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Japan Information

Name Card Etiquette

To many Japanese the "meishi" is not a mere business card showing company name, personal name, position, department, and contact information, but a reflection of self. The "meishi" should be treated with respect.

  • Exchange of "meishi" (name cards, business cards) is the usual first step in any business meeting with Japanese.
  • In normal business, upon entering the meeting room you should find yourself standing and facing the most senior Japanese person, or your counterpart.
  • If you are the guest waiting in the meeting room, you should take a chair facing the door and stand upon your host entering.
  • Immediately and politely produce an appropriate number of "meishi", depending on the number of counterparts. Ideally you should extract it (them) from a card pouch (or "meishi-ire") carried in your suit-jacket pocket.
  • Hold the card on top of the "meishi-ire", if you have one. Present it gently with both hands (thumbs on the edges above, Japanese language side of the "meishi" facing up) and offer it to each counterpart while bowing slightly and saying a greeting: "(Your name) to moshiimasu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu." ("I am X. Pleased to make your acquaintance.").
  • Receive the counterpart's "meishi" on top of your "meishi-ire" and also hold it with both hands, making a quick yet genuine effort to study the detail. Show acknowledgement of the information with a smile and a slight bow of the head.
  • Have the "meishi" on the table during the meeting. If you have received more than one, lay them neatly and separately, not stacked on top of another.
  • At the end of the meeting always place it back in your "meishi-ire", never in your back pocket or just anywhere in your bag or coat. It is generally not polite to write information on a received "meishi" in front of the giver.

As a foreigner, you will probably be forgiven for behavioral oversights, although it will certainly be appreciated if you show that you have made some effort to understand and accommodate Japanese practices.

Please keep this in mind, and have a nice meeting!