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In Hong Kong (and I believe other parts of China as well), one offers his business card by holding it with both hands with the text unobscured and oriented so that the other person can read it. After accepting the other person's card, one is expected to study it for a moment before putting it in one's wallet/pocket.

Are there similar customs surrounding the act of exchanging contact information in Japan?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Your instincts are right: in Japan, business cards, or meishi (名刺) are equally ceremonialized. The steps you describe for Hong Kong/China will serve you well as a general rule. For more detail:

A person is expected to present their meishi upon meeting a new business acquaintance. Meishi should be kept in a smart leather case where they will not become warm or worn, both of which are considered a sign of disrespect or thoughtlessness. The presenter extends the meishi, holding it with both hands, and introduces themselves by affiliation, position, and name. The card should be held at the bottom two corners, face up and turned so that it can be read by the person receiving the meishi.

When receiving a meishi, one should hold it at the top two corners using both hands. Placing one's fingers over the name or other information is considered rude. Upon receiving the meishi, one is expected to read the card over, noting the person's name and rank. One should then thank the other person, saying "choudai itashimasu" or "choudai shimasu", and then bow. A received meishi should not be written on or placed in a pocket; it is considered proper to file the meishi at the rear of the leather case. When meishi are being exchanged between parties with different status, such as between the president of a company and someone in middle management, it is proper that the person of lower status extend his or her business card in such a way that it is underneath or below the meishi being extended by the person in a higher position. If the meishi is being presented at a table, the meishi you received is kept on top of your leather case until you leave the table. If several people are involved in the meeting and you have several meishi, the one with the highest rank is kept on the leather case, and the others beside it, on the table.

The manner in which the recipient treats the presenter's meishi is indicative of how the recipient will treat the presenter. Actions such as folding the business card in half, or placing the presenter's meishi in one's back pocket, are regarded as insults

~from Wikipedia:Meishi:Presentation

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