Japanese body language and gestures explained

Why do Japanese (especially men) use an open handed chopping motion to show they want to get past?

Apparently, originally it was meant to show that you were not carrying a sword. The fact that polite table manners in France means keeping your hands above the table is apparently for the same reason.

Why do Japanese guys cuddle each other as they stagger back to the station?

By doing exactly the opposite of what they would usually do, they show that they are properly drunk and relaxed and had a good time. They might also be suffering from lack of body contact, as they spent the first few years of their lives strapped to their mother’s body and sleeping in her bed, but are now sleeping in a different bedroom to their wife and will be lucky to get a cuddle or a quick grope when the kids are out.

Why do Japanese (especially men) use an open handed chopping motion to show they want to get past?

Apparently, originally it was meant to show that you were not carrying a sword. The fact that polite table manners in France mean keeping your hands above the table is apparently for the same reason.

What’s up with the Japanese and “guts pose”?

12 Comments

  1. Breanna parsons said,

    May 5, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    How come it don’t give more info on body language or Gestures? I am trying to work on a school project but can’t seem to find all what i am looking for. i love you culture and the way you live, its way different from the way i live! :) well have Fun! Arigatou Gozaimasu, and Sayonaro.

  2. Nihongo_Master said,

    January 20, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Its Sayonara, not Sayonaro.. Stupid American.

  3. ジェイくん said,

    January 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Yes, it’s さよなら, not さよなろ… but lighten up Nihongo_Master.
    ‘No need to be rude.

  4. wampaku said,

    August 13, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Jeez…. Nihongo_Master, are you compensating for something? Or just a jerk in general? (Lighten up, dude!)

    Folks interested in Japanese culture in general, and the differences between American/Canadian/Western culture and Japanese culture should check out “Learning to Bow” by Bruce Feiler (http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Bow-Inside-Heart-Japan/dp/0060577207/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1250151345&sr=8-1)

    Hope this helps! (^_^)v

  5. Ruu said,

    October 14, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Like Breanna parsons,
    i am also researching for a school Project.
    thanks forthe information posted. i was just hoping for a smidgen more. :3

  6. Nani said,

    April 5, 2010 at 8:28 am

    actually, its Sayounara(さようなら)yes, i know its way late but watev

  7. alexcase said,

    April 5, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Actually, it’s both. The form with the long vowel sound is more formal than the form with a short vowel sound

  8. crella said,

    April 11, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Oh for heaven’s sake, I didn’t know it came from Guts Ishimatsu, that’s too funny!

  9. XxOngakuxX said,

    May 5, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Is it true that friends will makes “L”‘s infront of themselfs (at the same time) only one freind it doing it opposite to show their friendship and in the same sense boys will bump arms instead of highfives like we have in America?

    I see this a lot if anime and I was wondering if this is nomal or just something they do in anime.

  10. October 18, 2010 at 6:51 am

    [...] More Japanese body language and gestures here [...]

  11. alexcase said,

    October 18, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Never noticed either of those, unless you mean joining little fingers to mean a promise


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