Rude Without Knowing in Japanese Society! 5 Common Japanese Manners
Many foreigners have told me that Japanese people are very polite. Maybe we are, but not all of us wanted to become this way. Within the Japanese society, we have many old-fashioned rules of manners, saying it is not beautiful to actually put these manners into words. But that makes things a bit inconvenient if you don’t know them in the first place. Here are some that may surprise you when you come to Japan.
1.Staying seated until the credits end at the movie theater
This is very common among many Japanese people. Of course there are people who stand up right away, but I think you could be a bit curious when you see this for the first time. (Or at least I was after living in America) The Japanese people feel that the credits are also part of the work they’ve watched. Therefore it would be considered rude to stand up in the middle of someones work, just like going to watch a play, stage and so on. Its just a way to see the movie, so theres not much to worry, you should stand up and go whenever you want to.
2.Looking in their eyes too much when talking
I think in some countries, it is manners to look at the others eyes when speaking. In Japan, this isn’t completely all true. We do look in the others eyes, but if you look too much, it makes them feel uncomfortable. The difficult part is that taking your eyes completely off is also rude too, so you have to master the good balance.
3.Putting your glass lower than the other when doing Kanpai with someone superior than you
As we have the culture of “Nomikai” in Japan, there are many occasions that we go out drinking with someone older than you or your boss and so on. We respect hierarchical relationships, and we also have rules and manners to keep this. When saying Kampai, you should bring your glass lower than your boss. This is our way of showing our respect.
4.Getting to the office earlier than your bosses
This also has to do with how we respect hierarchical relationships. The youngest ones must come to the office early to clean up the odd jobs so the necessary tasks can be done smoothly during the day by your bosses. This completely depends on the company, however many old-fashioned Japanese companies still tend to have this trend.
5.Being too familiar with someone you’ve met for the first time.
As we have the culture of putting “san” at the end of peoples names, we also usually don’t call each other by our first names if we meet them for the first time. First you start with adding “san” on their last name, then just their last name, and then their first name. This order of course varies from person to person, but most people don’t feel very comfortable being called just by their first name if they meet them for the first time. Also using the word “omae” is considered to be rude in general.
Of course, these “manners” will depend on the situation, and who you talk to , and what kind of environment you’re in. Moreover, we don’t care if anybody that isn’t Japanese doesn’t know these manners. But it may be interesting to watch out for these very Japanese like manners when you live in Japan.
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