Doing business in Japan: How to be formally presentable?
Before 2005, many Japanese businessmen were forced to wear a long sleeve jacket and tie even in the middle summer. Summer in Japan is not only very hot but also humid. Eventually, this leaves them all sweaty and they had to dry their faces carefully before they visit their clients. My husband has just started working as a sales person at that time. However hot it was, he never has stopped wearing his suit. He knows it’s ridiculous but he’s very hesitant to be regarded as “rude”.
But things are changing these days. The Japanese government declared that it’s not healthy and decided to hand out a new rule named “COOL BIZ”. This is also for energy saving reasons and purposes. This rule mentions what to wear in the hot or summer season. Thanks to this rule, we can wear a short-sleeve shirt without a tie like a 【3】 man in the picture below. This way he looks way cooler but still presentable.
What is COOL BIZ?
COOL BIZ is usually activated from June (or May) 1st to September 30th. So if you work at a certain company which accepts this rule, you can be casual like a【3】man on the example. But what about 【4】and【5】? They look much more cooler. If you work for a sales department you can’t be like them. Unfortunately many Japanese companies except clothing companies still think it’s too casual and not suitable for work. The problem is with the pants. You are supposed to wear full-length pants in business situation.
This rule also applies for women, of course. Female workers who have many opportunities to see their clients needed to wear jackets. But it’s not supposed to be that bad. We have three-quarter-length jacket made of the fabric for summer. After 2005, you can keep the jacket away but you are still expected to wear stockings. I’m a freelancer so no one ask me to do so, but I wear stockings when I visit my clients.
What is WARM BIZ?
Now you know you can spend summer in Japan with comfort, but what about winter? Winter in Japan is not that cold, but enough cold to snow every year even in Tokyo. Japanese government made another rule named “WARM BIZ”. This is also about a clothing rule but for the winter season. Before this rule was made, we couldn’t wear sweater or cardigan when we see our client because its not suitable for work. It can be very annoying sometimes!
The government asked us to wear warm clothes and keep AC temperature lower than 20℃(=68℉).
[Reference: WARM BIZ (http://warm-biz.seesaa.net/article/133093227.html)]
Most Japanese people hate changes like this, but now this became perfectly normal and acceptable.
Let’s know the standard and be cool(or warm) for the season!
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