Even if you don’t speak a word of Japanese, knowing a few common greetings will help breaking the ice with your Japanese counterparts. This is a list of very common Japanese greetings you can apply in various situations. This article also covers a few basic Japanese manners related to greetings.
|Good morning||ohayou gozaimasu||おはようございます||お早うございます|
|good evening||konban wa||こんばんは||今晩は|
|Good night||oyasumi nasai||おやすみなさい||お休みなさい|
|How are you?||ogenki desuka?||おげんきですか？||お元気ですか？|
|What’s new?||saikin dou desuka?||さいきんどうですか？||最近どうですか？|
|I am fine.||genki desu.||げんきです。||元気です。|
|See you later||mata kondo||またこんど||また今度。|
Exchanging business cards
There are a few basic rules on how to exchange business cards in Japan. First of all you exchange business cards with two hands. When receiving the other persons business card you should contemplate it for a few seconds. During this time you confirm the name as well as the title, so that you get an understanding on where this person stands in relation to the other participants. It is also considered polite to say a word about the other person (e.g. Your offices are in a convenient place, etc.)
When you sit at the conference table you arrange the business cards in front of you so that they match the order of the people sitting in front of you. This can be a bit difficult when many people attend a meeting.
You never write something on the business cards in front the people you received them from. This is considered as rude and I have only seen very highly ranked people doing this. Later on you of course are free to write any useful information on the business card.
You sometimes might not be sure if you have met a person before. Not handing over your business card would be rude, but not recognizing the other person does also not send a good message. In this case you address the person, when you realize that you met before you mention that your business card has changed. Japanese always want to have the latest version of your business card.
In Japan people bow to each other when exchanging greetings. The degree of the bow expresses the level of respect towards the other person. In general bowing by about 15% is regarded as sufficient – especially for foreigners.
There are differences between the way women and men bow. Whereas men keep their hands at the side of the body, women put the hands in front of the body.
Do you have experience with Japanese manners? Tell us more about it.