Trivia: Making eye contact in Japan

Feb 28, 2022


Why do you suppose Japanese people avoid making eye contact? (Pick as many answers as necessary)

a) They don't like you

b) They are hiding something from you

c) They don't want to appear rude

d) They are shy


The answer is…c) They don't want to appear rude and d) They are shy! 

Generally speaking, unlike in Western cultures, making direct eye contact is not considered an important communication tool in Japan.

Japanese people don't grow up being told to look into people's eyes when having a conversation. Rather, looking straight into people's eyes can be seen as less formal, and even aggressive or rude. 

So, when someone is not making eye contact with you, it does not mean they are not interested in what you have to say, they are simply not used to it, and they feel uncomfortable or shy.


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