A Lawyer’s Survival Guide to Tokyo

Vol. 43 No. 3


Gmeleen Tomboc is an associate with Sidley Austin LLP, Singapore. She worked at Yanagida & Partners, a Tokyo law firm, from 2012–13. Views expressed here are hers alone and not those of her firm or other entity or individual. This article is for educational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship.

Japan has been called a cultural Galapagos, as it has evolved distinct business and social customs. Tokyo, the capital, is no exception. Although it is one of the world’s most advanced cities, its culture reflects centuries of Japanese tradition, as well as the modern era. Visitors arriving in Tokyo Station for the first time may be surprised to see many men garbed in nearly-identical black suits, like a scene from The Matrix. Japanese culture may seem mysterious, but once you know a few key principles, you will understand many practices in Tokyo.

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