If you’re doing business in Japan, it’s important to be able to understand and communicate using the country’s unique business jargon. While some Japanese terms are similar to their English counterparts, others can be quite different. To help you get a handle on some of the most common Japanese business terms, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide from experts like Kavan Choksi Japan.
One of the first things you’ll notice when doing business in Japan is that there is a lot of jargon used. While some of the terms are similar to their English counterparts, others can be quite different. To help you get a handle on some of the most common Japanese business terms, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide.
This term refers to the practice of giving a small gift to someone when you first start doing business with them. The purpose of the gift is to show your appreciation and generate goodwill. Common Shinjo-Sumi includes food items like fruit or candy or small household items like pens or paperweights.
Rakuten literally means “optimism,” but it’s often used as a stand-in for “hope” or “ambition.” It’s commonly used in phrases like “ganbarimasu,” which means “I’ll do my best.”
Senpai / Kouhai
These terms are used to refer to people who have seniority over you or junior to you in terms of job position or age. In general, it’s better to err on the side of using “senpai” when unsure, as it carries a more respectful connotation than “kouhai.”
Sakura zume is a type of bonus given out during cherry blossom season (usually late March to early April). The bonus is typically 10-20% of an employee’s salary and is meant to thank employees for their hard work over the past year.
Some Mistakes to Avoid
When doing business in Japan, there are a few pitfalls to avoid. One common mistake is using Japanese terms when speaking English. While this may impress your Japanese counterparts at first, it will quickly become clear that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. It’s better to stick to plain English.
Another mistake is to underestimate the importance of business cards. In Japan, exchanging business cards is an important ritual that should be taken seriously. Be sure to have plenty of cards on hand, and exchange them with care.
Finally, don’t try to haggle over prices. In Japan, prices are fixed, and negotiating is not common practice. If you attempt to haggle, you may end up offending your counterpart. This will not endear you to them and is likely to damage your business relationship.
By familiarizing yourself with some of the most common Japanese business terms, you can make a good impression and start doing business in Japan on the right foot.
As you can see, there are many different types of business jargon used in Japan. By familiarizing yourself with some of the most common terms, you’ll be better equipped to communicate effectively with your Japanese colleagues and clients.