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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript


Becky: Hello, and welcome to JapanesePod101.com. This is Introduction to Business Culture, Lesson 3, Business Cards. In this lesson, we’ll teach you about the use of business cards in Japan. I’m Becky.
Risa: ...and I’m Risa.
Becky: Business cards are indispensable in Japan. You’ll see them everywhere. Risa, what are they called in Japanese?
Risa: 名刺 (meishi).
Becky: Business starts only after exchanging cards with your partners. “Exchanging business cards” in Japanese is...
Risa: 名刺交換 (meishi kōkan).
Becky: Let's learn the meaning of business cards in Japanese business culture and also learn how to exchange these cards.

Lesson focus

Becky: Japanese businessmen exchange cards when they meet for the first time.
Risa: We do this at the start of the meeting.
Becky: By exchanging business cards with your business partners or clients, you can learn about their personality based on the way they exchange their cards.
Risa: Business cards are very important.
Becky: Yeah, they’re so important that they can be seen as being a representation of the actual person.
Becky: Let’s see how to behave while exchanging business cards. Who has to give out their business card first?
Risa: The one who made the appointment.
Becky: So, it’s the one who wants to make a business transaction. What do we do if there are multiple people in the meeting? Who do we give our card to first?
Risa: Start with the person with the highest job title.
Becky: That’s true when giving business cards, too. The person with the highest position should give their business card first. So, if you’re with colleagues, the highest ranked person should go first.
Risa: There are also other rules.
Becky: For example, you carry business cards in a card holder.
Risa: Don’t put them in your pocket or in your wallet.
Becky: Please think of them as being important and as a representation of the person who gave you the card. So, it’s important to use a “business card holder,” which in Japanese is called...
Risa: 名刺入れ (meishi ire)
Becky: When you give your business card, hold the business card with both hands.
Risa: Also, hand out the business card to your partner, so that they can read it, too.
Becky: When you hold it out, introduce yourself and bow while handing them your card.
Becky: Now, let’s see what to do when you receive a business card.
Risa: When you receive a business card, take it with both hands.
Becky: Your line of sight should be pointing at the business card. Make it obvious that you’re looking at the card. What should you do with a card once you have it?
Risa: Put it on the table.
Becky: So don’t immediately put it away?
Risa: No.
Becky: If the cards are on the table, you can use them as references to remind yourself of everybody’s names.
Risa: It’s a good trick!
Becky: Can you write notes on the business cards?
Risa: No! Think of the card as being part of the other person.
Becky: And you’d never write on the actual person, so don’t write on the card! When the meeting is over, you can put the business card in the card holder.
Risa: Then, put the card holder in your pocket or bag.
Becky: But never put it in your back pocket.
Risa: Because if you sit down…
Becky: ..it will be like you are sitting on the other person.
Risa: That’s not good!


Becky: Those are the key facts about handling business cards in Japan. If you want to find the related Japanese keywords, make sure to check out the lesson notes.
Becky:Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Risa: Bye!