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introductions and company name

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metablue
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introductions and company name

Postby metablue » June 24th, 2006 4:32 pm

When you introduce yourself, you are meant to also give your company name, right?
eg Honda no metablue desu.

In most contexts, or just business contexts? Would you include the company at a party? When you meet your brother-in-law?

What if you work for a tiny company that no one has ever heard of? Like, say, "Bob's Neighborhood 99c Store". Would you still mention it? Or only if you work for a fairly well known company? What if you are self employed? Say, a writer.

Jason
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Postby Jason » June 24th, 2006 5:07 pm

I'd say always in a business context or meeting with people you do business with. But outside of that it would be uneccessary and probably kinda awkward.
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Bueller_007
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Postby Bueller_007 » June 25th, 2006 7:51 am

Jason wrote:I'd say always in a business context or meeting with people you do business with. But outside of that it would be uneccessary and probably kinda awkward.

Agreed. And personally, I find that outside of a business context, Japanese people actually go out of their way to avoid mentioning their company name.

They say "I work for an electronics maker" instead of saying "I work for Panasonic".

metablue
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Postby metablue » June 25th, 2006 8:16 am

That's odd then. Why do Japanese classes in general make such a big deal about the handing out of business cards and the mentioning of company names in introductions? In the business context in English it's perfectly normal to say "I'm metablue, I work for Honda". It would be a bit odd not to, I think. So why emphasize so much that the Japanese do it too?

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Postby Bueller_007 » June 25th, 2006 8:28 am

metablue wrote:That's odd then. Why do Japanese classes in general make such a big deal about the handing out of business cards and the mentioning of company names in introductions? In the business context in English it's perfectly normal to say "I'm metablue, I work for Honda". It would be a bit odd not to, I think. So why emphasize so much that the Japanese do it too?

Yes, I agree. People like to overemphasize the differences between cultures.

But just thinking about it real quickly, I guess the "in-group"/"out-group" thing might have something to do with it.

Remember that the way that you speak depends heavily on your relationship with the other person.

So imagine that you meet a Mr. Tanaka. You work for Honda, and Mr. Tanaka works for Honda, but you don't announce your company names when you first meet each other at this business reception, so you don't know this.

You assume that Tanaka works for a company other than Honda. So when you refer to your own company president, you don't use the honorable suffix "-san" (because the president is in your "in-group" and Tanaka is not.) Tanaka might think that you lack respect for your boss (since you and Tanaka are actually in the same "in-group", you should be using "-san" to discuss your boss). If Tanaka doesn't realize that you also work for Honda, he could think that you were disrespecting HIS boss.

Alternately, imagine that Tanaka DOESN'T work for the same company as you, but you assume that he does. So you add the suffix "-san" to your boss's name. This could come across poorly as well.

And the language issues get much more complex than just "-san". For example, your choice of verbs also depends on in-group/out-group dynamics.

So it could make the conversation easier for both parties if you straighten away your relationship up front.

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Postby metablue » June 25th, 2006 4:13 pm

Bueller_007 wrote:But just thinking about it real quickly, I guess the "in-group"/"out-group" thing might have something to do with it.


ああ。わかりました。So you would give the company name in mostly the same contexts as you would in another country, but the social consequences of not giving it may be more serious than they would be elsewhere. どうも。

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Postby Bueller_007 » June 26th, 2006 5:53 am

metablue wrote:
Bueller_007 wrote:But just thinking about it real quickly, I guess the "in-group"/"out-group" thing might have something to do with it.


ああ。わかりました。So you would give the company name in mostly the same contexts as you would in another country, but the social consequences of not giving it may be more serious than they would be elsewhere. どうも。

Yeah, I'm sure you'd figure out what company the other person worked for after a while, but supplying this info up front just allows you to have a more relaxed conversation.

Or so I would imagine.

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Postby Airth » July 29th, 2006 3:24 pm

I'm not so sure that worrying about the kind of language to use comes into it so much. Rather, the whole business of introductions and the passing of name cards is so much more ritualized in Japan, which is why it is probably emphasised in Japanese classes.

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Postby Bueller_007 » July 29th, 2006 5:15 pm

Airth wrote:I'm not so sure that worrying about the kind of language to use comes into it so much. Rather, the whole business of introductions and the passing of name cards is so much more ritualized in Japan, which is why it is probably emphasised in Japanese classes.

Did you read the whole thread? We're not talking about the ritual and rules of introductions, just a simple sentence: "I'm Johnson from such and such company." You say it every single time you meet someone in a business context in English, so why does it get so much attention in Japanese?

Not to say that the Japanese introduction/business card exchange isn't more elaborate (it is), but I think the point that Metablue and I were both making is that the sentence is used no matter where you go.

