Business Etiquette in Japan

In this part we would like to give you some basic ideas of the appropriate business manners when meeting Japanese business partners, especially for the first time. Don’t worry, Japanese business men know that other countries have other manners and they will forgive you minor mistakes.

Here are the 10 most important things you should keep in mind.

1. Politeness

Being polite is important everywhere. In Japan politeness is very closely connected to respect. Treat even the youngest attendant of the meeting with respect and they won’t forget it, when once leading the company you are doing business with.

2. Business Cards

You might see your business cards just as information, but in Japan you should treat the cards you receive like they were a part of the person. Show your respect by giving and receiving the cards with both hands. Don’t write on them, don’t flick them, just keep them on top of the table and confirm you are pronouncing the name correctly.

Keep your own cards and those you receive in an appropriate case and carry enough of them with you for a business trip.

3. Greeting

As you might know, Japanese don’t shake hands, but bow. Japanese who are not used to Europeans might get very unconfident when you rush onto them, shaking their hands. Wait for their reaction. If they offer you their hand, it is okay to shake it. If they don’t and bow to you instead, mimic that movement just slightly to show your respect. Don’t worry how deep you’d have to bow, your business partners don’t expect perfectness, but only politeness.

4. Outfit

You’ll be fine with formal business attire, just as you would expect your European business partner to wear.

5. Interest

It is important that you show your interest in your business partner. You’ll probably do research on the company you want to work with in advance, anyway. But if you take a lot of notes during a meeting and make a lot of inquiries about the company and projects, your business partner will appreciate it a lot.

6. Distance

Keep in mind, that the first meeting with Japanese might feel a little bit stiff, because they need to get to know you first. So keep your distance, physically and don’t touch your business partner either. If you are getting along, in later meetings the feeling of distance might change a lot, so just be patient.

7. Time for Preparation

If you wish your business partner to sign a document or take a look at some data, he will much appreciate it, if you send the documents as early in advance of a meeting as possible. Especially when you are not directly meeting the head of a company, decision and revision take time on the Japanese side.

8. Unknown Rules

If you are unsure of some rules or just don’t know they exist, for example where to sit, wait for the action of your business partner and until he tells you where to sit. This is not only the safest way not to violate rules, it will be also recognized as politeness and respect.

9. Business Dinner

It might happen that the real talk about business starts in a restaurant or bar. There are a lot of rules around eating and drinking. Here are two you should consider: Never stick your chopsticks into your food, but place them next to your plate. If your cup is empty, your business partner will fill it again. If you don’t want him to, don’t empty your cup. When he emptied his cup, it is much appreciated if you, in turn, refilled his cup.

10. Reliability

Needless to say, reliability is the base of trust and cooperation. So be on time. And if you can’t be, tell your business partner well in advance. Also, if you call him one hour prior to the meeting, telling him you are on your way, that makes you more reliable. Always stick to the timetable and take care of deadlines. Last but not least, prepare the meeting’s contents well, for the Japanese companies’ timetable is very strict and you won’t be given more time than agreed on.

For further information regarding business manners, feel free to contact us.


Earlybird Flowershow in the Sankeien Garden!

The Lotus was the favorite flower of Mr. Tomitaro Hara, known as Sankei Hara, the founder of the Sankeien Garden. At break of dawn, the lotus begins to slowly open and will be fully open and best to be seen at 7 am. At 9 am it already starts to close its petals and will be fully closed again around noon.  Since this flower beautifully blossoms amidst mud, it has become a metaphoric expression in the speeches of big men, is a holy plant in India and the symbol of virtue in China. To see this beauty in its full scale, it is worth getting up this early in the morning.

July 15th-August 6th on Weekends and public Holidays
■On the following 9 days from 6:00 am-8:30 am
15.07.2017 (Sat), 16.07.2017 (Sun), 17.07.2017 (Mon, Holiday), 22.07.2017 (Sat), 23.07.2017 (Sun), 29.07.2017 (Sat), 30.07.2017 (Sun), 05.08.2017 (Sat) and 06.08.2017 (Sun).


