International Smiles

Smiles are a universal language.

The USA: Smiling is considered polite and is generally a prerequisite for social situations. Americans are often thought more likely to smile at strangers walking down the street than Europeans. ‘Service with a smile’, is an American tradition. This type of enforced, superficial smile has been dubbed the ‘Pan-Am Smile’, after the American airline company whose hostesses were required to look happy at all times.

Japan: The Japanese culture is traditionally thought of as one that suppresses strong displays of emotion. People are less likely to smile or frown with their mouths in a social situation, or smile for a driver’s license photo. The Japanese take emotional cues from people’s eyes more frequently than their mouths. This is reflected in the difference between Western emoticons and Japanese emoji.

Here’s a digital spin on things:

                                                        Western                                         Japanese
Smiley face                                        :- )                                                   ^_^
Sad face                                               :- (                                                    ;_;
Surprised                                            :-O                                                   O_O
Winking face                                      ;- )                                                    ^_~
Angry face                                           >:-(                                                  >_<

Duchenne-FacialExpressions.jpg

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