Anyone who has been employed at a Japanese company for some time might have come across various documents required in different situations. The exchange of documents can be either top-down, bottom-up or between the subordinates within an organization. However, the external documents are used to mainly communicate with the clients. In this blog post i will try to list out the frequently used documents that i have come across during my career.

Company Internal Documents

In the corporate world, documentation is very important. The internal documents are intended for use within a company for communication or information exchange. This should result in improving the efficiency of work, implementing new ideas etc. In the following section let us try to understand the various types of internal documents and the purpose of each.


The following documents follow a top-down or bottom-up flow within an organization.

日報・週報・月報(Daily & Weekly & Monthly Report )

A daily report is typically a document prepared by each of the team member / team lead to submit to their supervisors. A standard report contains details on how they spent their work day, including any achievements or challenges that they encountered. It gives information about the work an individual / a team has done for the day and how it contributes to a team’s or company’s overall accomplishments.

A weekly report outlines the main points of the week’s projects and tasks, including team and individual accomplishments, completed projects and future work overviews. It is a great way to monitor employee performance and ensure that projects stay on track.

A monthly report provides a summary of all the activities that have occurred and are in progress on a project during a given month. Project Managers use monthly reports to inform the client / the higher management about scope creep, risks to the schedule, budget, or resources, and other issues.

届出書・申請書(Notification Form)

This form is used to report to the company about your current status. Also this can be an application that you submit to your company for approval. This form will be helpful to the company (concerned department) for a smooth execution of the necessary processes. Usually a standard format in word or excel will be provided by the company that needs to be filled and submitted. Some of the frequently used forms are change of address form, commutation expense reimbursement form, certification expense reimbursement form etc.

顛末書(A Circumstantial Report)

In case of an incident or trouble at work, a written statement needs to be submitted that explains the status of the trouble or the cause of occurrence. Also the mitigation steps need to be mentioned before submitting the report to the supervisor.

辞令(Appointment Notice)

This notification is issued by the HR department to an employee, based on the instruction from higher management in case of transfer, promotion etc. This is different from the everyday work instruction sent by an incharge to the team. This document contains changes to employee information like location, wages, position, job profile etc.

通達(Official Notice)

This is usually a notification mail or document sent by the person incharge to a team or all the employees w.r.t matters relating to work or any specific instruction. Some of the official notice examples are change in work timings, new year holiday calendar etc.

Non Hierarchical

The following documents are mostly used between the subordinates, between the concerned members or used by an individual to improve work efficiency.

管理台帳(Management Register)

This is a record to precisely manage the various office equipment, office supplies, IT (software & hardware) etc. Some of the frequently used records are the inventory management record, asset management record, change management record etc. Usually, this is used by multiple people with shared usage permissions while performing a task. Mostly, Excel tool or online database is used for this purpose rather than a sheet of paper.

一覧表・名簿(List & List of names)

Literally ichiranhyō means a chart or a table. This term is frequently used to refer to any list that you prepare at work including names. However meibo refers to a list or directory of people only.

手順書(Procedure Manual)

This document tells us about the steps to be followed to execute a process or task. Anyone who goes through this document should be ready to execute the actions instantly. This document will be helpful while executing a task, when the task is being assigned to another person, while training a new employee, in case any improvements are to be made to a process.


This refers to timetable or calendar that lists events and times at which they take place. Some of the frequently used ones are the Outlook calendar, work/shift schedule, task schedule etc.

議事録(Record of Proceedings)

This is also known as minutes of a meeting that provides instant written record of a meeting or hearing. Minutes may include agenda, date & time, place, list of attendees, outline, issues & responses, comments.


A checklist helps to reduce mistakes by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It aids to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task. A simple example is a To-Do list that can be used at workplace to enlist the tasks to be carried out in a day/week, enlist the steps to be carried out in order to execute a task successfully.

伝言メモ(Message Memo)

A message memo is used frequently when the concerned incharge is absent. On behalf of the incharge, necessary information is taken note of inorder to convey when the concerned person gets back.

Company External Document

These documents are either business related or invitation/notification issued to clients. Among other types there are etiquette and legal documents as well. Hence these documents need to be polite and should be carefully written.

Business Related


This document is submitted during the bidding process and will contain details like the price, conditions etc.


An invoice is a simple document with a list of all products, price descriptions, tax breakups that establishes an obligation on the buyer/client to pay the seller for the purchased goods or services.

注文書(Purchase Order)

A purchase order is an official document that buyers/customers send to sellers to document the sale of products and services to be delivered at a later date.


案内状(Invitation Letter)

This is a document to invite the customers to an event that is to be held at your company.


This document is used to notify a candidate about the acceptance or rejection of candidature or used for communicating any administration related information.


挨拶状(Greeting Card)

This is sent to convey good wishes to the customer. Usually, greetings are sent to the customers during the new year, summer time, new business unit opening, transfer etc., This is used within a company to greet each other as well.

礼状(Letter of Thanks)

This is sent to customers or to any superior at your company from whom you have received a favor.



A negotiated and typically legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action.

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