Anyone who has spent time in Japan or with Japanese will
know that the
standard way to greet someone is not with a handshake, but with a bow.
In Japanese, it is called Ojigi. Bowing done during a ceremony like a
religious occasion is called Go-ichirei and this term should only ever
be used for such occasions.
Ojigi is a very important Japanese custom and if you are going to be
spending a long time in this country, and working in a Japanese company
or with Japanese co-workers and customers, it is essential you know how
to perform the bow correctly, as it may provide you with an advantage
when communicating with them. Basically, there are three ways of bowing. It all depends on who you are
Ojigi Image here
Greeting bow, 15 degrees.
The greeting bow, or Eshaku 会釈, is usually performed between people
of the same status. They may know each other well but are not close
enough to permit a simple nod.
Respectful bow, 30 degrees.
This bow, known as Keirei 敬礼 is deeper than the eshaku. Such a bow is
performed when bowing to a person of higher status, such as your
superiors or teacher.
Deep Respectful Bow, 45 degrees.
This bow, or Saikeirei 最敬礼, is usualy used for apologies when
something has gone wrong or one is asking for a favour. This bow shows a
high degree of respect or regret and is not one that is used often or
for no reason.
Being familiar with the various bows will aid you in your
the Japanese and also save you a lot of embarrassment should a situation