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What is “Meishi”?

名刺

“me-i-shi”

Meishi (business cards) are indispensable for almost all kinds of business in Japan. Normally when people meet in a business context for the first time, they start by exchanging their meishi and then move on to the main subject. Nowadays some use meishi for their private affairs; personal cards look more informal than those for business use. Usually exchanging cards starts with nobody saying anything since it is very common. But when you give your meishi, you have to say, “(your name) to moshimasu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.” When you receive someone’s meishi, it is common to say, “Chodai itashimasu.” If you run out of meishi, you can excuse yourself by saying, “Sumimasen, meishi wo kirashite imasu.” Meishi are still a very important item on business occasions.