There are several ways the Japanese business cards (or meishi in Japanese) are different from American business cards but in more ways are they similar. This article will take a look at at a few examples of Japanese business card samples and the customs behind the exchanging of meishi.
Meishi - The Japanese Business Card
Traditional Japanese business cards (known as meishi in Japanese) are not unlike the ones you see in the western world. They contain the key information business cards hold such as the name of the company, name of the card holder, and contact information such as an address or phone where the company or card holder can be reached during business hours.
In fact, the only discernible differences to western business cards is the very strict etiquette that comes with exchanging business cards and that Japanese business cards have embraced more unique designs to their western counter-parts.
Provided are several examples of meishi that have either traditional designs or some that are more modern.
Japanese business cards are an important cultural symbol in Japan and should be treated as such. Cards should be clean, free of dog ears, wrinkles, and creases. It is especially appreciated if you keep your business cards in a protective leather case of some kind.
You must then state your name and business title and hand your card to the receiver with both hands with your thumb and forefinger at the top corners of your card. It is considered extremely respectful to present your card with your name facing your card's recipient.
When you receive a card you must thank the person giving you the card, read it over carefully out of respect, and stow it away in a protective case where it will not be damaged or dirtied.
Of Rice and Zen - Koi Design
This is a beautiful example of a traditional business card. It contains all the key contact information that on would expect from a potential contact in a clean and orderly fashion. It also features a unique and beautiful design that is not intrusive and extremely stylish.
As you can see, there is a lot of similarities between traditional cards in America are considerable in both style and form. Typically, you will see western cards feature only black and white while the Japanese typically embrace beautiful colors and designs to accent their business.
Animemoe.net - Front/Back
The design choice employed here is fairly common both here in America and in Japan. The setup of this business card can provide a unique look and feel for your business cards without losing the important pieces of information to design and style. This is another example of, what I consider, traditional business card design. This Japanese business card features a fully designed front with all business and contact information printed neatly on the back of the card.
All images are used for promotional purposes only and are listed in the order they appear.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominiekterheide/2492535018/sizes/m/in/photostream/ by dominiekth
http://www.flickr.com/photos/burleydude/2552284589/sizes/m/in/photostream/ by Andy Heather
http://www.flickr.com/photos/phossil/4040512609/sizes/m/in/photostream/ by phossil
Sources: De Mente, Boye (2004). Japanese Etiquette & Ethics in Business (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.