8 Unique Japanese Business Culture!

8 Unique Japanese Business Culture!

Japanese culture is very different from Western cultures. Although the difference became less apparent with modernization, there are still many customs that only exist in Japan. Many Western people come to Japan and become confused. If you are doing business with Japanese companies, there are several things you should know in order to have successful business with them. I am a Japanese woman who knows how people do business in Japan. I will tell you 8 things that you should keep in mind when you are doing business with Japanese people. If you can master those 8 things, you have more chance of having a successful business with Japanese companies!



 

8 Unique Japanese Business Culture!

 

1. Always bring your business cards

In most Western countries, people don’t usually have their business cards with them. In Japan, on the other hand, every business person has his/her business card (we call it “meishi” in Japanese). When we meet someone for a first time, we usually introduce ourselves by giving our business card. Therefore we appreciate if you can also give us your business card. It’s a great way to remember your name and have your contact information at the same time.When you give your business card, make sure to take it with both hands. That’s a sign of respect. It is also respectful to keep the business card you received in your hand or safely in a cardholder. It’s disrespectful to put it inside your pocket right away.

 

2. Be serious during business meeting

Many Western business people are surprised how Japanese act during business meetings. In Western countries, meetings aren’t quite as formal as in Japan. You can relax and chat before the meeting starts. In Japan, on the other hand, meetings are very formal and reserved place. We don’t usually chat with colleagues even when the meeting hasn’t started. Therefore it’s better to keep your poker face during meeting with Japanese people.Although most Western people find it friendly to make jokes and lighten up the mood in some business meetings, Japanese business people find it a waste of time. It’s better to get to the point.

 

3. Read between the politeness

If you know some Japanese people, you know that we are polite most of the time (at least in appearance anyway). When you are doing business with us, you might find yourself in a situation where they are complementing your project. You might think, then, that you will surely get a deal with them, because you had a very good feeling about it.However, don’t jump to your conclusion right away. Japanese people usually don’t directly criticize (unless you are working inside their company) in order not to hurt your feelings. It’s very difficult to know what Japanese people are thinking because of the politeness. It’s better to ask a native people to read between the politeness.

 

4. Connection is the key to success

In Japan, connection is very important. On top of doing their job well, Japanese also work hard creating new connection or enforcing the connections they already have. As a result, they organize dinner with clients or go for a drink after work with their boss. If you want to get a deal with Japanese company, it’s important to enforce the connections outside of work. Japanese business people would feel more relaxed with couples of drinks.

 

5. Japanese can open up with drinks

As I said earlier, it’s not easy to know what Japanese people are thinking because they are very reserved in office. For Western people, it’s very frustrating that they don’t open up easily. That’s why, if you are doing business with Japanese people, it’s important to go out with them after work. You will find out that they open up more easily after couples of alcohols. That’s how Japanese enforce their business relationships.

 

6. Customers are God

If you have been to Japan, you must have noticed that services are excellent. That’s because we consider that “customers are God.” That’s how we treat customers in Japan. Therefore most Japanese people would be disappointed if they are not treated well. If you were providing services to Japanese clientele, it would be a good idea to improve your services in order to impress them.

 

7. They conform

In most of Western countries, there is a clear line between work and private life. You are one individual even when you are at work. In Japan, the line isn’t so clear. Japanese business people have a strong feeling of belonging to their company. The work comes first. Because the company becomes their identity, they don’t criticize their company’s policy, their coworkers or their managers. If you are thinking of working well with Japanese company, it’s better to avoid open criticism.

 

8. Respect the elders

In Western countries, you need to show results to advance in your career. In Japan, on the other hand, we show a great respect for the elders. Even though some people advance their career in a company and others don’t, most people are promoted as they work more years in the company. Therefore it’s important to show some respect to Japanese people who are older than you, even if they are your subordinates.

 

Conclusion

For many Western countries, Japan has been a very difficult challenge in business. We have very different norms and culture in Japan. Those 8 things I have described would be useful if you want to do business smoothly with Japanese people.

 

8 Unique Japanese Business Culture!

1. Always bring your business cards
2. Be serious during business meeting
3. Read between the politeness
4. Connection is the key to success
5. Japanese can open up with drinks
6. Customers are God
7. They conform
8. Respect the elders