The art of the Japanese greeting

The Japanese greeting is an aspect of everyday life that is done in front of other people (ojigi). A bow can be used for several purposes: to greet, to show appreciation, to show that one feels guilty, to say goodbye… Its uses are as varied as the ways of bowing.

He pitch it depends on the circumstance and the person to whom the bow is made. Normally if the person is older or has a hierarchical level higher, the bow is more inclined. In the case of men, this is done with their arms at their sides, while women do it with their hands crossed.

For a casual greeting, a bow of 15 degree, or a shake of the head. When dealing with clients or showing appreciation, an inclination of approximately 30 degrees. To show deep appreciation or when making an apology, a 45 degrees. If people are sitting they stand up to bow. If you are in a zabuton (floor-level cushion) move to the side and bow, placing their hands on the floor.

Obama bowing while shaking hands with the Emperor of Japan

Shake hands It is not something the Japanese are used to. There may be cases of people shaking hands, especially if they are people used to dealing with foreigners. Sometimes they even mix a Japanese greeting by bowing and shaking hands at the same time. However, the normal is avoid contact. At first it is somewhat confusing, but you get used to it easily. While in Japan you may have the opportunity to see people who say goodbye bowing after bowing, indefinitely.