Business Culture

Japan’s unique and ritualised business culture is often considered to be the biggest obstacle for foreign businesses seeking to establish themselves in the Japanese market. This is because the Japanese highly value etiquette and protocol during any type of business meetings. However, this need not discourage you from investing in the Japanese market, since most Japanese are very forgiving of Westerners provided they show respect and show some interest in understanding Japanese culture and etiquette. Here you will find some information and tips aimed at improving your understanding of the dynamics of business meetings in Japan as well as ensuring that your future meetings with Japanese businessmen go more smoothly.

Japanese Business Meeting Etiquette

You should dress formally for any type of business meeting just to be safe. Although there are certainly business-related events where it is appropriate to dress informally (ex: such as a round of golf), it is always better to err on the overly formal side. Furthermore, your manner should be conservative (try to avoid seeming brash or arrogant). When you meet your business partner, it is important to honour the Japanese cultural traditions. You should first bow and then wait to see if he offers a handshake. Seating arrangements are also very important in business meetings, and are determined by status. You should be attentive throughout the meeting and acknowledge every member’s input, as this will demonstrate that you are engaged and interested in what they have to say.

Japanese Business Meeting Etiquette