Why Do Japanese People Stare?

When you are planning to travel you get all kinds of unsolicited advice from all kinds of people. Sometimes you start to notice a theme. When more than one person warns me of something, I start to google it and research it. Like staring. I’ve had several people tell me that Japanese people may stare, RELENTLESSLY at us when we are in Japan.

This started to freak me out a little so I had to Google it and found lots of post from people who had been to Japan complaining about being stared at…

I guess it’s a cultural thing. If you are different, they stare. If you are American, or a red head or especially a blond they might stare. Staring is not considered a rude or hostile act in Japan. I hear that Japanese people will stop blond people on the street (even in America) and ask to take a picture with them.

I’m also being told that even if you make eye contact back, they don’t break their stare. They don’t care at all. If a Japanese person wants to stare at you, they will. In America if you make unwarranted eye contact with someone that you don’t know out in public, it’s customary to turn your eyes away.

If you think about it, staring is a hostile act. It can get you killed in the animal kingdom. I mean, unsolicited eye contact with a wild bear or a lion, could trigger an attack. We all know that it’s not polite to stare, we’ve had it hammered into our heads from birth so this is going to take some getting use to. I could see it being really annoying. I’m sure a group of 8 loud Americans running around Tokyo is going to draw some stares.

Have you been to Japan? Have you encountered this? What can I expect? Share your thoughts in the comments below.