Thinking about it, I probably taught my Japanese English students "I'm Johnson from such-and-such company" a crapload of times as well. Perhaps it's stressed merely because it's an extremely common phrase?

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Postby Airth » July 30th, 2006 2:38 am

Hello Bueller_007, yes I read the whole thread, and now I've had time to think about it I have another idea See what you think.

When you first get to the reception desk of a company in both countries you introduce yourself as you said, "I'm Johnson from such and such company." I think the difference is perhaps when you meet the person you intend to do business with; in English you would probably say something like, "I'm Johnson the Production Manager of such and such company." Whereas, in Japanese you would probably use the same introduction as before. In other words your job title wouldn't be used in your introduction, and most likely it wouldn't be printed on the Japanese side of your business card, either.

So perhaps the reason The Company is emphasised so much in Japanese classes is because your individual role in the company is of little or no importance during the introductory stage. Well, at least towards the lower levels of the employee scale. What do you think?

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Postby Bueller_007 » July 30th, 2006 2:47 am

Airth wrote:Hello Bueller_007, yes I read the whole thread, and now I've had time to think about it I have another idea See what you think.

When you first get to the reception desk of a company in both countries you introduce yourself as you said, "I'm Johnson from such and such company." I think the difference is perhaps when you meet the person you intend to do business with; in English you would probably say something like, "I'm Johnson the Production Manager of such and such company." Whereas, in Japanese you would probably use the same introduction as before. In other words your job title wouldn't be used in your introduction, and most likely it wouldn't be printed on the Japanese side of your business card, either.

So perhaps the reason The Company is emphasised so much in Japanese classes is because your individual role in the company is of little or no importance during the introductory stage. Well, at least towards the lower levels of the employee scale. What do you think?

I'm no businessman, so I don't know, but personally, I would never say my job title when I introduce myself. It sounds self-important.

And are you sure that Japanese people don't write the name of their position on their business cards? I've never made any for myself (not really necessary for an already-employed English teacher), and I've personally only received a few (a long time ago) so I did a quick Google image search, and a good number of them have something like 店長, 税理士 or 代表取締役 written on them.

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Postby Airth » July 30th, 2006 3:23 am

At the moment I have 8 Japanese business cards in my pocket; 2 have their positions clearly printed, the other 6 just show their department. I have no idea how representative that is so take it with a very big pinch of salt. The only thing I can say for sure is that I've met a number of Japanese people who were unable to tell me their specific job title in English or Japanese, which leads me to suspect that it's of less importance here when you get below middle management.

As far as giving my job title when introducing myself, I always did so when I lived in the UK. Otherwise the other person wouldn't be able to properly conduct business with me until they had asked me my position. I wouldn't say that is self-important, simply a part of doing business smoothly.

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Postby Bueller_007 » July 30th, 2006 10:38 am

Airth wrote:At the moment I have 8 Japanese business cards in my pocket; 2 have their positions clearly printed, the other 6 just show their department. I have no idea how representative that is so take it with a very big pinch of salt. The only thing I can say for sure is that I've met a number of Japanese people who were unable to tell me their specific job title in English or Japanese, which leads me to suspect that it's of less importance here when you get below middle management.

Hahaha. Yeah, exactly right. Metablue and I had this conversation elsewhere. Anything below middle management merely gets the catchphrase サラリーマン when they speak Japanese and "office worker" when they speak English. No need to write that crap on a card. (By the way, you shouldn't keep their cards in your pocket! First rule of Japanese card etiquette.)

As far as giving my job title when introducing myself, I always did so when I lived in the UK. Otherwise the other person wouldn't be able to properly conduct business with me until they had asked me my position. I wouldn't say that is self-important, simply a part of doing business smoothly.

Personally, since you always exchange cards anyway, I'd just write my position on the card and give it to them so they know. And it's better to have it on the card IMO, merely because Japanese people save those cards for years sometimes (my cousin as a stack thicker than an NYC phonebook), and if the position is not on there, it's not very useful once they forget.

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Postby Sanosuke » June 13th, 2007 5:37 pm

I have the business cards of my Japanese co-workers, and both have their titles. However, when introduced...they did NOT add their titles in the introduction.
It's my assumption that the title appears on the card as an FYI because...
In Japan, you are normally seated across from the person who has equal rank..so knowing one's place is important, however not so important in the US.
I would play it safe and ask a Japanese businessperson, ne?
Introducing oneself with the title, in the US anyways, never fails to make one appear self important...I would never do this, unless knowing my position at the company is crucial to the person I'm being introduced to. However my title is on all business correspondence within the company and outside of the company.

Tokorode, Peter...using "to moshimasu..." when introducing myself greatly impressed them!! Arigato!!

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