation.Thisdoesnotmeanthatyoucanonlycommentontheweatherbutratherthatyoushouldtakecarenottobenosy.

Becauseofcrampedhousing,again,manyJapaneseentertaininrestaurantsorbars.It’snotcustomaryforJapanesebusinessmentobringwivesalong.Ifyouaretravelingwithyourspouse,donotassumethataninvitationincludesbothofyou.Youmayaskifit’sacceptabletobringyourspousealong,butrememberthatit’sawkwardforaJapanesepersontosayno.Youshouldposethequestioncarefully,suchas”Willyour[wifeorhusband]comealong,too?”Thiseliminatestheneedforadirect,personalrefusal.

Usually,entertainingisdoneoverdinner,followedbyaneveningonthetown.DrinkingissomethingofanationalpastimeinJapan.Ifyouwouldrathernotsufferfromahangoverthenextday,donotrefuseyourdrink–sip,butkeepyourglassatleasthalffull.Becausethecustomisforcompanionstopourdrinksforeachother,anemptyglassisnearlytheequivalentofrequestinganotherdrink.Whateveryoudo,don’tpouryourowndrink,andifaglassatyourtablehappenstobeempty,showyourattentivenessbyfillingitforyourcompanion.

AspecialnotetowomentravelingonbusinessinJapan:rememberthatalthoughthesituationisgraduallychanging,manyJapanesewomendonothavecareers.ManyJapanesebusinessmendonotyetknowhowtointeractwithWesternbusinesswomen.Theymaybeuncomfortable,aloof,orpatronizing.Bepatientand,iftheneedarises,gentlyremindthemthat,professionally,youexpecttobetreatedasanymanwouldbe.

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