Rei (礼): Mastering the art of Japanese politeness

Japanese businessmen bowing

One of the most complex aspects of Japanese culture for foreigners (myself included) to wrap their heads around is the idea of rei (礼), or Japanese courtesy. There have been attempts to explain the nuances of what’s going on during various cross-cultural exchanges (which often turn into gaffes), including this gem of a book, Polite Fictions: Why Japanese and Americans Seem Rude to Each […]

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