Japanese Non-Verbal Communication
Since the Japanese strive for harmony and are group dependent,
they rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture
to tell them what someone feels.
. They often trust non-verbal messages more than the spoken
word as words can have several meanings.
. The context in which something is said affects the meaning
of the words. Therefore, it is imperative to understand
the situation to fully appreciate the response.
. Frowning while someone is speaking is interpreted as a
sign of disagreement.
. Most Japanese maintain an impassive expression when speaking.
. Expressions to watch out for include inhaling through
clenched teeth, tilting the head, scratching the back of
the head, and scratching the eyebrow.
. Non-verbal communication is so vital that there is a book
for 'gaijins' (foreigners) on how to interpret the signs!
. It is considered disrespectful to stare into another person's
eyes, particularly those of a person who is senior to you
because of age or status.
. In crowded situations the Japanese avoid eye contact to
give themselves privacy.