How to treat the business card.
For most foreigners, a business is just something that contains
information, phone numbers etc. of a person and saves us time writing
the details down.
But as I mentioned in my previous post, the business card or meishi is
an extension of the person handing it out. And an extension of the
company he or she represents. So care and respect is accorded to the
handling of the business card during introductions.
To bend or damage the business card in front of its owner is considered
a direct insult. So make sure you avoid doing this at all times.
The owner`s name and title should be memorised as retrieving the card to
reconfirm the owner`s name is extremely poor etiquette.
Most Japanese business cards are blank on the reverse side. This offers
a convenient space for jotting down memos. However, this is also
considered insulting to do so in front of the person whose card it is.
Nowadays, most cards are printed on both sides, with Japanese on one
side and English on the other, reflecting the globalisation of Japanese
When the card collection becomes unmanageable, it should be place in a
holder. It is far easier than making an address file, and the personal history of a person, over the years, can be gleaned from a look into his name card file.
Meishis in Japan have such high credibility that crooks and conmen can
sometimes commit fraud using someone else`s card. That`s why when
handing out cards, police officials and high-ranking bureaucrats often
write the name of the person it was given to and the date on the reverse
The meishi can also act as a substitute to one`s actual physical
presence. If a person one visits is not in, one can leave their meishi
as a substitution and depart.