How Many Different Types of Bows Are There in Japanese Culture and What Do They Mean?

A Westerner probably won’t notice the sophisticated use of the bow in Japanese culture.

There are four bows, each with a different meaning.

The simplest, at an angle of five degrees, means “good day.”

A bow of fifteen degrees is more formal and means “good morning.”

As an appreciation of a kind gesture the angle is thirty degrees, while the most extreme, a bow of forty-five degrees, conveys deep respect or an apology.

During a recent five-year period, twenty-four residents of Tokyo died while bowing to each other.

And there you have the various subtleties hidden in the Japanese custom of bowing.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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