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Japanese business culture

Updated on May 14, 2013

The Japanese business culture is very much like the traditional Far-eastern type of relationship-based business culture, however there are more and more signs of the western model influencing it.

Making Appointments

The custom of making an appointment for a business meeting in Japan is much like that in the case of the previous two countries, I talked about.

Meeting for the First Time

When you meet a Japanese person for the purpose of doing business, when you first meet hand over your business card. The way you have to do it, is that you hold your business card with both hands, holding both edge of your business card that are closer to you, meanwhile you bow. The business card should be facing upwards and towards the Japanese recipient, so it is upside down to you.

Always show up in time, never be late!


Make sure you keep a distance and do not be overly friendly and frankly. In Japan too make some small talk before the meetings and the actual negotiations. This is a way for them to establish a relationship and also trust with a new business partner.

Also never critisize, but when you absolutely have to, make it in an extremely polite manner.

Addressing Others with Respect

In Japan too, make sure that you follow the general polite ways of addressing people according to their titles and family name.


Give gifts that are represental of your company and home-country. It doesn't have to be very expensive, just make sure that they know that you have thought of them beforehand, and not just in it for the money only.


You should be very polite and make sure that you do not offend and embarras a Japanese business partner who has a strong social position and reputation.

Entertaining For Business Success

This still plays an important role in the Japanese business culture, however usually it does not take as much time as in China, but more than in Hungary. Many japanese after business go and practice traditional martial arts and their philosophy of calmness and harmony of the inner and external environment.

Product Quality

The product you want to sell in Japan must be clean, flawless, and must work perfectly. Japanese people are very meticulous on quality and perfect condition.


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    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      I searched all over google for an article on how to respectfully negotiate a Japanese American business transaction and then came to hubpages for something else and decided to search here, and here was your article! I hope you are able to read this by tomorrow :) and comment. A Japanese buyer is interested in our condo that is for sale. He needs $5000 back for closing. We wanted to propose he pay a higher price by $5000, offer the refrigerator and our lovely dining room table (which he may or may not want) and THEN give the $5000 back at closing because we really need the extra amount from the sale. Our realtor thinks we might lose the deal if we counter offer like this. Is there something culturally that we should consider? I know other cultures love the dealing back and forth. I myself hate it, but here we are having to negotiate. We must either accept the offer as he presented it or counter offer by tomorrow. From your opinion, would countering be disrespectful and possibly cause us to lose the sale, or is negotiating in that manner something that would be accepted and perhaps expected? Don't worry if you're not able to answer. I just thought it I'd ask in case you would have some insight into this manner. Cheers, Billie


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