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How do Japanese greet their friends?


In Japan, greeting someone is a way to show respect and honor to them. Japanese people have a unique way of greeting their friends that is deeply ingrained in their culture. In this article, we will discuss the various ways that Japanese people greet their friends.

Bowing as a Greeting

The most common way Japanese people greet their friends is by bowing. Bowing is a sign of respect and humility in Japanese culture. The deeper the bow, the more respect is being shown. Typically, a shallow bow is used for casual greetings between friends.

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Handshakes and Hugs

While not as common as bowing, handshakes and hugs are also used as greetings in Japan. Handshakes are usually reserved for business settings, while hugs are more commonly used among close friends.

Using Honorifics

In Japanese culture, honorifics are used to show respect when addressing someone. When greeting a friend, it is common to use the honorific “san” after their name. For example, “Yamamoto-san” instead of just “Yamamoto.”

Using Nicknames

While using honorifics is common, using nicknames is also a way to greet friends in Japan. These nicknames are usually based on the person’s appearance or personality and are used as terms of endearment.

Exchanging Business Cards

In business settings, exchanging business cards is a form of greeting in Japan. The cards are exchanged with both hands and should be examined carefully before being put away.

Small Talk

Before getting to the main topic of conversation, it is customary to engage in small talk when greeting someone in Japan. This helps establish a connection and shows that you care about the other person’s well-being.

Using Body Language

In addition to bowing, body language is also an important part of greeting friends in Japan. Smiling, maintaining eye contact, and standing up straight are all signs of respect and politeness.

Gift Giving

In Japan, gift giving is a common way to show appreciation and respect to others. When greeting a friend, it is common to bring a small gift such as flowers or food.

Using Different Greetings for Different Times of Day

In Japanese culture, there are different greetings used for different times of day. “Ohayou gozaimasu” is used in the morning, “Konnichiwa” is used in the afternoon, and “Konbanwa” is used in the evening.

Greeting Etiquette

There are certain etiquette rules to follow when greeting someone in Japan. For example, it is important to wait for the other person to initiate the greeting and to always use honorifics when addressing someone.


In conclusion, Japanese people have a unique way of greeting their friends that is deeply rooted in their culture. Bowing, using honorifics and nicknames, exchanging gifts, and engaging in small talk are just a few of the ways that Japanese people show respect and honor to their friends. By understanding these customs, you can show respect and build strong relationships with your Japanese friends.

What does Japan say to greet people?

Konnichiwa, meaning “hello,” is the most commonly used greeting in Japanese. It is used throughout the day and can be translated simply as “hello” in English.

Can you say konnichiwa to your friends?

“Konnichiwa” is the Japanese equivalent of “hello” and is primarily used in semi-formal settings such as offices or workspaces. It would be considered awkward to use this greeting with friends. Additionally, “Konnichiwa” can also be used to mean “good afternoon” and is most commonly used during this time of day.

What is a casual Japanese greeting?

One of the first words you will learn in Japanese is Ohayou, which is also one of the first greetings you will learn. Typically used in a casual context, it is meant for morning interactions and is only appropriate until noon.

How do you greet a female friend in Japanese?

In Japanese, “konnichiwa” is a more formal greeting that can be used in most situations. Among close friends and family, more casual greetings like “hey” or “yo” can be used, similar to English. However, it is best to stick with “konnichiwa” to avoid potentially offending someone.

How do Americans greet Japanese?

In contrast to American culture, where people may greet each other with a handshake, kiss on the cheek, or hug, Japanese people typically nod or bow when greeting one another. There are four traditional types of bowing in Japan.

What does Moshi Moshi mean in Japan?

“I speak I speak” is the English translation of the Japanese greeting “Moshi moshi”. This phrase is commonly used by Japanese people when answering the telephone, and is similar to saying “hello”. Despite its casual nature, the phrase actually has a different literal meaning in English.

Greeting Gestures

In addition to body language, Japanese people use various hand gestures when greeting their friends. One of the most common gestures is the “yubi sashi,” where two people touch index fingers as a sign of friendship. Another gesture is the “fist bump,” which has become more popular in recent years, especially among younger generations.

Greeting on the Telephone

When answering the phone, Japanese people usually say “moshi moshi” instead of “hello.” This greeting is used to confirm that the caller has reached the intended person. When ending a call, it is customary to say “arigatou gozaimashita” or “thank you very much” as a sign of appreciation.

Greeting in Social Settings

In social settings, such as parties or gatherings, Japanese people often greet each other with a cheer or chant. For example, saying “kanpai” before taking a drink is a common way to toast and celebrate with friends.

Greeting in Public Places

When greeting someone in a public place, such as a train or bus station, it is important to be mindful of your surroundings. Japanese people tend to speak quietly and avoid making loud noises that could disturb others. Additionally, it is important to respect personal space and not invade someone’s personal bubble.

Greeting Foreigners

When greeting foreigners, Japanese people may adjust their customs to accommodate cultural differences. For example, they may shake hands instead of bowing if they know the other person is not familiar with bowing customs. However, using honorifics and engaging in small talk are still considered polite and respectful gestures regardless of cultural differences.

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