Japanese Culture

Etiquette

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Basic Etiquette

  • It is impolite to yawn or chew gum in public in Japan.
  • People are expected to bashfully deny compliments. Being too quick or willing to accept compliments can make them seem conceited. 
  • It is polite to give a faint refusal or show slight hesitation before accepting an invitation or offering. Such behaviour shows modesty.
  • The Japanese commonly sit in the seiza style positioning, in which one sits with their legs tucked directly underneath themselves with a straight back.
  • It is inappropriate for women to cross their legs, and men should only do so by crossing their knees or ankles. It is impolite to sit casually with the ankle resting on the other knee.
  • People who are sick are expected to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of germs in public places. Blowing one’s nose in public is also considered unhygienic.


Visiting

  • It is best to call your host before your arrival to give them a warning—even if they invited you. 
  • Bring a small edible gift (e.g. tea, sweets, fruit) when visiting someone’s home for the first time.
  • Shoes should be taken off before entering and placed next to the door or in the allocated area before entering a Japanese home. The Japanese place their shoes facing towards the outdoors if they’re on the floor. Slippers may be worn indoors instead but are taken off when walking into rooms with straw mats.


Gifts

  • Pass a gift to the recipient with both hands. A Japanese person may also receive or give a gift with slight bow. 
  • Gifts are important in Japan as their quality and choice is reflective of the relationship two people have and the respect the giver wishes to show to the recipient. 
  • Food and drink are appropriate gifts for most occasions. 

 

Eating

  • The Japanese use chopsticks to eat their food. Sometimes a large spoon may be used to sip broth.
  • Miso soup is served with most meals and often replaces the purpose of a drink. 
  • When eating at a traditional meal, the bowl is held to the mouth to avoid bending down to reach the table. 
  • It is considered inappropriate for adults to eat while walking. Street food is often eaten on the spot where it is bought.
Japan
  • Population
    126,702,133
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Japanese (official)
  • Religions
    Shintoism (79.2%)
    Buddhism (66.8%)
    Christianity (1.5%)
    Other (7.1%)
    [2012 est.]
    Note: Total adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism.
  • Ethnicities
    Japanese (98.5%)
    Chinese (0.5%)
    Korean (0.42%)
    Filipino (0.16%)
    Brazilian (0.15%)
    [2012 est.]
    Note: The Ministry of Justice in Japan correlates nationality with ethnicity; they have no official data on the actual ethnic breakdown of people in Japan.
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 54
    Individualism 46
    Masculinity 95
    Uncertainty Avoidance 92
    Long Term Orientation 88
    Indugence 42
    What's this?
  • Australians with Japanese Ancestry
    65,708 [2016 census]
Japanese in Australia
  • Population
    42,421
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Japan.
  • Average Age
    36
  • Gender
    Males (68.3%)
    Females (31.7%)
  • Religion
    No Religion (52.6%)
    Buddhism (26.3%)
    Catholic Christianity (4.1%)
    Other (12.4%)
  • Ancestry
    Japanese (82.7%)
    Australian (5.1%)
    English (3%)
    Chinese (1.2%)
    Other (7.9%)
  • Languages
    Japanese (79.1%)
    English (17.4%)
    Mandarin (0.6%)
    Other (2.3%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (79.5%)
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (34.2%)
    Queensland (29.2%)
    Victoria (19.3%)
    Western Australia (10.1%)
  • Arrival
    Prior to 2001 (42.1%)
    2001-2006 (25.1%)
    2007-2011 (26.3%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country JP Flag