Trading in the Far East is now becoming more and more regular - so I thought it would be a help to run through business card etiquette for many far eastern countries. So starting with Japan here's a quick insight into Japanese business card etiquette..
Politeness, sensitivity and good manners are essential in Japanese business etiquette - just as they are of business etiquette in Europe or the US. The main difference is that Japanese business etiquette is much more formal. The way in which you present your business card to associates and prospective customers is also fundamental. Japan is a country that has many traditional ceremonies built around social signifiers, for example, the tea ceremony.
It is therefore of little surprise that specific etiquette surrounds the exchange of business cards. Known as 'meishi', the business card must also be proffered face up, held either side and accompanied by a bow as a mark of respect.
The recipient must likewise bow and accept the card in two hands. Rather than then stuffing it in their pockets, an all to frequent reaction in our society, it is carefully read and then placed in a neat cardholder or wallet. Although we may not feel the need for quite such an elaborate exchange, it is important that you offer your business card with confidence; you should be proud of your business and happy to give your contact details, showing diffidence is not a good impression.
Never write any notes or details on a Japanese business card. It's considered as extremely bad mannered.
If someone else offers a card, accept it gracefully and put it in your wallet or business card holder and always say 'Thank you' or 'Hajimemashite' when you receive a business card, if you're not interested at least save chucking it in the recycler until you leave the venue!