Secrets of Japanese Business Etiquette: Avoid insulting a Japanese

This is the final blog in our series of Secrets of Japanese Business Etiquette (How not to Faux Pas). It provides tips on how to avoid insulting a Japanese business man. 

There has been much written about Japanese business etiquette, but sadly much of it seems written by people who have not been to Japan for many years. Also, most guides do not take into consideration that Japan is a clash of traditions and modernity. This is why we have come up with our Business etiquette series which covers:

              1. Greetings and Bowing
              2. Japanese Business Cards
              3. Business attire
              4. Business meetings
              5. Personal habits
              6. Extra tips on how not to insult a Japanese

How to avoid insulting a Japanese

taking shoes off in japan before enterinf

There are few things about Japanese culture you should be aware of even if you’re outside the business situation:

  • Taking off your shoes at the entrance of homes (they give you a different pair of slippers to wear). We experienced this custom when entering offices being part of the fabric/workshop too. Don’t worry, the Japanese host will have slippers for you to use.
  • Do not tip anyone ever! This is considered as an insult in Japan.
  • Do not eat while you are walking around.
  • Use both your hands if you are giving/receiving a gift.
  • If you are using chopsticks to eat, do not use leave them upright in your bowl, play with them or pass food to another person using them.
  • Be punctual and do not raise your voice as it will be considered uncouth.


There you go. After following those tips you should leave a very good impression on your Japanese counter-parties. Good luck!


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