Currently, our Japanese staff had an opportunity to visit Japan and here are our summary of  tips for doing business in Japan.

1. Bowing is the common greeting

In UK, we often shake hands when meeting new people. In Japan, bowing is the most common way of greeting, but just bowing is not enough! There are 3 different bows that can actually express different meanings to people.



3 Types of Bows
(The image supplied by

15 degrees bow : The first bow with 15 degrees are used for casual greetings such as good morning and good afternoon.

30 degrees bow : In business occasions, 30 degrees bow are often used. For example, when entering a meeting room, meeting your clients, thanking them and when learning a room or company. If you are male, you put your hands straight on your side and bow slowly for 3 seconds. If you are female, you out your hands in front and bow for 3 seconds.

45 degrees bow : The last bow is 45 degrees bow which shows great appreciation to somebody or apologies. You can use this deepest bow when you really want to show your appreciation to somebody or when you want to apologise somebody.


2. Don’t forget your business card

In Japan, exchanging business card is considered as part of greeting.

When exchanging business cards, you will receive it with both hand and do not put it in your pocket ! Keep it on the desk until you finish a meeting with them and do not write anything on business card because  that shows disrespect to person.


3. Be on time !

Japanese people are very punctual. When you appointment is set at 10.00am, Japanese will be at meeting location at 9.50am. So, have plenty of time to travel and make sure you will arrive on time. Being late to the meeting gives Japanese a negative impressions of you.


4. Don’t make a phone call at quite place and on transportation

In Japanese ritual, people respect quite space. On a train or bus, people don’t really make a phone call or take a call as it is thought to disrupt other people unless you speak very quietly for a quick chat.

When you are in meeting with Japanese, make sure you set your phone silent mode.


5. Prepare some basic Japanese words

Japanese are happy when people abroad can actually speak some Japanese even it is not perfect. Here are some words that you can remember before going to Japan.

  1. Add “-san” at the end of a person’s last name when you call Japanese

For exmple, if the name is Tsutomu Tanaka, you will call him “Tanaka-san” which is               a polite way of calling people.

  1. Hajime Mashite– Nice to meet you
  2. Arigatou Gozaimasu – Thank you
  3. Yoroshiku Onegai Itashi Masu – I am looking forward to working with you.



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