Business Cards


Meishimeishi means business card.
Japanese spelling is めいし and the Kanji for this word is 名詞.
, the Japanese word for calling or business card, is a tradition in itself. The meishi is one’s face in Japan, and therefore, alot of care is taken with them. Although companies employ set standards for their meishi card layout, those without such restrictions can embellish their card to standout. These include making it a telephone card, that can be used at public pay phones, or printing it on a special type of washi (Japanese paper).

When giving or receiving a business card, bow to the person with whom you are exchanging the business card.  Bowing or ojigi demonstrates respect for the other person as well confidence in assuming what is considered to be a defenseless position. The degree of one’s bow depends on the person with whom you are making the exchange, but there are 3 distinct angles: 15, 30 and 45 degrees, and durations to hold one’s bow: 2, 3 and 5 seconds. The greater stature the other person has, the greater your bow should be. And you should repeat your bow if you notice the other person is still bowing. Significant times to bow include twice when you meet someone, at the beginning and end of a meeting, when receiving or giving a gift, and when yielding the right of way to another person.

Introductions are made by stating a person’s company followed by their name as they hand their business card to the other person. The person giving their card will hold it in both hands, and although not required, people receiving cards will often receive it with both hands as a way of saying “I’m honored to meet you and will take care of our relationship.” and as a sign of respect and sincerity. Additionally, one’s superior is always given the honor to distribute their card first. Unlike Western habits, the exchange of business cards with Japanese isn’t quickly dispensed with. Cards are carefully looked at for at least 30 seconds before being placed in one’s pocket. It would be disrespectful to dispense a card without having looked at it. Alot can be determined by examining the information written on the card, such as the other person’s age and how they may have obtained their position. Additionally, the location they are stationed at can become an area to appropriately comment on. Put the card away after you have reviewed it carefully. It is permissable to leave the card on the table if meeting with more than 2 people, but again, take care in placing them. Meishi ire or business card cases, are an important thing to own and use. It not only conveys that you will take care of cards you receive, but it ensures you will not be looking in every pocket for your own card to hand out and protects it from dirt and moisture, all of which conveys carelessness. Also insure you don’t mistakenly give a card other than your own. The last thing you want to do is hand over a card for a funeral home!

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