Exchanging Meishi (business cards) is considered proper business etiquette in Japan. Wouldn't you like to impress your Japanese business associates with a business card with your name written in Japanese?
Most people request two-sided business cards (one side in English and the other side in Japanese), but this is not what we would normally recommend to our customers.
Here is why: If you live in Japan, and your address is normally written in Japanese characters, it makes good sense to have one side in Japanese and the other in English. However, if you live outside of Japan and your address is normally written in English, then there is no reason to write it in Japanese characters because the post office in your country cannot deliver mail that is addressed in Japanese.
So, rather than translating everything on your card into Japanese, we recommend limiting the translation to descriptive words such as address, e-mail, phone, etc.
But of course, what will impress Japanese people the most is your name written in Japanese. So, we will put your name in Japanese characters in the center of the card with the largest font and then in Enlish in a smaller font underneath.(please see example). Our Meishi will be printed in Japan by a professional printing company which specializes in printing Meishi, so the actual card will look much nicer than this crude example.
Some people have asked us why the name is written in Kanji in this example instead of Katakana, which has been a conventional way to write foreigners' names. The truth is that there are many foreigners in Japan who have business cards on which their names are written in Katakana, and the people in Japan have seen plenty of that. So, this does not impress them nor is it noticed.
We would like your card to be not only impressive but also something that can work as an ice-breaker when you meet Japanese people. If your name is written in Katakana, the people in Japan will probably not say anything about it. But if it is written in Kanji, we guarantee that they will closely look at it for a minute and say, "Wow! This is a clever translation!" This kind of first impression, we believe is very important.
But at the same time, if your visit to Japan is strictly business, it is probably safer to bring more conventional Katakana version than unconventional Kanji version. People in Japan do have a sense of humor, but depending on the nature of your vist, you may only meet them in very formal settings where humor isn't appreciated.
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