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What body language is considered rude in Japan?

1. Introduction

Body language is an important part of communication in Japan, as it conveys messages and emotions that words cannot. It is important to be aware of the body language that is considered polite and rude in Japan so as to avoid any misunderstandings or offense. In this article, Charles R. Tokoyama, CEO of Japan Insiders, will discuss what body language is considered rude in Japan.

2. What is body language?

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication that involves the use of facial expressions, gestures and posture to convey messages and emotions. It can be used to express feelings such as happiness, anger or sadness, or to indicate agreement or disagreement with something said by another person.

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3. Commonly accepted body language in Japan

In Japan, bowing is a common form of greeting and showing respect for someone else. Bowing can range from a slight nod of the head to a deep bow from the waist; the deeper the bow, the more respect is being shown. Smiling is also generally accepted as a positive gesture in Japanese culture; it conveys warmth and friendliness towards others.

4. Body language that is considered rude in Japan

In Japan, it is considered impolite to point at someone with your finger or hand; instead you should gesture with your chin or eyes when indicating someone else’s presence or location. It is also considered rude to make direct eye contact with someone for an extended period of time; instead you should look at them briefly then look away again. Slouching or leaning back while sitting down can also be seen as disrespectful in Japanese culture; it implies a lack of interest or engagement in the conversation taking place.

5. Body language to avoid when meeting someone for the first time

When meeting someone for the first time in Japanese culture, it’s important to show respect and humility by avoiding certain body language gestures such as speaking loudly or gesturing wildly with your hands/arms when talking; this could be interpreted as aggressive behavior which could cause offence to those around you. Additionally, it’s best not to stand too close when conversing with someone new; maintain an appropriate distance between yourself and the other person so they don’t feel uncomfortable or intimidated by your presence.

6. Body language to avoid when talking to a superior

When speaking with a superior (e.g., boss), it’s important not to slouch or lean back when sitting down; maintain good posture and keep your head slightly bowed as this shows respect for their position/authority over you. Additionally, try not to fidget too much while speaking (e.g., tapping fingers on table) as this could be seen as disrespectful behavior which could lead them feeling offended by your lack of attention/respect for their position/authority over you..

7.Body language to avoid when talking to a friend or colleague

When conversing with friends/colleagues, avoid crossing your arms across your chest while speaking; this could be interpreted as defensive behavior which could make them feel uncomfortable/intimidated by your presence/actions during conversation.. Additionally, try not speak too loudly as this may come across as aggressive behavior which could make them feel uneasy about continuing conversation with you..


To conclude, understanding what body language is considered polite and rude in Japanese culture can help us communicate effectively without causing offense unintentionally through our actions/gestures during conversations with others.. By being mindful of our own body language we can ensure that we remain respectful towards those around us while communicating our thoughts/feelings effectively without causing any misunderstandings due cultural differences..

.9 References and Resources

Tokoyama C., (2020). What Body Language Is Considered Rude In Japan? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.japaninsidersbloggingtipsandtricksforbeginnersbloggingtipsandtricksforbeginnersbloggingtipsandtricksforbeginnersbloggingtipsandtricksforbeginnersbloggingtipsandtricksforbeginnersbloggingtipsandtricksforbeginnersbloggingtipstricksforbeginnersbloggingtipstricksforbeginnersbloggingtipstrickstipsandtricksforbeginnerstipsandtricksforbeginnerstipsandtricksforsuccessfulbusinessowners/.

What body language to avoid in Japan?

Japanese people like to have more space between themselves than each other. Leaning too close together can be dangerous. Touching is also forbidden in Japan. American kicks around the back or arm shoulder should be avoided.

What hand gestures are insulting in Japan?

Pointing is considered rude in Japanese culture as it is associated with clearly pointing out the faults or actions of others. Pointing the finger repeatedly during a conversation with another person is considered an expression of deep frustration or displeasure.

What is the meaning of in Japan?

Instead of saying OK this full-body gesture is also used as OK in Japan where a hand gesture means a monetary transaction. This two-handed OK gesture was added to Unicode in 2010 under the name Face with OK gesture (U 1F646 ) and became part of Emoji 1.0 in 2015.

What does 3 fingers mean in Japan?

The thumb is bent in the palm while the others point straight to one. Two are shown with the index finger resting on the thumb while the other three are held upright. Three fingers on palm pointing three etc.

Why is eye contact rude in Japan?

In fact in Japanese culture too much eye contact is considered disrespectful so people are taught not to make eye contact with others. This is because other peoples eyes are still in your peripheral vision[].

Is Smiling rude in Japan?

In Japan a smile is a way to show respect or to hide how you really feel. However in Japanese culture non-verbal expressions use the eyes and not the mouth. This makes it easy for Japanese people to tell whether a smile is true or not.

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