Etiquette in Asia

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In Asia, paying respect to elders is expected among younger people, a gesture such as bowing expresses the utmost respect. The elaborate and refined Japanese tea ceremony is also meant to demonstrate respect through grace and good etiquette.

As expectations regarding good manners differ from person to person and vary according to each situation, no treatise on the rules of etiquette nor any list of faux pas can ever be complete. As the perception of behaviors and actions vary, intercultural competence is essential. However, a lack of knowledge about the customs and expectations of Asian people can make even the best intentioned person seem rude, foolish, or worse.


Everyone should observe good etiquette when using chopsticks.

In the rituals of a Japanese cremation, the relatives pick the bones out of the ashes with chopsticks, and two relatives may then hold the same piece of bone at the same time. This is the only occasion in which it is acceptable for two people to hold the same item at the same time with chopsticks. At all other times, holding anything with chopsticks by two people at the same time, including passing an item from chopsticks to chopsticks, will remind everyone witnessing this of the funeral of a close relative.[citation needed]

Etiquette by Region[edit]

Specific details which may contradict the aforementioned generalisations are listed in the list here below.



Greater China[edit]

Further information: Customs and etiquette in Chinese dining

Generally, Chinese Etiquette is very similar to that in other East Asian countries such as Korea and Japan, but there are some exceptions.


Also: Etiquette of Indian dining


Paying respect to elders and obeying teachers are expected among Asian youth, such as shown here in Indonesia. The students quietly listen to their teacher's explanation during their school excursion.

It is important to understand that Indonesia is a vast tropical country of sprawling archipelago with extremely diverse culture. Each of these Indonesian ethnic groups have their own culture, tradition and may speak their own language. Each of them may adhere different religions that have their own rules. These combinations made Indonesia a complex mixture of traditions that may differ from one place to another. Indonesia have a Muslim majority population, and some points of etiquette in the Middle East apply. Following are some key points of Indonesian etiquette:[2]



Southeast Asians are very family-oriented and celebrations are a chance to meet extended kinsmen. In Islamic culture, modesty in dress etiquette is important, such as the tudong (hijab).


For more details on this topic, see Etiquette in Japan.

Japanese customs and etiquette can be especially complex and demanding. The knowledge that non-Japanese who commit faux pas act from inexperience can fail to offset the negative emotional response some Japanese people feel when their expectations in matters of etiquette are not met.

Like many Asian people, Koreans observe points of etiquette related to local forms of Buddhism. Shown here is the Buddha statue at Seokguram Grotto, a National Treasure of South Korea.



Hand shake[edit]

In urban Sindh and in other parts of the country, men and women usually lower their head and lift their hand to their forehead to make the "adab" gesture when greeting each other.


Shown here is the gate of Fuerza de Santiago in Manila. The three centuries of Spanish rule left an indelible mark on Filipino customs, art and society.

The centuries of Spanish and American rule, as well as the influence of Japan, China, India, Middle East and the West, have given the Philippines has a unique and particularly formal sense of etiquette concerning social functions, filial piety and public behaviour. Age is an important determinant in social structure and behaviour, dictating the application of honour, precedence, and title.

See also: Table manners#Philippines




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