There’s a great post over on learn2lingo.com about some important points of Japanese business card (meishi) etiquette:
- The card should look brand new and not be worn or dirty. A business card in bad condition is a sign of thoughtlessness and will make a very bad first impression. Many Japanese people will have a special leather case to make sure their cards are in top condition.
- Offer the card with both hands so that is the correct way up for the person you are offering it to. In this case, its best to hold the two corners of the card nearest you so that it can be read easily by the person receiving it.
- When receiving a business card, accept it in two hands holding the corners nearest you. Make sure not to cover any of the information with your hands and make note of the person’s name, company and position.
- If you are standing, bow and place the business card at the back of your business card case. Don’t put it in your pocket, this is rude.
- If you are seated, place the card on the table for the duration of your meeting then put it in your business card holder once the meeting is over.
- If you need to exchange cards with someone who has a different status or level within the company, the person in a lower position is expected to hold his or her card lower.
If you’re going to work in Japan, these are really key points to remember. It’s also wise to put adequate effort into your card design and translation (on both English and Japanese sides).