A person is expected to present a meishi upon meeting a new business partner. Meishi are kept in a leather case where they will not become warm or worn, both of which would be considered a sign of disrespect or thoughtlessness. The presenter holds the meishi out with both hands and introduces him or herself by affiliation, position, and name. The card should be held at the bottom two corners using both hands, face up and turned so that it can be read by the person receiving the meishi.
When receiving a meishi, one should hold it at the top two corners using both hands. Placing one's fingers over the name or other information is considered rude. Upon receiving the meishi, one is expected to read the card over, noting name and rank, then thank the presenter saying "choudai-itashimasu" or "choudaishimasu", and bow. A received meishi should not be written on or placed in a pocket; it is considered proper to file the meishi at the rear of the leather case. When meishi are being exchanged between parties with different status, such as between the president of a company and someone in middle management, it is proper that the person of lower status extend his or her business card so that it goes under or is at a lower level than that of the person in a high position. If the meishi is being presented at a table, the meishi you received is kept on top of your leather case while you talk. If several people are involved in the meeting and you have several meishi, the one with the highest rank is kept on the leather case, and the others beside on the table.
The manner in which the recipient treats the presenter's meishi is indicative of how the recipient will treat the presenter. Actions such as folding the business card in half, or placing the presenter's meishi in one's back pocket, are regarded as insults.
Unlike in some Western cards, the focus is placed on the company. For example, a meishi will feature the company name at the top in the largest print, followed by the job title and then the name. This is also how Japanese introduce themselves: company and title first.
Usually the person's name is written in Japanese using both kanji and romaji (typically kanji is on the obverse of the card, and romaji is on the reverse), along with the person's title and the company for which he or she works. Other important information is usually provided, such as business address, phone number and fax number.
Meishi may also contain a QR code to provide contact details in a machine-readable form, but this has not yet become a widespread practice. According to a 2007 survey, less than 3% of Japanese people own a meishi with a QR code printed on it.
Traditionally, meishi are produced in an old Japanese paper size called yongō (4号, 91×55 mm), although the equivalent metricated size of 90×55 mm is also gaining popularity. For women's meishi, it was once customary to use cards of a smaller size called sangō (3号; 85×49 mm) with rounded corners, but this size is not often used in Japan presently.
- ↑ Japanese QR codes provide marketers a glimpse of the future
- ↑ 2007 survey results (Japanese)
- ↑ http://www.ictnet.ne.jp/~meishi/ (Japanese)
- ↑ http://web.archive.org/20070630122021/digitalmeishi.cart.fc2.com/?ca=6 (Japanese)
- ↑ See, e.g., http://www.adobe.com/jp/special/creativesuite/portal/guides/cs2_01_52.html (Japanese),
- ↑ http://www.youmeishi.com/contents/product/paper.html (Japanese)
- Script error
- Meishi: The Art of Introductions. Review of a 2007 exhibition of meishi at the Printing Museum, Tokyo, with photographs.
- Meishi: Japanese Business Card Exchange, Translation & Etiquette. Cultural Tips on the Etiquette of Exchanging Business Cards in Japan and information on Japanese business card translation.
- Japanese Business Card Samples. Exchanging business cards in Japanese culture and business card translation and printing.
- Japanese Business Card Translation Samples. Examples of western-based English business cards translated and typeset into bilingual Japanese meishi.nl:Meishi