Japanese culture prizes harmony and social order, and that focus is reflected in its social customs.

Honor-bound: Honorifics are phrases meant to clarify a person’s social standing, like Dr., Mr. Japanese honorifics, a set of suffixes added to names to convey relative social standing, can be confusing to outsiders.

Use Proper Punctuation Ensure that correct punctuation is used, and do not succumb to the habit of using lower case letters throughout.

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Avoid Writing A Pointless Subject Field The subject line is a summary of the content of the e-mail, and should alert the recipient.

A well-written subject line will ensure that the e-mail gets the appropriate attention.

A few words suffice as a holding reply (and reassure the sender that the e-mail has been received) until a longer reply can be composed. Refrain From Sarcasm Unlike an interactive telephonic or face-to-face conversation, it is impossible to judge how the recipient will interpret any comments in an e-mail.

Include Your Contact Details It is common to have a choice of several professional and informal signatures. The writing should therefore be kept brief, simple and to the point.

For outsiders looking in at a country’s etiquette rules, it can be easy to get culture shock.

That’s especially true when, like Japan, the country is famous for the complexity of its social rules.

With this in mind, the publisher of Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage has dragged itself kicking and screaming into the 21st century, with its first ever fully comprehensive guide to modern office etiquette.

The latest edition of the firm's traditional guide to manners, Correct Form, contains an entire chapter on the subtleties of what might be described as "techno-politeness".

They can be stored indefinitely and propagated at whim." They are also sternly cautioned that: "It is unacceptable to read a text message sent to another person's mobile phone.