Your bilingual back office in Japan

See other videos

Japanese Business Practices - Bowing


Hello. Thank you for joining me for this video on Japanese Business Etiquette. This video focuses on how and when to bow in different business settings.

In Japan, we bow in everyday life to show respect for others. The custom of bowing is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Children start learning to bow from as young as 1 year old . Bowing is also very important in business settings. In this video we will explain how and when to bow naturally.

Degrees of bowing (0:56)
The degree and length of the bow represents the level of gratitude or apology you wish to show. As a general rule, the deeper the bow, the more sincerity shown. There are three common types of bow differentiated by its degree: 15 degree, 30 degree, and 45 degree.

The 15 degree bow is used in casual situations. It is used for greetings with co-workers or when you pass guests in the hallway.

The second bow is a 30 degree bow. It is used for more polite greetings with clients or with people of a higher social rank. We bow at the beginning and the end of meetings.

The last bow is a 45 degree bow used in more serious situations. It is used immediately after making an apology or expression of gratitude, to show sincerity.

The 30 degree bow is most commonly used in business settings. Let's watch an example, to see how to bow naturally.

Steps of 30 degree bowing (2:19)
That was the whole flow of the 30 degree bow; now let’s take a look at the action one step at a time, there are 4 points to note.

First, just before you bow, make eye contact with the other person and greet them. In this case, he says 'Honjitsuha yoroshikuonegai itashimasu'. It means 'thank you for your time today'. Then, you should start bowing after you finish speaking.

Second, place your hands by your side if you are male. Place your hands in front of you if you are female.

Third, with a straight spine, bow from the waist not from your head. Keep your eyes down, don't look at the person you are bowing to.

Finally, hold a 30 degree angle for 2 to 3 seconds before rising slowly.

That was the step by step of the 30 degree action. With these 4 points in mind, let’s go over the video once again.

Bowing can be seen throughout Japan in both every day and business settings, Such when you see your co-worker outside of a meeting room, or when you apologize to your client.

Bowing is a way of showing respect to the person you are communicating with. It will correctly convey your knowledge of Japanese culture, and your consideration for your business associates.

If you are interested in this topic and want to know more about doing business in Japan, please contact us by phone or email. Thank you for listening to this video.

Clients' Testimonials Testimonials

Email-icon Email us or call +81-3-5789-7900