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Why do Japanese cover their mouths?

Why Do Japanese Cover Their Mouths?

Introduction
The practice of covering one’s mouth when speaking is a common sight in Japan, but why is it done? In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the history and cultural significance behind this often misunderstood gesture.

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Historical Perspective
The practice of covering one’s mouth has been around for centuries in Japan, with records dating as far back as the 10th Century. During this time, it was believed that covering one’s mouth was a sign of respect towards others and a way to show humility. It was also believed that the act of covering one’s mouth when speaking would prevent any evil spirits from entering into their body. This belief has since evolved over the centuries, but the concept of respect and humility remain a key part of why people cover their mouths when speaking today.

Cultural Significance
The practice of covering one’s mouth is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and is seen as a sign of respect towards others. It is believed that by covering your mouth while speaking, you are showing respect to those around you by not offending them with your words or actions. Additionally, it is seen as a way to show humility and modesty by not drawing attention to oneself. It is also seen as a way to show deference towards authority figures such as teachers or elders.

Respectful Gesture
Covering one’s mouth while speaking is seen as an act of politeness and respect in Japan. By not displaying your teeth or lips while talking, you are showing that you are aware of other people’s feelings and trying not to offend them with your words or actions. Additionally, it can be seen as an act of deference towards authority figures such as elders or teachers who may be present during conversations. This respectful gesture has been passed down through generations and remains an important part of Japanese culture today.

Social Etiquette
In addition to being seen as a sign of respect and humility, covering one’s mouth while speaking is also considered good social etiquette in Japan. It is believed that by doing so, you are showing consideration for those around you by not displaying too much emotion or drawing attention to yourself unnecessarily. This etiquette extends beyond just conversations; it can also include things like laughing or smiling too widely which may be considered inappropriate in certain situations.

Laughing and Smiling
Covering one’s mouth while laughing or smiling can also be seen as a sign of respect in Japan. By doing so, you are showing consideration for those around you who may be uncomfortable with displays of emotion such as laughter or smiling too widely which can sometimes be interpreted negatively in certain contexts. Additionally, it can be viewed as an act of modesty if someone feels they have laughed or smiled too much which could draw unwanted attention from others who may feel uncomfortable with such displays of emotion.

Conclusion
Covering one’s mouth when speaking is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and remains an important part of social etiquette today due to its association with respect and humility towards others. By understanding this cultural significance behind this often misunderstood gesture, we can gain insight into why it continues to be practiced today despite its long history in Japan’s past.

Sources

Tokoyama C (2021) Why Do Japanese Cover Their Mouths? [Online]. Available at: https://www..japaninsiders/why-do-japanese-cover-their-mouths/ [Accessed: 4 May 2021].

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Why do Asians cover their mouth when they laugh?

Closing your mouth while laughing means not showing an obvious reaction and keeping emotions hidden and shy. In Japan it is considered attractive to women. Many Japanese women aim for this ideal image and unwittingly start the brand as a social norm.

Is it rude to chew with your mouth open in Japan?

There are other universal rules of etiquette. Do not speak with your mouth full. Close your mouth when chewing. A distinctive feature of Japanese food is the use of chopsticks.

Why do girls cover their mouths with their hand?

What happens when a woman puts her hand over her mouth? That means she is unsure or self-aware. This usually means that she is eager to meet you and a little uncomfortable but at the same time excited about the defense mechanism. Or dont like their teeth or smile.

Why do I cover my face when I laugh?

Usually its because theyre uncomfortable laughing at themselves or trying to avoid making other people laugh.

Why do Japanese smile so much?

Smiling in Japan is a way to show or hide your true feelings. But non-verbal expressions in Japanese culture use the eyes more than the mouth. This makes it easier for the Japanese to judge whether a smile is real or fake.

Why do girls cover their mouths so much?

It is a cultural practice. According to traditional Chinese etiquette a woman should not show her teeth when smiling or laughing. So when I was a kid I was told to keep my mouth shut when I smiled or laughed. It is actually a very common label in East and Southeast Asia.

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