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How do you pay respect in Japanese?


In Japanese culture, showing respect is an important aspect of daily life. From using specific language to bowing, there are many ways to show respect in Japan. Understanding these customs is essential when visiting or interacting with Japanese people. In this article, we will discuss the various ways to pay respect in Japanese.


Bowing is a common way to show respect in Japan. The depth and length of the bow depend on the situation and the relationship between the people involved. A slight bow is usually sufficient in a casual setting, while a deeper bow is appropriate in a formal setting or when showing deep respect.

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Using Honorific Language

In Japanese, there are different forms of language used depending on who you are speaking to. Using honorific language or keigo is a way to show respect to someone higher in status or rank than you. It is also used when speaking to someone older than you, or someone you wish to show respect towards.

Removing Shoes

When entering someone’s home or certain buildings such as temples, it is customary to remove your shoes. This shows respect for the property and cleanliness of the area you are entering. It is important to remember to wear clean socks or bring indoor shoes if necessary.

Giving Gifts

Giving gifts is a common way to show appreciation and respect in Japan. It is important to choose an appropriate gift, usually something that represents your relationship with the recipient. The act of giving and receiving gifts is done with both hands and a slight bow.

Exchanging Business Cards

In business settings, exchanging business cards or meishi is a way to show respect and establish connections. Presenting your card with both hands and a slight bow shows that you are serious about building a relationship.

Respect for Elders

In Japanese culture, respecting your elders is important. This includes addressing them with proper language and using polite manners. It is also customary to offer your seat to an elderly person on public transportation.

Respect for Teachers

Teachers are highly respected in Japan, and students are expected to show respect towards them. This includes addressing them with proper language, standing when they enter the room, and using polite manners.

Respect for Nature

Nature is highly respected in Japan, and many traditions and customs are based on this respect. For example, during cherry blossom season, hanami or flower viewing parties are held to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Respect for the Dead

Respect for the dead is an important aspect of Japanese culture. This includes visiting gravesites during Obon, a festival to honor ancestors, and participating in funeral customs such as offering incense or flowers.

Respect for Authority

In Japan, respecting authority figures such as police officers, government officials, and teachers is important. This includes following rules and regulations set by these figures and showing polite manners when interacting with them.


Showing respect is a crucial part of Japanese culture. From bowing to using specific language, there are many ways to show respect in Japan. Understanding these customs is essential when visiting or interacting with Japanese people, and can help establish positive relationships. By following these customs, you can show your appreciation and respect for Japanese culture.

What is the Japanese way of giving respect?

In Japanese culture, greetings are done through bowing. The level of respect or formality expressed is shown through the depth of the bow. For casual acquaintances and friends, a small nod of the head is sufficient.

How do you address someone with respect in Japanese?

In Japanese business culture, it is customary to add the honorific suffix “san” after a person’s last name as a sign of respect. Other honorifics, such as “sama” for highly respected customers or managers, or “sensei” for doctors or professors, are also used.

What is respect language in Japan?

In the Japanese language, there is a type of speech called keigo, which translates to “respectful language.” It is a system of linguistic tools used to show respect and is required in many formal social settings.

How do Japanese people show gratitude?

In Japanese culture, the phrases “itadakimasu” and “gochisousama deshita” are extremely significant. While they have different meanings, both phrases express gratitude and are considered polite to say.

What is the most respectful Japanese greeting?

The full and formal greeting in Japanese is “Ohayou gozaimasu”. If you are talking to friends, you can shorten it to “Ohayou” (kanji: お早う, hiragana: おはよう).

What is Japanese etiquette called?

Omotenashi is a fundamental principle of Japanese etiquette that emphasizes the importance of hospitality. It involves showing thoughtfulness and consideration towards others, and anticipating and meeting their needs in a way that exceeds their expectations, whether as a host towards guests or as a business towards customers.

Respect for Silence

In Japan, silence is highly respected and considered a sign of maturity and wisdom. It is customary to maintain silence during a meal or when riding on public transportation. Additionally, being too loud or disruptive in public places is seen as disrespectful.

Respect for Personal Space

Personal space is highly valued in Japan, and it is important to respect the boundaries of others. This includes not standing too close to someone and avoiding physical contact unless it is appropriate or welcomed. In crowded areas, it is important to be mindful of the personal space of those around you.

Respect for Punctuality

In Japan, punctuality is highly valued, and being late is seen as disrespectful. It is important to arrive on time for appointments and meetings. If you are running late, it is customary to notify the person you are meeting as soon as possible.

Respect for Tradition

Japan has a rich cultural history, and respecting traditional customs and practices is important in Japanese culture. This includes participating in traditional festivals and ceremonies, wearing traditional clothing such as kimono, and respecting historical sites.

Respect for Teamwork

In Japan, teamwork is highly valued, and individuals are expected to work together towards a common goal. It is important to show respect towards your colleagues and contribute positively to the team effort. Additionally, recognizing the contributions of others is an important aspect of teamwork and respect.

Respect for Cleanliness

Cleanliness is highly valued in Japan, and it is important to maintain cleanliness in public spaces and personal hygiene. Littering or leaving trash behind in public spaces is seen as disrespectful. Additionally, it is important to clean up after oneself when using shared spaces or facilities.

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