Why Japanese people at the forefront of writing letters and joining Pen Pal Clubs

How we can learn about cultures through writing a letter

Kon’nichiwa​ – If you are interested in writing to a Pen Pal, especially one from Japan then that is one of the first words you will learn!  Obviously, it means “Hello” and is a nice friendly greeting to use.

The lure of handwriting a letter to a person across The Globe has never been higher, which for some will come as something of a shock.  Everyone assumes it all instant texts and emails.  But hidden in this world of digital communication, there is also the delicious secret of writing a letter to a person far away in a different land and with a different culture.

The Japanese are well known for being a very courteous and respectful nation and quite removed from Europeans or Americans.  Some of their culture is veiled in secrecy and because of this they are top of the list for people to write to when joining a Pen Pal Club.

Finding a Pen Pal with similar interests to you is all well and good and you will immediately have found lots of common interests and topics to write about.  It makes for a smooth entry into a relationship across the miles. But also consider writing to someone who has a completely different lifestyle to you and, if you are a European; Antipodean or America then you would probably think that writing to a person in Japan is a very good start!

It is the gentle art of exchanging letters via Snail Mail, or putting a stamp on your letter and popping it in the post box which makes this all the more special.  There is nothing new about having and writing to Global Pen pals and special Pen Pal Clubs have been around for a very long time.  You can very easily google “Pen Pal Clubs” and many will come up for you to consider.  Some of these will be mainly for people who want an instant response and so will only ask for your email address.  Others may suggest sending a Postcard from your current location to a random person, chosen for you by the computer.  However, whilst sending a Postcard and knowing when it has been received can be exciting, there is usually no further communication with that person.  The address is generated by a computer and where you send your postcard will be out of your hands.

Having regular contact with Pen Pals across the world can help you understand different countries and mind sets through the ease of a letter.  It could be that the media has given “its” own opinion which is not always balanced.  Having a Pen Pal in a different country allows you to appreciate and hear their opinions first hand.

However, back to the popularity of a Japanese Pen Pal

Whilst we are all curious creatures and have a need to find out more about the world, it would appear that Japanese people love to explain about their heritage and cultures and in return are really interested to find out more about ours.  You can be sure that if you write to a Japanese Pen Pal then they will eagerly write back to you and often include lots of souvenirs and memorabilia from Japan.  In the past they have seemed a closed nation of people and so to counter that perception of them they have reached out to other countries to be included and inclusive.

Japanese people also love languages and learning new ones, especially English.  They also love the art of learning and writing new alphabets and symbols because their own written language is a series of beautiful symbols, and they love to learn more.   Japanese people love to share information about their own country and culture and are never more pleased than when you ask them questions about it.   All people writing letters will want to raise questions to the Pen Pal they write to, and Japanese people see this a sign of being interested and engaged in them and their culture.  They simply love it!

Writing letters and asking question is one of the more basic ways of trying to understand people from different countries and cultures.  Sometimes people need to think about a response before they reply and so receiving a letter and thinking about the reply can often be better than asking a question, which could offend unintentionally to them face to face.   One of the more popular sites that Japanese people visit is My Language Exchange.   Whilst this website does not encourage or offer writing in the old fashioned “snail mail” it does show an excellent example of how many Japanese wish to have contact with people from across the waters.  Japanese Pen Pals – one and all!

Of course, you could always start off by emailing in the first instance to see if you have any commonality between yourselves and if you have, then you could suggest writing to each other in a more relaxed and measured way, enclosing more information.  It also will allow your Japanese Pen Pal to practise their new style of words and symbols, as using a keyboard is certainly not the same as using a pen to form letters.

What to write to your Japanese Pen Pal

There is no special topic or way of writing to a Japanese Pen Pal that you would not use to write to, say, a German Pen Pal or an Italian Pen Pal or even an American Pen Pal.  You always write the salutation – Dear XXX and then always start by asking them how they are and what they have been doing.  Asking these sort of questions shows an interest in the person you are writing to.  After that you can write your news.  Always make it upbeat and interesting.  No one wants to be reading sad and embarrassing news from someone they have not met, especially when you consider the anticipation they will feel when your letter dops on the door mat. So be measured and thoughtful. 

Japanese people love animation and drawings or paintings, so if you can add some colourful pictures onto the paper, you are using then they will be thrilled even more.  Again, this appears to be a cultural thing and sending them some hand drawn pictures will really make them smile.  It would be even better if the pictures you draw or send to them are not from the Japanese culture as this will help them learn and find out more about yours. 

Remember, primarily English is the main language across the world and used in so much from aviation to media so sending a letter in English to your Japanese Pen Pal will encourage them to improve their English.  Ask them to write back to you in English so that they can practise their knowledge of this language as well as reply to all your questions.

Japanese people take the art of letter writing and so Pen Pals also very seriously so once you start writing to your Japanese friends, you can be sure that this will be a lifetime relationship of Pen Pal Writing, whether you are lucky enough to eventually meet them or not.

If you would like to write to people across the World, then consider joining Letter in the Post.    Happy Pen Pal Finding and “ sayonara” ????

Related articles.

This site uses cookies to offer you a
better browsing experience.