Job Hunting In Japan 101: How To Write a Business Email in Japanese

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

By: Abbey Kruska

Published date: October 1, 2019

So you got a reply. You’ve sent out your resume, and now the real business starts. Setting up appointments and exchanging e-mails with your potential employer--it may not seem like much, but this is actually a critical stage of finding a job. Before your interview, your emails are the only contact your potential future employer will have with you, and its important to make a good first impression. So stretch out your fingers and brush up your typing skills!

Navigating Japanese communication can feel like a minefield for foreign students, and in a business situation where the stakes are high, one wrong move could make or break your chances of landing that dream job or internship. But in an ever-advancing modern world, face-to-face is not the only form of communication you have to worry about.

Business etiquette and know-how in Japan is, to say the least, extensive. There is a distinctly Japanese way to do just about anything: greet, exchange business cards, open doors, poor alcohol, and even sit! And online communication is no exception.

A Letter-Writing Legacy

Though becoming less and less popular with younger generations, Japanese 手紙 tegami, or letters, are still a huge part of Japanese tradition. Letters are sent for changes of season, celebrations, and traditional holidays like New Years or Obon. These letters are hand-written on theme-appropriate postcards or stationary, using complicated phrases and kanji that most Japanese youth nowadays would boggle at is if its a foreign language. Luckily, Japanese email exchanges don’t have to be that complicated, but it’s still important to consider Japan’s historical and cultural background when it comes to the formality of communication