Summary: Professional Travel and Cultural Competence
Tips on Greeting
The oldest person in a group is always revered and honored. In a social situation, he/she
will be served first and drinks will be poured for them.
Greetings in Japan are very formal and ritualized.
It is important to show the correct amount of respect and deference to someone based
upon their status relative to your own.
If at all possible, wait to be introduced. It can be seen as impolite to introduce yourself,
even in a large gathering.
While foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow.
How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person as well as the
situation. The deeper you bow, the more respect you show.
Regardless of sex or marital status, the Japanese typically address a person by last their
name, while using "san", a suffix showing honor. Never use this suffix when referring to
your own name. When refering to professors, doctors, lawyers and other professionals
using "sensei" rather than "san." It's rarely wrong to be too polite. "Sensei" is more
polite than "san".
The Japanese consider corporate titles and ranks extremely important. They address top
senior executives by title instead of last name. For example, people address Yohei