Japanese business card, calling card or name card.

An absolutely essential item to carry and understand in Japanese commerce. Without a meishi, which should clearly state the carrier's name, title, and firm, you'd might as well not bother to get on with your Japanese business contacts. Not being able to present a meishi is considered to be quite rude. The westerner shouldn't presume that a non-Japanese business card is adequate in this context, either, as Japanese business-people need to understand your exact place in the corporate heirarchy so that they can show you correct respect and therefore allow smooth business to occur.

The best meishi will carry all of your western information on one side, with correct Japanese translations on the other. Do not attempt to have a meishi translated by a non-expert -- ask at your local JETRO office for free and expert assistance.

When presenting a meishi, one should hold it with both thumbs and forefingers, so that it can be read by the recipient. When receiving a meishi, one should take a moment to study it completely. Also, it doesn't hurt any to appear to be impressed with the bearer's title and firm. NEVER EVER mis-treat another meishi by writing on it, crumpling it, or putting it into your pocket. Keep it on the table while you're talking with your contact, and tuck it respectfully into your jacket pocket when done.

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