All about Japanese body language

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In today's article we are going to talk about Japanese body language. Do you know what body language is? Body language is a form of non-verbal communication. It mainly covers gestures, posture, facial expressions, eye movement and the proximity between people. In this article, we're going to talk a little bit about this body language, and why it can be useful to know about it.

In this article we are not going to talk about common gestures the japanese make, we already wrote an article about it. If you are interested in knowing if a girl likes you or vice versa, we recommend reading the article How are Japanese dating? relationship in japan and How to know if a Japanese girl likes you.

Why is it important to learn Japanese Body Language?

Gestures and facial expressions speak much more than words. Although body language is somewhat universal, it is part of a kind of “tradition” of movement specific to each culture. Knowing how the Japanese act in certain situations can help us make decisions, know how to act and what to say, both in relationships, friendships, work, etc.

Japanese body language

Knowing body language will help us interpret emotional and anxiety signals and watch for signs of anger and threat. In addition, we will understand when a person can show expressions of embarrassment, expressions of pride and interpersonal signs. Knowing body language involves reading people's eyes, observing posture and facial expressions. It is worth making it clear that this is not an easy task, you cannot learn body language overnight.

Another importance is that Japan uses facial expressions and gestures a lot in everyday life. Even in commercials and TV shows, you can be confused if you don't understand the gestures presented. For this reason, mastering Japanese body language is just as important as spoken language.

What is Japanese body language like?

The Japanese body language is quite different from the western one, to understand better about this language, we need to know how the Japanese are and act. We have to know what the keys to Japanese elegance are movement, posture and attitude.

The Japanese don't usually make sudden movements or gestures when they walk. The Japanese always have good posture. They don't lean against walls, buildings or light poles. The Japanese don't lean over tables or say they're going to piss. They also enjoy a lot during meals, eating slowly and savoring as much as possible.

Japanese body language

Japanese people tend to have posture. Having good posture tells the other person that you are respectful and considerate. As part of Japanese culture, to-bow it is an art form and can have many kinds of meanings.

It is worth remembering that there are exceptions, there are many Japanese who don't care about anything, and especially young people tend to break these paradigms of body language. Japanese people are very discreet, it is difficult to understand and decipher the body languages of Japanese people.

Japanese body language signs

Smile – The Japanese smile to communicate various emotions: anger, embarrassment, sadness and disappointment. The interpretation depends on the context.

Silence – Silence in Japan is gold and is often used as a trading strategy. In one part of the conversation, it can mean agreement, disagreement, shock, challenge, stubbornness, shyness…

arms folded – A person with folded arms and downcast eyes suggests deep thought. If the person has their arms crossed and making eye contact, it indicates disagreement or challenge.

Japanese body language

universal body language – No matter the culture or type of person, if you're talking to someone, and want to know if they're showing signs of interest in you, just watch their facial expressions, hair touch, open positions, and closeness. Many gestures and body language people tend to do without even noticing it, so it's good to have a universal knowledge of body language.

How do you know if the person is interested?

shyness – Observing shyness is a good way to know whether or not the person is interested in you. If the person is quite shy with you, it is very likely that he is interested in you.

reactions to attitudes – If you are learning body language to win someone over, you should take action and take the first steps. An example: hold the person's hand when crossing a busy avenue, and see how they react (of course you won't do this with an unknown person). If she resists, or later lets go and pulls away for a bit, she's not interested in you. This attitude is necessary, with this indication she can begin to show more signs of interest.

I want to talk – Japanese are shy, they will rarely bring up a conversation with you. On these occasions if a person of the opposite sex smiles at you, it can be an opportunity to strike up a conversation. Some go even further, if you're on the train and someone next to you picks up an English book and starts reading, he's saying: Hi, how are you and where are you from?”.

Japanese body language

When the person doesn't want to talk – The open hand behind the head, on the back of the neck, is usually an indication that the person is ashamed and embarrassed, that they want to get out of that situation. Sometimes the person can say expressions like “do kana” (how will it be?). If you are drinking, you say something and the person is silent for more than 3 seconds and takes a sip slowly and with gusto, it could mean that they don't want to talk anymore. When someone waves their hand at you as if shooing a fly, it means they don't want to talk to you.

Gestures you can't do in Japan

Some body gestures in Japan can make you become suspicious. Making eye contact is considered rude, leads to discomfort, and can be interpreted as a sign of aggression. So, if a person looks away from you, it doesn't mean they're interested in you or not, it's just that eye contact is not common, especially with strangers.

If you're in a restaurant, for example, be quiet in yours, don't stand with your head high looking at everyone, they might think you're a terrorist or that you're going to start dancing instead. Another thing I don't recommend doing is chewing nails, sucking on pens or chewing pencils, the Japanese don't usually do that, and it can get bad.

train body languagePutting your hands in your pockets makes people think you're a bad guy. Having your hands in your pockets and leaning against the wall is an image that the Japanese associate with yakuza (mafia), especially the feet are further forward than the torso. Another thing you should never do in Japan is point with your finger! If you want to point something, use your whole hand.

Another thing you can't do is show anger through facial expressions, gestures, or crossing your arms. This is quite rude, if you are nervous, leave the place and come back when you calm down. Japanese people like space too, being too close to each other or touching people can be dangerous!

Remember not to sneeze and blow your nose in public, that's why the Japanese wear masks so much when they're sick. And whenever you go to get a business card, take it with both hands. I hope this article has helped you to understand some Japanese body language.

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