Around the Lotus pond
※The flowers can be enjoyed together with the symbol of the Sankeien Garden, the three-storied Pagoda.

■Lotus Fun corner
《Lotus leaf-shower》
Water coming out of the middle of a lotus leaf. A favorite of young and old that can be found only in the Sankeien Garden.
《Lotus thread》
When breaking and twisting the lotus stem, a long thread appears.
Kids can stamp out holes for eyes and mouth with cookie cutters to create a unique mask.
《Soap-bubbles from lotus stems》

For more information see the Sankeien Garden Homepage.



Yokohama_Bahamut Projektion_FinalFantasy

The Bahamut Projection

On the weekend of June, 10th-11th, Bahamut was summoned on the surface of the 140m high Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel. The many visitors arrived early that day in order not to miss the spectacle. The projecting contained the illusion of moving buildings, Chocobos appearing in a small comedy-play and, finally, Bahamut appearing, setting the harbor city on fire. In a fierce fight, the Warriors of Light defeated the mighty dragon and saved Yokohama from destruction.

Both days the surrounding area was full of people, leaving not a single vacant seat. The audience was thrilled.

The producer of FinalFantasy XIV, Naoki Yoshida, stated: “It makes me very happy, that, regardless of age and sex, everyone was absolutely delighted with the event. It seems the children from 30 years ago stayed tuned till today, passing their enthusiasm to their children and even play Final Fantasy Games together with them.”

A game’s series lasting for 30 years, must indeed have a fascinating power. Square Enix used this power to not only let Yokohama burst into flames within the projection but also to set the hearts on fire those two days.


17th Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection

During this year’s big film festival, the Frankfurt citizens once again celebrated the relation between Germany and Japan. It is clear how important this festival has become for filmmakers and artists, given that it is the biggest of its kind outside of Japan and that even a superstar like Mr. Koji Yakusho joins the celebration. On this year’s 17th Film Festival he received the Nippon Honor Award. 

In the frame of the city partnership between Frankfurt and Yokohama, officially welcomed by the city magistrate Ms. Nazarenus-Vetter in the town hall, two directors of the Tokyo University of the Arts, Ms. Rina Tanaka and Mr. Taruto Fuyama, took part in the Festival’s program and presented their own works and those of their students. Afterwards, they answered questions from the audience.


One important question was: ‚Where does all this creativity go, that we can see here? The anime producers nowadays seem to release the same old thing over again.’ Indeed, the level of creativity of the animated short films of the students of Mr. Fuyama, was very high and of such variety, the film industry would dream of.

According to Mr. Fuyama’s answer, it was quite difficult for graduates starting at big animation companies, to immediately come up with their own and new ideas that could influence the industry.

For the organizers, for the merchandise- and information booths, as well as for the workshops the festival was quite successful. As part of the support of the festival from the side of the Yokohama Office Frankfurt, the revenue of the needle felt workshop held by Saskia Kordatzki, was full to the benefit of the Nippon Connection. The participants made a lot of very cute mascots with this easy technique.

Chief Representative Takashi Yanagisawa greeted the directors and the audience before the screenings and was able to use that short moment to also shortly introduce Yokohama.


Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Festival in Yokohama

From June to July there will be a big festival for the 30th anniversary of the famous Role-Play-Game Series Final Fantasy. During that time, various exciting events surrounding the Game Saga will happen in Yokohama. Here are two examples of the major events:

  1. The Final Fantasy XIV Projection Mapping
    Bahamut, a huge Dragon, will be summoned in the ‘Ocean City’ Yokohama in a huge projection and there will be a ferocious fighting between him and the Warriors of Light.
    Read more.
  1. Special Exhibition of over 10,000 Figures of the Final Fantasy Play Arts series
    Over 10,000 figures of the Final Fantasy Play Arts series and special panels will be displayed in the Yokohama Doll Museum.
    <Dates>  June 24th (Sat.) to July 17th (Mon.), 2017

For further information regarding the exact schedule of the events, please take a look at this page.


