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11 Examples Of Japanese Etiquette That Would Drive Us Crazy

Every country has its code of conduct and personal preferences. And amongst other countries, Japan is tremendously famous for its unbelievably complex etiquette rules.

We’re going to share some of these with you.

Take a look:

#1. The Art Of Addressing People

Addressing people by their name is not enough in Japan. It is obligatory to add certain suffixes while addressing the people. Most people are acquainted with the usage of “san”, but it is not enough, there are more than that!

kun: Kun is generally used for a friend.

chan: It is primarily used for children, female family members, lovers, and close friends.

sama: It is the most respectful version (lord or honourable). Earlier, it was used to refer to lords and deities but now, it is also used as a sarcasm.

senpai: for addressing one’s elder colleagues or schoolmates.

kōhai: the opposite of senpai.

sensei: for addressing teachers, doctors, scientists, politicians, and other authority figures.

shi: for formal writing.

#2. Exchanging The Business Card

It is kind of a ritual, so you should to do it right. Make sure you’re standing facing each other, now offer the card using your both hands. The next thing you need to pay more attention is, if your rank is lower than your partner’s, hold the card lower than they do. Once, you’ve got the card, put it on the cardholder and don’t directly keep it inside, read it for a minute. And if you don’t have a cardholder, well, you’re screwed.

#3. The Elevator Rules

Though informal, still they have got elevator rules as well. If you’re the first person to enter an elevator, you’re the captain. Stand close to the control panel, stop the elevator until the very last person enters. And repeat so on each floor. You’ll obviously be the last one to exit the elevator. If you’re a tourist, then just don’t enter first!

#4. The Subway Rules

On the subway, you need to follow some strict rules. Firsly, talking is not allowed, not even on the phone. And it is rude to stare others, don’t do that! It is also not ordinary to give your seat to the elderly. They’ve reserved seats for them. There are special seats marked with a sign for them as well as for disabled people and pregnant women. These seats are not to be occupied if you don’t belong to these categories.

#5. Touching Not Allowed

In Japan, it is awfully rude to look other people in the eye, let alone touch them. Japanese people respect the personal space of each other. Kissing is also frowned upon in this country, even if you’re a tourist!

#6. Alcoholic Drinks

Japanese people drink really heavily. And when they drink, social hierarchy totally breaks down. A professor can also drink with his students so much so that the students will drop him at his home. Similarly, a clerk who bows to his boss during the day can even throw up on him at the night while drinking. And this is absolutely normal! When sober, they behave as if nothing happened!

#7. The Money Issue

Japanese people have a very strange attitude towards money. They’re often embarrassed to show it in public. Hence, they use colorful envelopes while giving the money to someone. Of course, you don’t have to do this while shopping at supermarkets, but there also, you don’t have to hand over the money to the cashier, just keep it in the cash tray.

#8. The art of sitting properly

Seiza, to sit by folding one’s legs underneath one’s thighs is the only right way to sit on the floor for Japanese people. They are extremely comfortable in this position. However, for most people, it is not so, the feet will become numb in just a couple of minutes. Hence, if you’re a tourist, you can sit in any way that you like and it won’t be a problem. But, if a Japanese sit in any other way, it would be incredibly inappropriate.

#9. The Gift Rule

Just don’t open it instantly after receiving it else it will look extremely greedy and inappropriate. Moreover, there are two main seasons of gifting, o-chugen (in summer) and o-seibo (in winter).

#10. The Art Of Bowing

Children learn this art at the tender age because of its utmost importance. Japan has got different bowing styles that depend on many factors: standing, sitting, and female and male variants. Here are some of them:

  • The greeting bow (“eshaku“) of 15° is for people of equal business or social rank.
  • The respectful bow (”keirei“) of 30° is a bow for a teacher or a boss.
  • The deeply reverent bow (“saikeirei”) of 45° should be used if you apologize or see the emperor.
  • The ”begging for your life” bow is probably only used nowadays if you have done something really terrible.

#11. Taking The Leave

In Japan, everyone treats their customers or business partners in a very honorable manner. When they leave, the whole company follows them to the door or elevator and keeps bowing until the doors are closed. Surely, it gets all awkward at times, but rules are rules!

Photo: 9unknownfacts

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