Japan is renowned world over as a Tech Mecca. If you are a technology geek or dealing in electronics and other high-end gadgets, then you should think of making a business trip to Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, as soon as you can. Get ready to be in the heart of technological wonders, which this Asian giant rightfully boasts of. But before making a business trip to this key nation in the Asian continent, here’s all that you need to know beforehand to make your entrepreneurial sojourn a great success.
The traditional customs in Japan are quite strict. You need to adhere to them stringently. Even a slight mistake on your business visit here could prove to be costly. It could even result in losing the deal itself and your dignity as well. The major religion in Japan is Shinto (literally meaning, ‘the way of the gods’), and is intrinsically woven into the lives of common Japanese and whatever they do.
Language & Conversation
The language of the host country plays a critical role in making or marring a business deal. And, therefore, Japan is not an exception. Majority of people here speak Japanese. It would be a perfect idea indeed to do business in your client’s language. If you are not well versed in Japanese then at least learning some Japanese phrases for day-to-day conversation would be appropriate. These phrases could be used in introducing yourself, greetings and exchanging pleasantries, etc.
If you want to approve something or want to say “Yes”, then you have to do it with a nod. For disapproving or saying “No”, you need to place a hand in front of your face and waving it back and forth. Saying simply “No” during a business meeting is considered to be disrespectful.
Business professionals in Japan are very cautious and particular about their dressing sense, which is rather done conservatively. The men are required to put on well-pressed black or dark blue suits and ties. The conservative way of dressing also stands true with businesswomen as well. On several occasions you may also be prompted to removing your shoes during your business visit to the clients. You therefore need to ensure that the socks being worn don’t have holes. You should also try to wear shoes that are tieless. In fact, wearing scruffy shoes are a strict no-no.
Most businesspersons in Japan first shake their hands and then bow when greeting the clients. The best way is to first wait for your Japanese counterparts to take the lead. When they first shake hands and then bow, you are then required to make similar move instantly. Businesswomen usually avoid shaking their hands, though this trend is now gradually changing.
There’s special care need to be taken when bowing during a business meeting in the country. Most senior members are offered a 45-degree bow, with the palms placed in front of the knees. However, the most common is the 30-degree bow, by keeping the legs straight and hands on your sides. The best way, of course, is to use the informal bow before you are going to shake hands whenever your Japanese colleague first takes the lead in shaking hands first. This is, in fact, a quick bow of only the head and shoulders.
These are some of the important etiquettes you need to adhere to during your business meeting in Japan. This will stand you in good stead and help you in clinching a successful business deal as well.