The mystery of Japanese body language

Japan is a country rich in tradition that places great importance on behavioral culture and is famous for its “unwritten rules” “. They don’t always communicate through words. Another way is through gestures and body language. Let’s learn about the mysteries in the body language of the people of the cherry blossom country to understand better. about the sophistication in communication of an entire culture.

Bowing – the pinnacle of Japanese body language

The most common body language of Japanese people is bowing Japanese bowing is also considered a handshake in the West. This action is not only a way to greet the other person but also shows respect to the person you meet, whether they are friends or strangers Bowing your head when meeting each other in Japan will be considered impolite.

There are 3 types of greetings with different levels of formality Increasing in importance are EshakuKeirei and Saikeirei. Eshaku is a 15-degree bow used to greet colleagues or customers. Keirei is a 30-degree greeting used when communicating with superiors, older people, people with higher status or to ask for favors. Sankeirei is a 45-degree greeting used when meeting an important person or in cases of sincere thanks/apologies.

Japanese people usually bow more politely when saying goodbye than when meeting each other. For older people or superiors, they will have to bow deeply and keep it until the other person turns their back or until the door closes to show respect. For people with a much higher rank or age, they have to bow lower and maintain that position longer than usual.

Only on yourself

Many tourists may find this very strange, but in Japan people use Pointing at your face when talking about yourself. Indigenous people often use their index finger to point to the face near the nose.

Besides, pointing at people or objects in Japan is considered rude . Instead of pointing even when giving directions, Japanese people often use their whole hand to gently point towards the subject they want to talk about.

Even when they want to signal someone to come towards them, the Japanese do not use waving like other countries. They often turn their palms towards themselves, keeping their wrists still and moving their hands up and down.

Eye contact

Eye contact

Have you ever intended to make eye contact with a Japanese person but they only responded? look away? The reason is because this gesture is considered rude to Japanese people because it makes the other person uncomfortable and can often be misunderstood as a form of attack or aggression. Therefore, when talking to Japanese people, you should only exchange glances very quickly and then move your gaze to a more suitable location such as the other person’s neck. 

According to Japanese tradition, in a group, the only person who has the right to look another person in the eye must be a man the oldest or the person with the highest status

When Japanese people use the gesture of waving back and forth in front of the other person with the thumb pointing towards the partner and the finger youngest facing away ra it represents “no”. For example when they are accused of something it implies “it wasn’t me” or “it wasn’t” I didn’t do it.

If someone asks what you can do noThis gesture means “no I can’t.” It can also be used to say “no thank you” when someone tries to give you something you don’t need.

The act of crossing your arms across your chest also expresses a refusal similar to “no” but at a more negative and harsh level.

In addition to nodding As in the West, the Japanese also show agreement by making a large O shape with their arms raised above their head. You can also form a fist and hit the other palm with the meaning: “I agree with what you say”.

Wave your hand straight in front of your mouth with your thumb moving closer to your face when you want to say “I don’t know!”. You can also shake your head at the same time, but the movements of the head and hand must be in opposite directions. If you ask for directions and see this gesture, it means the person doesn’t understand the language you speak or they can’t give directions, ask someone else.

Counting numbers with one hand

When Japanese people count from 1 to 10, they will Use only one hand. Number 0 is the open hand. Start with your open hand and alternately close your thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger and little finger to count from 1 to 5; and do the opposite, open the little finger all the way to the end to count from 6 to 10.

To count for others Look, they will put their palm forward and raise their fingers one by one. Count from 1 to 5 in order of index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger and finally thumb; and do the same with your other hand if you want to count from 6 to 10.

Above are just a few highlights among the countless body language rules in Japanese behavioral culture. This country has many interesting things for us to explore.