3 Basic Manners of Japanese Business Drinking Parties | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

3 Basic Manners of Japanese Business Drinking Parties

By Yae Feb 2, 2018


If you’re living in Japan and working at a Japanese company, have you already attended a business drinking party?
It’s one of the unique parts of a Japanese culture. This kind of a drinking party, such as a: Year-end party or a New Year’s party, sometimes even similar parties “for no reason”, exist to get to know each other better and motivate employees to work harder.

To make your boss satisfied and avoid troubles due to having bad manners, this article will show you some special manners you must know about to be ready for a business drinking party.
If you are planning on attending a business drinking party or a Business’ New Year party soon, you should keep these things in mind!



Manner 1. Pour a Beer for your Boss Initiatively



If you attend a Japanese company’s business drinking party, you must pour a beer or wine (depends on the preference of your boss) for your boss from the side.

After the party started and people are having fun chatting with each other, that’s the best timing for you to stand up with a beer(or wine) bottle in the hand.
Go to your boss’ seat from the side, and ask him/her:

“Mr. (Ms., Mrs.) ●●, would you like some more beer?”

Normally your boss would say, “Thank you” and hold out his/her glass for you to fill. According to this kind of behavior, your boss would think you’re respecting them and your boss will have a good impression of you.

Here are the steps you must follow when you pour a drink for your boss:


Step 1. Support the bottom of the bottle with your right hand, and put your left hand on the body of the beer bottle.

Step 2. Same as the wine pouring manners, make sure to face the beer label upwards and let your boss see the label.

Step 3. Your boss will make the glass slanted, so start to pour the beer slowly and try not to make the beer head at this moment.

Step 4. When the beer reaches to the middle of the glass, your boss will gradually make the glass straight up, so you should also try to hold the beer bottle a little high up to make the beer head(foam).


There is a culture of pouring beer and wine for older people in Japan, so this is also related to your boss at work as well.
Even if one day your boss says, “Today is informal, so let’s all enjoy ourselves!”, you should be wise enough not to take it seriously, and keep up the “pouring your boss a beer” mannerism. It may be just a “lip service” with thoughtful consideration from your boss to make the staff more relaxed.

You can feel like a professional bartender, as well as keeping the Japanese business manner while drinking, so don’t you feel it’s like killing two birds with one stone?



2. Immediately Say “Thank you” to your Boss the Next Day



There may be an opportunity of having an after party, and some of the staff members and the boss may continue drinking at a different bar.
In most cases, the boss will pay the bill or pay most of the bill. So don’t worry about spending too much money.

You must say “Thank you very much” in a polite way if your boss pays the bill or most of the bill at the bar (restaurant). You also need to show “second appreciation” to your boss the next day in the morning.


Here are the steps you must follow if your boss paid the bill for the after party:


Step 1. When you arrive at the office, first go to your boss room or boss desk immediately (Normally upper boss arrives at the office quite early every morning)

Step2. Say, ” Good morning, thank you for the meal/drinks yesterday” to your boss.

Step3. Your boss may smile and say, “No worry, it’s nothing”

Step4. Go back to your desk.


Generally, people show appreciation to the people who take care of the bills, but if
it happens at your company and your boss is that person, you must show your
appreciation twice.



3. Why are there Special Manners at Business Drinking Parties?



So why Japanese people have these kinds of special business manners at business drinking parties? What for?
For those who are not familiar with these manners, some of you may feel a little bit weird, but there are certain reasons such as:


・Through these special manners, you can have a good chance to be closer to your boss while drinking together. This makes it much easier to work together at the office.

・Respecting your boss even while drinking, shows him that you can be trusted and you won’t be selfish in any situation. Also that you do not forget to respect your boss even during drinking parties.


People sometimes become a little selfish when drinking too much, so by keeping and sticking to these special manners at a business drinking party, it might be easier to control yourself from not drinking too much and keep the respect towards your co-workers and the workplace.



The most important thing to have a successful company is “Stable and strong teamwork” . Japanese bosses care about this spirit all the time.

I hope that now you know what kind of basic business manners you should follow during business drinking parties in Japan.
It may feel a bit difficult, however, as an employee of a Japanese company you are expected to follow the rules and following manners!




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