Oshigoto rules: Bowing


Some people greet by shaking hands, some by hugging, while some others by kissing. As for the Japanese, they have a unique way of greeting – by bowing. This particular manner of the Japanese is known as ojigi (おじぎ).

Ojigi is indeed a basic yet very important manner of the Japanese people. If one is unable to use ojigi at the correct place and time, no matter how strong his ability is, he will not be considered as a successful business man in the eyes of the Japanese people.  One could be viewed as rude and no common sense if ojigi is not implemented properly. It is, therefore, hard to maintain a harmonious relationship with others in Japan with the lack of knowledge of ojigi.

On the other hand, if one is able to handle ojigi well, on top of gaining favourable impressions, having a great and stable business relationship with your business partners would be much easier.


There are 3 common ojigi for business situations. These include eshaku (会釈), keirei (敬礼) and saikeirei (最敬礼), arranged in ascending order of sincerity. Let’s look at which type of ojigi is more suitable when we are placed in different situations.

Eshaku – the most casual ojigi:

Artboard 1-100Just like a salute, this is the most frequently applied ojigi. Together with a bright smile, It can be used on almost everybody, whom you have encountered, to show your respect to them.


Keirei – a common ojigi:

keireWith some smart aisatsu, this type of ojigi is used when welcoming or sending off customers. Don’t forget to lower your head and place both of your hands in front of your laps.


Saikeirei – the most courteous ojigi

saikeireWhen you think that you are surrounded by a very formal and serious vibe, it is time to apply this type of ojigi. It is usually used when expressing gratitude or apologizing.


How to do a professional self-introduction in the Japanese way?

  1. Ojigi
  2. Simple greetings : e.g. はじめまして (Nice to meet you)
  3. Introduce your name : e.g. 〇〇ともうします (I am ______ )
  4. Say something about yourself to let people have a stronger impression of you
  5. Greetings again : e.g. よろしく、おねがいします (It’s my pleasure to work with you)
  6. Ojigi again


Still sounds a little confusing and you are worried about not applying the most suitable ojigi at the right time? Just keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Nevertheless, nothing could go wrong with showing politeness, sensitivity and present yourself smartly with good manners when you are working with Japanese business partners.

Source: https://i1.wp.com/www.depepi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/japanese-bowing-2-depepi.com_.gif?resize=400%2C243


Learn Japanese words!
仕事 (shigoto) – work
ビジネス (bijinesu) – business
常識 (jooshiki) – common sense
適当 (tekitoo) – suitable
人間関係 (ningenkankei) – human relationship
印象 (inshoo) – impression
笑顔 (egao) – smile
体 (karada) – body
両手 (ryoote) – hands
腰 (koshi) -waist