Which Position is Higher ? Right? or Left?/左右どっちが偉い?

This article can be read in about 3 minutes.

Traditional style

Modern style

In the old days, the king sat facing south. 
The left side of the king represents the east. 
Since the sun rises from east, the first place where a person bask in the sun is left.
That was why left was considered as the higher position in Japan.

For example, the minister on the left had a higher position than the one on the right.

How about other countries?

It’s a standard  among western countries that right is the higher position.

Since Japan has started westernization in the middle of the 19th century, right has become  the higher position.

A unique mixed practice remains when it comes to the layout of Hina dolls.  
In Kyoto’s Hina dolls, we can find the Emperor’s doll on the right, while in other areas, the Emperor doll is placed on the left side.
If you were the Emperor’s doll, you are placed on the left in Kyoto, but on the right in Tokyo.

We can see that people in Kyoto keep following the traditional style, while people in other areas adopted the western style.

In short, the higher position has been the right side in Japan since the middle of the 19th century. 

Do you think the right position should be right?



Good day, I am the founder of Aurora Trip Nippon. Also, I am a Certified National Guide, Certified Tour Conductor, Certified General Travel Service Supervisor, as well as a Kimono Consultant.
I love Japan. So, you could ask us anything about Japan.

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  1. AvatarAnonymous says:

    Since I’m right-handed, I prefer the right position. It is like waking up on the right side of the bed. You can never go wrong with right. 😉