Business Japanese Conversation

Business Japanese Conversation

Business Japanese conversation is a step to your success in Japan. Business Japanese is a powerful tool when dealing with businesses in Japan, overseas, or starting a business.

You may write difficult Kanji and speak good Japanese, but being able to use Keigo makes a big difference in your career.

Keigo is honorific, a formal style of speech and is used to communicate with an older person or in business.

In daily conversation or JLPT, most of you have come across some Keigo. Here, more Keigo is used for business purposes.


  • Keigo, essential Japanese language in business
  • Variation of Keigo
  • What you must know in the Japanese business
  • Business Japanese Conversation Courses
  • What Pathway Japan can do for you

Keigo, essential Japanese language in business

Using beautiful Japanese language is essential in the business scene in Japan. Speaking in correct honorifics is a minimum manner in the Japanese business.

By learning Keigo, you will begin to understand the Japanese mind and the working style.

Japanese customs are unique, such that the speaking style changes depending on the situation or the person you speak to. And Keigo distinguishes its speech style.

So, let’s start with learning the difference in types of Keigo. By knowing the difference, appropriate Keigo can be used in different business situations.

Variation of Keigo

Keigo can be broadly divided into three types: Teineigo (polite), Sonkeigo (respectful) and Kensongo (humble) word.

Teineigo is an expression that directly honours the listener. It is expressed by adding a prefix such as “O or Go” and ending with “desu, masu, gozaimasu”.

Sonkeigo is an expression that honours the listener by raising the position of the other without changing your position. This is not the same as giving compliments to the other.

Kensongo is an expression that honours the listener by lowering oneself, thereby raising the position of the other.

The difference between Sonkeigo and Kensongo may be difficult to distinguish.  For instance, “Taberu”, to eat in Sonkeigo is “meshiagaru”, while in Kensongo is “itadaku”.

The Japanese learn to use Keigo by practising. Therefore, the best and the only way to learn Keigo is to implement and practice in actual situations.  Gradually, you will be able to understand when and how to use Keigo.

What you must know in the Japanese business

The most important thing to remember in the Japanese business is to know how to use honorifics internally and externally.

Using honorifics for the senior is a fundamental business manner, but it is different once you step out of the company. Both the senior and yourself become members of a group working for the same company. Hence, you are all on the same level.

For example, “XX-San or XX-Bucho, XX-Shacho” is a common referral term for a person who is senior to himself.  However, when referring your boss to the suppliers or customers, use the surname “XX” only.  By doing so, respecting the customers and suppliers.

Keigo is not easy to learn but mastering Keigo is a tremendous reward because your ability will certainly be appreciated in the world of Japanese business.

Business Japanese Conversation Courses

You may join the following Business Conversation courses after reaching an intermediate level in daily conversation or JLPT N3.

 Lesson structure

  • Learn words and phrases used at work.
  • Keigo in a variety of business situations.

 In addition, popular combinations are

  • Practical simulation
  • Internship programme
  • Job hunting support

Practical simulation

You will be applying your knowledge and conversation skills gained during the lessons to the simulated work setting.

For instance, you have an important presentation with a Japanese company in a few weeks. And you would want to impress the representatives.  In this scenario, your teacher will act as a representative of the Japanese company, a listener.

With your drafted speech, start the presentation in front of your teacher. Then the teacher will point out any mistakes or improvements that can be made.  This way, you can grow your confidence in using business Japanese.

The simulation can be applied to any work situation such as representation, interviews and negotiations.

Internship Programme

The programme prepares you for work opportunities in Japan. You will be assigned to a project of your choice and given all-round tasks needed to complete the project.

It is a unique course combination of Japanese learning and work experience offered in an international environment.

The course is 6-months. Therefore it is suitable for specific visa holders. A student visa is not applicable.  

Job Hunting Support

Business Japanese Conversation

The course prepares students for their job hunting in Japan.  It requires at least JLPT N3 to join the class.

The Japanese use a specific CV format using a particular writing manner. Therefore, learning how to complete the CV is a fundamental process when applying for a job. You can also practice the Japanese greetings and how to answer interview questions.

There are also opportunities to go on company tours or job fairs in Japan.  Career Forum Net in Tokyo is the biggest Japanese-English bilingual job fair in Japan. Over 250 companies participate every year. You can talk to employers directly and ask any questions. There is a chance they may invite you for an interview. 

What Pathway Japan can do for you

Best Japanese courses and schools: Advice on courses and schools that can deliver the results you want to achieve for your future career.

Bespoke plan: Present you with a plan showing what you can achieve within a given time frame. For those with a student visa, a maximum of 2 years is a time frame. With a plan, you will be able to see what is achievable in a set period.  

Business investment: Start a business in Japan? Do you have an investment proposal? Pathway Japan can connect you to the right people. A team of Japan, the UK and Singapore financial experts can help you set up a business in Japan.

Let’s get on a career ladder!

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