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Why do Koreans bow like Japanese?

1. Introduction

Bowing is a traditional form of greeting or respect in many cultures around the world, but it is particularly prominent in East Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea, where it has been used for centuries to show respect and appreciation. In both countries, bowing is seen as an important part of etiquette and can be used to express a variety of emotions, from gratitude to apology. However, there are some subtle differences between the way Japanese and Koreans bow that can help us understand their respective cultures better. In this article, we will explore why Koreans bow like Japanese and how the two cultures differ in their approach to bowing.

2. History of Bowing in Japan

Bowing has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries and is thought to have originated from Chinese court etiquette. It was adopted by the samurai class during the Edo period (1603-1868), who used it as a sign of respect towards their superiors. Over time, bowing became an integral part of Japanese etiquette, with different types of bows being used for different occasions. Today, bowing is still widely practiced in Japan as a sign of politeness and respect towards others.

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3. History of Bowing in Korea

Korea also has a long history with bowing that dates back centuries. It was first introduced during the Three Kingdoms period (57 BC-668 AD) when Korean rulers adopted Chinese court customs including bowing as a sign of respect towards their superiors. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), bowing became even more widespread among commoners as it was seen as an important part of etiquette for social interactions with others. Today, Koreans continue to use bowing as a form of politeness and respect towards others in both formal and informal settings.

4. The Similarity between Japanese and Korean Bowing Styles

Despite their different histories, both Japanese and Korean styles of bowing share some similarities that make them easily recognizable from other forms of greeting or respect around the world. Firstly, both styles involve placing your hands together at chest level while bending forward at the waist until your head is lower than your hands – this is known as ‘seiza’ posture in Japan or ‘sebae’ posture in Korea. Secondly, both styles involve lowering your eyes while keeping your back straight – this shows humility while still maintaining dignity – which is why it’s often referred to as ‘respectful gaze’ or ‘respectful eyes’ in both countries respectively.

5. Differences between Japanese and Korean Bowing Styles

Although there are many similarities between Japanese and Korean styles of bowing, there are also some subtle differences that can help us understand each culture better:

-In Japan, bows tend to be deeper than those seen in Korea – this reflects the hierarchical nature of society where people must show greater levels of respect towards those higher up than them;

-In Korea, bows tend to be shorter than those seen in Japan – this reflects the more egalitarian nature of society where people don’t need to show such great levels of deference;

-In addition to depth, speed also plays an important role when it comes to bowing: In Japan bows tend to be slower whereas in Korea they tend to be faster;

-Finally, eye contact also differs between the two countries: In Japan people usually keep their eyes lowered while they bow whereas in Korea they tend to look up slightly before lowering their gaze again;

These differences reflect each country’s unique cultural values which should be respected when interacting with someone from either culture if you want them to feel comfortable around you!

6. Cultural Significance of Bowing in Japan and Korea

Bows are not just symbols or gestures but rather they have deep cultural significance for both Japanese and Koreans alike: For example, bows are often seen as expressions not only of politeness but also appreciation or gratitude for something done by another person – whether it be something small like helping out with chores or something bigger like saving someone’s life! They can also convey feelings such as apology when someone has made a mistake or sympathy when someone else is going through a difficult time – all without having said anything out loud! This makes them incredibly powerful tools for communication that can help build relationships between people from different backgrounds more quickly than words alone ever could!

7 The Meaning Behind the Bow in Different Situations

The type and depth of bow used will depend on who you are talking too: For example if you were talking with someone older than you then you would use deeper bows than if you were talking with someone younger or on equal footing with you; Similarly if you were talking with someone higher up socially then you would use deeper bows than if you were talking with someone lower down socially etc… Generally speaking though most everyday conversations will involve shallow bows that just serve as polite greetings rather than anything more meaningful!

8 Conclusion

To conclude then we can see that although there are some subtle differences between how Japanese & Koreans bow these mainly stem from each culture’s unique values & beliefs rather than any fundamental difference between them! Both countries place great importance on showing politeness & respect through body language so understanding how & why they bow can help us build stronger relationships & foster greater understanding between different cultures!


1) https://www3dinsidercom/japanese-vs-korean-bow/ 2) https://wwwtheculturetripcom/asia/south-korea/articles/the-meaning-behind-the-bow-in-korean-culture/ 3) https://wwwjapanesecultureinsightcom/japanese_etiquette_bowing 4) https://wwwtelegraphcouk/travel/destinations/asia/southkorea/articles/whatisbowedinKoreaculture

What is the difference between Japanese and Korean bow?

Archers in Japan have different arrow terms depending on where they place their hand. Japanese bows are held close to the thigh and are called Ojigi while Korean bows are called Konsu.

Is it disrespectful to not bow in Korea?

You dont have to bow to close people but its not a bad idea to bow when greeting an elderly person. Bow your head 30 degrees when formally introducing yourself to someone. However exaggerated greetings can make people uncomfortable. June 12 2009

Are foreigners supposed to bow in Korea?

Meetings and greetings Foreigners often see Koreans leaning on their phones. Doing so will endear you to the locals but dont overdo it. A perfect right-angled bow is only appropriate when meeting the royal family (and at the end of the monarchy in 1910).

Is Korean closer to Japanese or Chinese?

Both analyzes show genetic evidence of Korean ancestry from the Central Asian Mongols. But the Koreans are closest to the Japanese and further away from the Chinese.

Is it respectful to bow to Japanese?

In contrast to Western culture bowing in Japan known as ban is an important etiquette that is learned from childhood. Depending on the situation the bow may be a slight movement of the head or a deep bow at the waist. A deep long bow shows respect while a short bow is informal.

What is the most respectful bow in Korea?

– The most sacred bow is called Kyungjeol (小辈 – big bow). It is usually used on occasion and presented with respect. Koreans usually give their senior members a big bow (kanjeol) on Lunar New Year (설날 – Seolal) and Harvest Festival (-Chuseok).

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