Learning the language is not enough if a foreign company wants to enter the Japanese market. Even if you speak well, faux pas slows down your business and harm your credibility.
So, whether you want to create a website, post on social media, or meet professionals, there are a few things to pay attention to. You can read about Japanese business etiquette to know the dos and don’ts when participating in professional meetings.
But here is the general Japanese culture when doing business in Japan!
Both positive and negative, it represents elegance, sexuality, and wealth as the morning, sadness, or anger. Usually, the combination of white and black are used for mourning or in other sad situations.
It is common knowledge that the numbers 4 and 9 are unlucky in Japan because of their pronunciation being the same as death and suffering/agony respectively. So it is best to avoid using them for prices or the name of your products. Some global companies, however, chose to keep those numbers.
Such as when the PlayStation 4 was released, but people called it the ‘PlayStation Four’ (フォー fou) and not ‘PlayStation Shi’. It is the same for games like Mario Party 4 or Ace Attorney 4.
Gestures and Body Language
Here are some gestures that may differ between where you are from and in Japan:
It is rude or aggressive to stare at someone, even during a conversation. Japanese prefer looking somewhere else, like the person’s neck or the ground.
Gestures to Avoid
- As said before, don’t point at someone or something
- Don’t cross your arms during a conversation, especially if you don’t know well the other person. However, you can cross your arms and close your eyes when you think to show that you are trying to figure something out
- When you are in a professional setting, don’t put your hands in your pockets and don’t slouch. Show that you are listening and Genki (vigorous)
- Don’t take more space than you need when you sit on the train or on a bench
To know more about Japanese business etiquette, click here!
We hope that your next visit to Japan or your next meeting will go perfectly well! But the best way to learn a culture is through a trial-and-error process, through experience, so ganbatte kudasai!