From childhood, we are taught to be emotionally strong, bold, not weak… So if you hear American women curse, see them in non-traditional occupations, participating in sports, those things are encouraged. Have you ever wondered why Japanese women cover their mouth with their hand when they laugh or even smile? When they are surprised, they cover their mouth with both hands. While in Colombia a dental treatment can cost around 500 dollars in 2 years, there in Japan can costs 4000 dollars and other than that, each month you have to pay from 4000 to 7000 yens that is equal from 30 to 60 dollars. In this article, I want to explore why we cover our mouth when we laugh. I think that is not about if they want or dont want it. It is a social status thing so why would they hide that status? I still do it here in America. At the same time, I want to embrace this traditional etiquette among Japanese women.
There is this delicacy or charm to it. Still to this day…dental hygiene in Japan is still considered a luxury, not necessity. I see how it was written by you two years ago yet this is the first i have seen it and i am glad for that. Some of them even cover their whole faces with hands. Just like their Japanese counterpart, Filipina women, of early times, also cover their mouths, and sometimes , even half of their faces, with only their eyes showing, either with a fan or a handkerchief. I grew up where they say that giggling in public and laughing out loud are not ladylike and rude. This is specially true during the Spanish times.
Also could do without the tank top and Lycra Capri workout pants that a lot of American women wear. Reason 4: Japanese society sees this behavior as graceful and women are encouraged to just smile because that is a sign of attraction and grace. When I was in school in Japan, my culture class teacher told me that it was done because it was once a religious thing that suggested it was rude to show bone including teeth. Because some of the Filipinos that stayed in America for awhile now stopped covering their mouths when they laugh. Shoes in the house, esp in the bathroom, just grosses me out now. Japanese women do that too, so there are some similarities among women regardless of cultural backgrounds. In the Philippines, we cover our mouths when we laugh.
I would love to see more articles written by you and i also plan to be a English teacher. Perfect make-up, perfect hair, perfect dress…. Many women here need some serious work in their teeth. Dental care in the Edo period was non-existent and covering the mouth to hide unattractive teeth was common and is still a common habit for Japanese women during that period. The reverse, of course, is that Americans think they are being fun and bubbly when they are loud and annoying and laugh out loud showing as many teeth as possible…even indirectly complimenting the person that said the funny thing. What I heard was a long time ago, after women got married , there was a teeth dying practise to make them black.
When they are surprised, they cover their mouth with both hands. It is kind of beautiful and elegant. Does it mean I am less of a woman, or have bad manners? They are not very feminine as a group and seem proud of it. Just adding to the commentary, though. We are also encouraged to look good doing those things, like a female super hero. I say less make up and better teeth.
I grew up in Japan and feel very fortunate to have lived in two very different societies. Because parts of your reasons 1 and 3 seem to indicate it is cultural. A closed mouth smile is a seen as an uptight conservative shy person who cannot enjoy social situation. For example, The winner of the Miss Universe would do that almost every year because she is so shocked to win this prestigious competition. Many women have really crooked teeth and they are simply embarrassed to show their unaligned teeth. Reason 1: Unlike American culture that cherishes beautiful smiles, Japanese women smiling while showing their teeth showing are often frowned upon. They believe that straight and perfectly aligned teeth makes beautiful smile.
Covering the mouth while laughing is a sign a modesty for Japanese women now, with that same mindset carried over from the Edo period. I was born and raised in America and have spent my life dating American women. Whenever I go home to visit my family in Japan, I see my friend who covers her mouth even when talking and I am truly impressed by her grace. American women would never cover their mouth while laughing unless they have a missing tooth as Americans are very conscious about their teeth. A random American male or female who was un-informed about mouth-covering traditions, might interpret the act as shy, not confident, unsure, socially awkward. Some of them even cover their whole faces with hands. To be honest, baring your teeth to others suggests aggression.
Editorial use only photos don't have any model or property releases, which means they can't be used for commercial, promotional, advertorial or endorsement purposes. I admire the Japanese way in many of these cultural norms. This type of content is intended to be used in connection with events that are newsworthy or of general interest for example, in a blog, textbook, newspaper or magazine article. I almost never see that in California so it was refreshing to me. It is a learned behavior.