Elevator etiquette in Japan

In Japan, there is an unspoken elevator etiquette for riding elevators. Here is what I have learnt so far in four weeks.


  1. If you are the first to enter an empty elevator, you are the new elevator captain.
  2. As the elevator captain, stand close to the control panel and hold the door open button until everyone safely boards the vehicle.
  3. Once the last person boards, let go of the open button and press the close button immediately. Hold until door is closed. You must abort the procedure if anyone decides to sneak in.
  4. As the captain, you must now hold the door open for each floor the elevator stops. And use video game dexterity to immediately hold close when the last person exits.
  5. If this is your floor, you must be the last to abandon ship, hold door open until everyone exits. Then you may exit.
  6. The closest person to the control panel must now become the new elevator captain. The new captain must hold the open button until the previous captain exits.
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