The mystery of the Japanese smile. They say foreigners think it is very strange, so they are likely to misinterpret the reasons for the smile.
When do you think a person smiles? I think when he is happy, he does. When he is sad, he doesn’t. Anyway when a person is happy he smiles. But Japanese have some exceptions. If you made a mistake, what do they do? Do they change color or make an excuse and tremble? In general, Japanese smile. But they are not happy but very shameful. Then Japanese smile bitterly. Why? For Japanese don’t like to express their feelings. Japanese tend to think to express our feelings is shameful. If foreigners know Japanese weak points, Japanese think as if Japanese are weaker than they. So Japanese smile to cover their shame.
Another case, someone asks you something, but you don’t know about it.
What do you do? I suppose you will explain the reasons why you don’t know. But some Japanese smile. Why do they do so? It is because we Japanese think feelings are very important. Always Japanese think other’s feeling. Japanese tend to think foreigners do the same as Japanese do. So, to smile for Japanese mean “I don’t know” Japanese scarcely explain about the reason.
Here are few Japanese words for smiling gestures
To smile= hohoemu 微笑む
Please smile= Hohoende kudasai 微笑んでください。
Since you’re taking pictures, chiizu is sufficient.
チーズ It means, “Say cheese!”