Oshigoto rules: Exchanging business cards Part II


In our previous post, we have discussed the situation for exchanging business cards with one single person. However, it becomes more confusing in the case when you need to exchange business cards with more people. It can be quite tedious if you have to receive a number of cards and remember everybody’s look and details within a short while. Worry not, there are a few ways to help you with remembering everyone better, and we should move on into discussing a little more about it.

In most cases, the “card-exchanging” process always starts from the person with the highest status, of the visiting party, and then the flow continues down the chain. This is very helpful in learning who is the decision-makers and it is important later on when making correspondence.


Once a card is received, be sure to keep the cards in a way that you know who it is from. For example, you may like to place the card from left to right according to the givers’ seating order, as seen from your own point of view. This helps to remind you the name of the person that you are talking to. Thus, cards should be kept on display for the remainder of the interaction.

Do not panic if the order gets a little messed up. As we have previously learnt about how sitting position reflects one’s status, it will definitely save you much effort on trying to remember which card belongs to who. Since we know how to tell the status difference by recognizing kamiza and shimoza, you can then refer back to the business card with the rank to find the right person.

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Always keep the business card of the person with the highest rank on top of your own business card case to show your respect.


Business card acts as a representative of a person. It is therefore very important to show respect to it as how you respect the person himself. Even when meeting a  group of people, it is always a good thing to do if you can take a moment to read each individual’s business card upon exchange. Most importantly, keep in mind that during a business situation, the cooperation or the team is far more important than any individual actions. Always address the group as a whole rather than single out individuals.

Learn Japanese words! 

複雑 (fukuzatsu) – complicated

基本的 (kihonteki) – basically

スムーズ (sumuuzu) – smooth

個人情報 (kojinjoohoo) – personal information

重要 (juuyoo) – important