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©2015 - 2017 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved. ILLUSTRATION:©2015 YOSHITAKA AMANO


Japan Day Düsseldorf 2017 – Cosplay and Yokohama

On May 20th the annual Japan Day took place in Düsseldorf. In cooperation with the Consulate General Düsseldorf, we had the opportunity to present Yokohama at a joint booth.

The Japan Day, as the biggest event of its kind in Europe, is every year again a mecca for many 10.000 Manga-, Anime- and Japan fans from all over the world. In very good and warm weather, we could welcome uncountable many Anime characters and Japan enthusiasts and answer them many questions about Yokohama.

An impression of the Japan Day you can get in this video, made by the organizers.



Frankfurt and Yokohama ring in spring

The blossom festival at Frankfurt’s highest spot, organized by the MainÄppelhaus Lohrberg, was, in many aspects, very successful. On the one hand, the Frankfurt Yokohama Citizens’ Network presented the association and Yokohama with a booth and could attract many people with a variety of delicious specialties. 

On the other hand, Ms. Pfreundschuh, representing the city of Frankfurt, the Vice-consul, Mr. Tsunoda, and 6 delegates from the Yokohama City Council (Mr. Makoto Sakai, Mr. Masaru Kurokawa, Mr. Takeshi Shibuya, Mr. Katsunori Seki, Mr. Masato Yamashita and Mr. Tadanori Watanabe) had an interesting exchange and could promote the corporation of both cities. The high number of visitors also tells the story of the successful ring-in of spring.

For more information also see this article for the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. (German only)


40 years of city partnership: Yokohama and Constanța

In April, the deputy head of the city council, Mr. Hiroto Kato, and the deputy mayor, Mr. Makoto Kashizawaki, visited with a delegation the twin city Constanța in Rumania.
As part of the celebration, the representatives of Yokohama and the mayor of Constanța, Mr. Fagadau Decebal, summarized the success of 40 years of cultural exchange and confirmed their wish to continue this exchange even stronger in the future.

On this occasion, the members of the city partnership committee performed Japanese Misato-style dance and sword dance and played on the Tsugaru-Jamisen (a special Shamisen from Tsugaru).

These members are presenting unique Japanese-lessons in a high school, in which they also teach Japanese dance, in the capital of Rumania, Bukarest. At the peak of the celebrations, the commitment of 70 Japanese-learning students was honored with a joint dance performance.


The GJS Linden Warabi, Pictures, that learned to shine and elder care

This all came together on April 1st in the Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt at a guided tour through the exhibition ‘Yokohama 1868-1912 – When Pictures learned to shine’. Together with the Chief Representative, the travel group of the GJS Linden-Warabi visited this exhibition that shows the development of Yokohama after the forced opening of Japan to the west. In the afternoon, Mr. Yanagisawa forged the bridge into the modern Yokohama and gave a lecture about elder care in Yokohama – a topic the travel group was especially interested in.

Further information you can find in an article of the newspapers, Gießener Allgemeine Zeitung. (German only)


Leading manufacturer, Hellma Materials, expands to Yokohama!

The german producer of high-quality synthetical optical crystals, used in a vast range of industries such as microlithography, optics, laser technology and radiation detection, Hellma Materials GmbH, recently opened a branch office in Yokohama. The crystals are highly praised all over the world for the high-quality and purity and find a vast use in, e.g. semiconductor production, aeronautics and astronautics, military, medical fields and many more.


Yokohama Skybuilding 20F, 2-19-12 Takashima, Nishi-ku,
220-0011 Yokohama, Japan

Mr. Thomas Töpfer

October, 2016

Inaba Koichi
Tel: +81(0)45-440-6617; e-mail:

Hellma Materials GmbH
Moritz-von-Rohr-Straße 1, 07745 Jena, Germany

March, 2010

Hellma Materials GmbH