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Why do Koreans hold their wrist?


Koreans have a unique gesture of holding their wrist, which is commonly seen in various social situations. The gesture may seem insignificant, but it has cultural significance and symbolic meaning. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why Koreans hold their wrist and what it represents in Korean culture.

Korean Culture

Korean culture is deeply rooted in Confucianism, which emphasizes respect for authority, family values, and social harmony. Therefore, Koreans are known for their politeness and respect towards others. This is reflected in their body language and gestures, including the wrist-holding gesture.

Body Language

Body language is an essential aspect of Korean culture, and it is used to convey respect, gratitude, apology, and other emotions. The wrist-holding gesture is one such body language that demonstrates humility and respect towards the other person.


Koreans value humility as a virtue and believe that it is essential to maintain social harmony. The wrist-holding gesture is a physical representation of this value and is used to show that the person is humble and respectful towards others.


Respect is another crucial aspect of Korean culture, and it is shown through various gestures, including bowing and holding the wrist. Holding the wrist while bowing or greeting someone is a sign of respect towards the other person.

Gender Roles

In Korean culture, there are specific gender roles that dictate how men and women should behave in social situations. The wrist-holding gesture is more commonly seen among women than men, as it is considered a feminine gesture.


While holding the wrist may seem like a submissive gesture, it can also signify confidence. When someone holds their wrist while speaking or making a request, it shows that they are confident in their abilities and are taking control of the situation.


On the other hand, holding the wrist can also be a sign of nervousness or anxiety. When someone is feeling uncomfortable or unsure, they may unconsciously hold their wrist as a way to calm themselves down.


Korean etiquette is highly valued, and it is essential to follow certain rules and customs when interacting with others. The wrist-holding gesture is one such custom that is considered polite and respectful, especially when meeting someone for the first time.


In business settings, Koreans place great importance on building relationships and trust with their partners. The wrist-holding gesture is often used to show sincerity and honesty in business dealings.

Personal Relationships

In personal relationships, holding the wrist can signify affection or caring towards the other person. It is a way to offer comfort, support, or reassurance during difficult times.


The wrist-holding gesture may seem like a simple action, but it has significant cultural and symbolic meaning in Korean culture. It demonstrates values such as respect, humility, and politeness and is used in various social situations to convey different emotions. Understanding this gesture can help non-Koreans better understand and appreciate Korean culture.

Why do Koreans hold their wrist when shaking hands?

When shaking hands, it is important to show respect by using your left hand to support your right forearm. In South Korea, women often nod slightly, while Western women may offer their hand to a Korean man. When leaving, it is appropriate to bow.

What does the Korean hand thing mean?

The Finger heart is a widely used hand gesture in Korea, formed by joining the thumb and index finger to create a heart shape. It is often used to express affection or gratitude towards someone.

What is the rude finger in Korea?

In Korean culture, certain gestures are seen as impolite, such as making a fist with the thumb between the middle and index finger. Additionally, Koreans may come across as serious or emotionless during conversations.

What do Koreans find offensive?

Behaviors that are deemed rude in your culture are likely to be perceived as impolite in Korea as well. Actions like spitting, shouting, physically assaulting others, using profanity, and displaying obnoxious behavior are considered inappropriate in Korean society.

Is it rude to shake hands in Korea?

In South Korea, handshakes are a common way to greet others. The right hand is usually the one used for all forms of greeting.

Why do Koreans clap when they laugh?

Laughing and clapping go hand in hand for the majority of Koreans, with nine out of ten individuals clapping or hitting the person next to them when they find something funny. This habit is deeply ingrained in Korean culture and serves as a way to empathize and connect with others. Additionally, on Korean reality shows, it is common for individuals to shout “mom” in surprise when unexpected things occur.

In addition to its cultural significance, the wrist-holding gesture has also become a popular pose in Korean pop culture, particularly among K-pop idols. Many idols have been seen holding their wrists while performing or taking photos, further perpetuating the gesture’s symbolic meaning in Korean society.

While the wrist-holding gesture is primarily a Korean custom, it is not exclusive to the country. Similar gestures can be found in other Asian cultures, such as Japan and China, where they also represent respect and humility.

It is important to note that while the wrist-holding gesture is generally considered respectful and polite in Korean culture, it should not be overused or used inappropriately. Koreans value sincerity and authenticity, so it is essential to use the gesture genuinely and appropriately in social situations.

Overall, the wrist-holding gesture is a small but significant part of Korean culture that represents values such as respect, humility, and politeness. Understanding its meaning can help non-Koreans better appreciate and respect Korean customs and traditions.

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