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About Meishi (Business Cards) in Japan

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You undoubtedly will get your Meishi (business cards) in Japan, whether you work or not. Meishi are still important in Japan, even in the smartphone era when people exchange their contact numbers directly via their multimedia devices. Yet, it is important to know a few things about meishi.

The most important thing to know about meishi is how to give it (see the picture on the right). Hold it between your thumb and index on the top corners (so as not hiding information), with both hands. Make sure it is not upside down: the other person must be able to read the information on the card while receiving it.

When receiving a card, bow slightly and hold it with thumbs and index fingers of both hands and take a few seconds to read the information, while thanking your interlocutor.

When cards are exchanged at the same time, proceed as per the picture on the right.

If there is a meeting, place the received cards in front of you.

As a non-Japanese, it is a good practice to have your cards in Japanese on one side and in Romaji on the other side. It is just common sense but worth mentioning: make sure your cards are in a perfect shape. Buy a card case to protect them. You can find metallic cases for 100 yens in Daiso.

Here are a few do’s and don’t’s – it is actually simple common sense. Do not write on the card, do not fold it, and do not put in your pocket. Once the meeting is finished, place it in your card holder.

You can order your cards online (try mojoprint, they provide good services and they speak English) or make them in depato (shopping malls).

As a foreigner in Japan, you are obviously not held by the same standards as Japanese are. Still, showing proper manners is very important and it helps instill reliability and trust, ever so important in business.