Japan Culture Shock – Japanese never say their name back!

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Hi! I’m Shen from Malaysia. Currently studying abroad in Kyoto, Japan.

I started this blog originally in Japanese language, thought that since I came to Japan, wanna improve my Japanese language writing skill on one hand, and communicate with my Japanese friends on the other hand.

However, I realized that many of my Malaysian friends are actually reading my blog, even it’s written in Japanese. (I usually post my new blog post on SNS such as Facebook & Twitter)

Writing Japanese language is a very interesting challenge for me, but I suddenly felt like interacting with some of my friends from all over the world in this blog. Thus, I decided to write about my Japan life in English.

Today I’m just going to introduce one of the thousand culture shocks in my Japan life.


Japanese never say their name back!

japanese people are shy

Have you met Japanese people and introduced yourself to them before?

Can you recall how you introduced yourselves to each other?

I don’t know if you realized this, but it has been a question in my mind for a long time that,

“Japanese people never say their name back to you when you introduced yourself to them.”


Today I met a Japanese guy whom I met him at the Hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) on the hallway on campus. There was a Taiwanese friend walking along with me, so I introduced my friend to the Japanese guy.


(Conversation in Japanese language)

“Hey, this is my friend Mxx, from Taiwan.”

“Hi, I’m Mxx from Taiwan. Nice to meet you.” My friend said with smile.

“Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu (Nice to meet you)” (the Japanese guy answered with nodding and smile.)

dead air…… (5 seconds? maybe)

“hmm…Don’t you want to say your name to Mxx?”

“Oh yeah! My name is Keixxxxx. Nice to meet you.” He said.


This is not the first time I encountered this situation. (more than hundred times i guess?) and I still can’t figure out a convincing reason why they never tell their name back when I introduced my name to them.

Some explanations I got from them:

“hmmm, maybe Japanese are shy?”

“having a normal conversation 1st and tell your name in the middle of the conversation could be more natural for Japanese.”

“I guess Japanese ppl are shy”

“we are shy…”

“shy…i guess?”

In conclusion

according to them, it’s because Japanese ppl are shy to say their name.
I still wonder if that is the true reason. So i will leave the discussion open and try to figure out the reason.

If you have any thoughts, please explain me in the comment box.

I would love to hear any episodes you experienced with Japanese. Just sharing stories, no offense, peace. ^^

Shen Lim
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.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Tsaiti

    Oh and they say "It's awkward to introduce your name to others when u have missed the timing. ex when a conversation has been going on for a while not knowing each other's name, it's awkward to tell each other ur name "

    also, Japanese has a different definition of BEING SHY from other cultures.
    They consider it virtue, yet in many other cultures, ppl don't.

    1. Leong Shen Lim

      Yeah thats so true. I guess there must be some study about Japanese shy psychology. I know they have their own theory but I cant help but feel like changing that culture >< Well it could be my stereotype but I still wanna change it lol

  2. N

    I dunno man, I never had that problem = Keep in mind that in some cultures, it is polite to ask “and what is your name?” after you are done introducing yourself or someone else.

  3. akina minami






    1. Leong Shen Lim

      なるほど!とても分かりやすくて納得のいく説明ですね!^^ありがとうございました!これで名乗らない疑惑が氷釈しました 🙂



  4. akina minami



  5. iwa


    1. Leong Shen Lim

      まったくその通りだと思います 🙂


      確かに司会者であった私は両方を紹介すべきでしたね。これからも心がけていきます^^大変有意義なコメントを下さり、ありがとうございます。他の読者さんもいわさんのコメントを読んで「なるほど」と思ってくださると思います 🙂

  6. Brandon

    If I could interject as to why the Japanese might not say their name back:

    From what I gather from Japanese culture- they’re accustomed to not keeping up with everyone they meet. Theirs is a very secluded and ‘right onto business’ sort.

    So, perhaps they feel that names are not necessary unless it’s in a situation where they’ll be face-to-face with you on a regular basis? Like work, or school?

    Examples of situations that might not lead to constant socialization would fit right into the event you were at. Unless they were classmates; In which case, my theory doesn’t stand.

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