I have read in numerous publications that making direct eye contact can be considered rude and offensive but I am unable to identify a term associated with it.


Even though the concept itself is quite common, I do not think there is a single preferred term or phrase for that.

Some of the more common phrases you might run into would be:

・直接{ちょくせつ}相手{あいて}の目{め}を見{み}ない "to not look directly into the other person's eyes"

・アイ・コンタクトを(避{さ}ける/控{ひか}える) "to avoid eye-contact"

・(強{つよ}い or 直接{ちょくせつ}の)アイコンタクトを(避ける/控える) "to avoid strong (or direct) eye-contact"

・相手の眉間{みけん}のあたりを見る "to look between the eyes"

・相手の鼻{はな}のあたりを見る "to look around the nose" ← This might sound funny but I do hear it occasionally.


There are a several words to mean "make eye contact" but nothing directly for "not make".

You could say:

  • 目を見ない
  • 目を合わせない
  • 視線を合わせない
  • 直視しない

IMO making eye contact itself isn't something rude, only the frequency and timing is different from Westerners, and Japanese surely do less than them. It's true that looking them in the eyes all the time you're speaking (ずっと目を見て話す) is felt too aggressive.

Historically looking into their eyes when in audience with kings and emperors was considered lèse-majesté, but I believe it's another matter.

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