Guide to Japanese Business Etiquette & Dress Code
When it comes to men around the globe who truly know how to approach business attire, the Japanese are towards the top of the list. Because, the Japanese value traditional business etiquette more than any other country, it should come to no surprise that we are featuring this culture’s business etiquette in our series titled “Business Dress Codes Around the Globe“. To put it simply, men in Japan put perhaps more effort into preserving tradition than those in any other country in the world. Individuals who travel to Japan for business often find the business culture in the country to be fascinating, not to mention practically sacred. Even if you don’t live in Japan or ever plan to do business there, it can be helpful to have a thorough understanding as to how the Japanese tend to approach business dress. The following are just a few things to remember about business dress and how important it is in Japan.
Dark Suits are Crucial
One of the most important things to understand about business dress in Japan is that dark suits reign supreme. In America and some other countries, it’s not always necessary to wear a suit that is exceptionally dark in color. This, however, does not apply to Japan. In this country, dark suits are of the utmost importance, and are a sign of respect amongst those who are setting out to attend business meetings. Normally, stark-white shirts are combined with these suits, as well as classic and elegant ties in order to make an attractive ensemble. For Americans and others who plan on traveling to Japan for business, it can be very effective to throw on a dark suit in order to show respect for those who are native to the country. Also, make sure to bring a handful of ties! Japanese men love ties. In fact, the average Japanese man has more ties in his wardrobe than men from any other culture. Didn’t pack a tie? Then shopping for ties will be easy. Japanese shopping malls are a tie aficionado’s dream!
Slip-On Shoes are Essential
In Japan, it’s often custom to take your shoes off in certain situations. Meals, business meetings and even entering certain buildings can all sometimes serve as times for taking off one’s shoes, which should never be overlooked. As a result, many businessmen wear slip-on shoes throughout the day. These shoes tend to be the exact opposite of the Italian dress shoes that are popular throughout Europe and the rest of the world; rather, they are inexpensive and easy to take on and off at will. A lot of Americans find that traveling to Japan and wearing traditional business shoes can make for an uncomfortable experience, and those who have been attending business meetings in Japan for many years know just how important it is to adapt to the customs of the country; especially regarding footwear.
Understanding Japanese Business Culture
In addition to learning how to embrace business dress, it’s important to gain a thorough understanding of Japanese business culture. For example, one is often expected to go out for drinks after a business meeting or workday; turning down an offer is considered to be an insult. Also, one should never put another’s business card in the their back pocket, which is considered to be highly disrespectful. Instead accept one’s business card with two hands, take your time to read it, and even ask a question or two about someone’s last name or title before placing it in your wallet or business card holder. Finally, leave small talk at the door during the business day, as this is not part of Japanese culture at all. The more effort you put into understanding Japanese business culture, the better off you’ll be.
Your Bows-n-Ties.com Team