10 Ways How to Piss Off a Japanese

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1 thing surprised me when living in Japan is that, Japanese people barely get angry. (compare to Malaysian people)

You are late to the appointment…. they say “Daijobu” (It’s okay)
You screwed up the group work… they say “Daijobu”
You hit somebody badly… they say “Daijobu”

And a lot of other examples. Either such case in Malaysia, you would probably get killed. (overacting lol)

As far as I have seen, Japanese people really barely show their anger in public. But is it true that they never get angry?




Japanese has a culture that they call – Honne and Tatemae (本音と建前, Honest & Facade), which are Japanese words that describe the contrast between one’s true feeling (Honne) and the behavior one displays in public (Tatemae).

To make it simple, Japanese people tend to hide their true feelings (Honne) and show positive expression or behavior (Tatemae) in public. Which means…


You never know whether a Japanese is angry or not.


However, after living four years in Japan, even though they don’t show anger in front of me, I realized some ways which are likely to piss them off.

So today, I’m going to teach you how to piss off a Japanese.


10 Ways How to Piss Off a Japanese

How to piss off a Japanese

p/s These ways may not apply to all Japanese.

#1 Interrupt the conversation

If you interrupt while a Japanese is talking, it will definitely piss him off. Interestingly, I found that instead of the speaker, the other Japanese who are listening are more likely to get pissed off first if you keep interrupting the speaker.

Malaysian people like to interrupt while listening to others. Like “How?” “Why?” “Who?”. Many questions just pop up and we can’t stop ourselves from interrupting. However, Japanese has a culture “listen first, ask question later”. That’s why Japanese are always evaluated as the best listener.


#2 Be a KY (people who can’t read the air)

KY – is a abbreviation of 空気が読めない (Ku-ki ga Yomenai, lit. means “can’t read the air”, which means “can’t read between the lines”)

For example, when everybody is trying to cheer somebody up, you suddenly say some negative words to that person, you are KY. In Japan, we need to be alert to the people around us. What are they going to do next? How is the majority thought going on?

You can’t read between the lines, you will definitely piss Japanese off.


#3 Make excuse

Japanese has a culture of apology, unfortunately, but not the culture of explaining why you apologize. In Japan, you are expected to apologize for every mistakes you made or indirectly made by you, with no explanation on why. Every explanation will sound like an excuse to Japanese.

“I couldn’t finish it on time because I couldn’t arrange time for it, I couldn’t gather my group members for meeting…blablabla”

So, why don’t you arrange it? Japanese don’t wanna know why. They want to know how. How you gonna fix it? How you gonna improve it?

You make excuse, you will be successful in pissing them off.


#4 Don’t greet to your senior

This is something I don’t like in Japan – the seniority system. (I think Korea can be more serious) In Japan, if you don’t greet to your senior, whether in a club or work, they will be pissed off.

In Malaysia, if the person doesn’t greet to me, I would think “because i’m not greeting to him too, can’t blame.” In Japan, forget about it. you are younger, you have to greet first.

No greeting to senior, piss them off!


#5 Just be late without any inform

While I mentioned above even though you are not punctual, Japanese people would still say “Daijobu” (It’s okay) to you, but they actually feel irritated for that.

Japanese is the most punctual nation in the world. They can’t forgive being late without any inform in advance. Be late without inform, piss them off!


#6 Talk while having food in your mouth

Usually, Japanese will cover their mouths while they are about to say something in the middle of eating. They don’t talk when mouth is full of food.

If you talk when you have food in your mouth, yet, the food gushing from your mouth…. Congratulations, the Japanese is pissed off now. lol


#7 Use things without permission

Japanese is very careful of privacy issues. Everything, almost everything! that involved with others privacy, you should ask “Can I use it?”

If you use it without asking for a permission, you will absolutely piss them off.


#8 Upload photos on SNS without permission

As I said, Japanese is sooooooooooo careful about privacy issues. If you take a photo with Japanese and upload the photo on facebook, yet tag their name without asking for their permissions, some people will get pissed off!

It’s very interesting that in Japan, i always get questions from Japanese people after taking photos with them that “Shen, can i upload it on facebook? Can i tag you?”


#9 Say they look like Chinese (not all Japanese)

OK this is becoming a little bit sensitive. I’m not being racist (I’m Chinese Malaysian too), but just telling my observation after living in Japan four years.

To be honest, the majority of Japanese people don’t have a good impression on China. Speaking of China, they always think of faking work, dirty, pollution, impolite. So if you say “Hey, did anyone tell you that you look like Chinese?”

Well, they won’t show anger but inside, they maybe pissed off.


#10 Say Senkaku Islands belong to China (not all Japanese)

Same as #9, no offense is intended here but just telling my experience.

I have several times seen Japanese people got pissed off when they heard “Senkaku Islands belong to China”. While at the same time, many Japanese don’t show any interest on this issue.


Naruhodo! OIC!

Japanese people tend to hide their true feelings (Honne) and behave positively (Tatemae) in public. But it doesn’t mean that they never get angry. When you touched their taboo, they will still get pissed off. (in an implicit way)

Any other ways you think of to piss off Japanese? Share with us in comments ^^

A Chinese Malaysian, Blogger, Vlogger on YouTube, Tour Guide in Japan. He believes 1 day his videos can bring Japan and Malaysia together. マレーシア華人、ブロガー、YouTubeクリエイター、日本にいるツアーガイドです。いつか自分の動画は日本とマレーシアを繋げる架け橋になると信じています。 Read more ABOUT him.