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Body Language As The Crucial Element Of The Nonverbal Japanese Culture

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In a culture where silence is golden and spoken words can be vague or meaningless, body language and gestures are very important. Japanese culture is considered ‘high context,’ implying that individuals depend far less on words to convey significance than they do on nonverbal prompts. The Japanese, who represent social contrasts in nonverbal correspondence, value group needs over the individual and place a strong emphasis on social harmony.

In this essay we are going to describe about various nonverbal elements of Japanese culture and its importance. We are also going to put some light on its uniqueness by comparing it to different cultures, and introducing you to various hand as well as body gestures.

To begin with, Japan is a society that uses high-context communication, meaning that contextual factors play a prominent role (as opposed to most European cultures which are low context). The TV news in Japan invests a lot of energy examining outward appearances and eye developments as opposed to concentrating on an individual’s words. Consequently, mastering Japanese non-verbal communication is similarly as significant as the actual spoken language. The most important body gesture of Japanese culture is bowing; no mention of Japanese body language is complete without the bow. Bowing in Japan shows regard toward the other individual. For men, you put your hands on the sides of your legs. Ladies generally place their palms flat on the front of their legs. At that point, you bring down your head with the goal of paying respect to the other. The profundity and time period of the bow relies upon the circumstance and social status of every individual. Furthermore, eye contact in Japanese culture is a very essential part of communication. In Japan, eye to eye contact expresses aggression. In the event that you look at somebody without flinching, they turn away. Direct eye to eye contact is viewed as rude or meddlesome. It’s okay to look, yet for the greater part of the discussion you should look elsewhere. In case you’re an individual confused by the unfriendliness of the Japanese you meet, it could be on the grounds that they believe you’re gazing them down.

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Now we will talk about some other non verbal gestures used in Japanese culture and we will compare it to western cultures. Firstly, In English talking societies, the non-verbal signal for ‘come here’ is normally a palm-up hand movement where the fingers or whole hand are utilized to beckon or wave somebody over from a distance. In Japan, this is a comparative movement yet with the palm facing downward. Secondly, touching children on the head is fine in North America. However, in Japan, this is exceptionally improper, as the head is viewed as a sacred piece of the body. Moreover, “In English, the non-verbal signal for ‘OK’ can be a thumbs-up or an ‘OK’ made with the thumb and index finger, with the three remaining fingers splayed open. However, in Japan, the non-verbal signal for ‘OK’ is a much larger gesture, made by holding your arms above your head in the shape of an ‘O’ similar to a ballet pose. This is typically used to signal from a distance or in a large group of people, rather than face-to-face.” (BAGARINO, 2017). Also, the “OK” sign used in United States signifies “Money” in Japan. Lastly, there are many more signals used in Japanese culture which are used for communication.

At the end, it is basic for the Japanese to keep up a detached articulation while talking. Apparently displaying negative feelings is viewed as a weight to other people. Consequently, grins may have a wide scope of implications including to express joy or understanding or to cover sentiments of outrage, disappointment or despondency. At the point when negative feelings are communicated, they are done so inconspicuously. Negative articulations may incorporate breathing in through held teeth, the tilt of a head or the scratching of an eyebrow. Eye to eye connection, especially for delayed timeframes, is viewed as rude. The Japanese now and then turn away or sit quietly with their eyes shut when they are a part of a group of people. This shows consideration and now and again concurrence with the speaker. Quietness is normal in discussions. Keeping away from talking is considered to protect agreement and exhibit dependability and unwavering quality. Individual space necessities likewise vary contingent upon setting. While in uncrowded circumstances, the Japanese may require a lot of individual space; when in jam-packed circumstances, (for example, on open transportation), it is regular for them to acknowledge a reasonable arrangement less.

In conclusion, these were some of the gestures and body signals that people of Japanese culture use exceptionally as compared to other cultures. Also Japanese people rely a lot on their non verbal elements almost in every case in which they have to communicate. Japanese people respect their non verbal culture as it represents their norms and values.

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Body Language As The Crucial Element Of The Nonverbal Japanese Culture. (2021, September 06). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 21, 2023, from
“Body Language As The Crucial Element Of The Nonverbal Japanese Culture.” Edubirdie, 06 Sept. 2021,
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