Kansai About Kantō: How to Tell Them Apart

In a large country with a lot of natural barriers like Japan, it is only evident that regional cultural differences can be observed. In particular, Kansai 関西 (west of the barrier, represented by Ōsaka) and Kantō 関東 (east of the barrier, represented by Tōkyō) are said to be “like day and night”. According to inhabitants of Kansai, following behavior is decisive in telling them apart. (of course these are stereotypical characteristics and depend on people’s personality and habits)



1. Speaking the Kansai dialect (Kansaiben 関西弁)

Kansai dialect is characterized by its strong and sometimes lengthened vowels. The differences in pitch are striking as well. Kansai-ben also uses other suffixes. Not only pronunciation, but sometimes completely different words are used for the same things.



2. Standing on the right side of the escalator

Tokyo vs. Osaka-umasugi.com

Tokyo vs. Osaka-umasugi.com

One theory is that samurai in Tōkyō would feel safer to stand on the left, being ready to draw their swords at once when attacked. In the merchant’s city of Ōsaka, people preferred to stay on the right, protecting their belongings held in their right hand.

3. Being talkative and funny

Kansai people are said to be friendly and talkative, even to strangers. And they have their own sense of humor.

4. Having more delicious food prepared in a different way

There is a proverb about Ōsaka’s eating culture: 大阪の食い倒れ (Ōsaka no kuidaore), or eat till you drop. Local specialities are お好み焼き okonomiyaki (kind of pancake or pizza) and たこ焼き takoyaki (octopus balls). Takoyaki is also regarded as a main dish, and not just a snack.  Nattō, on the contrary, is not very popular there. Kansai people use other ingredients, like a different soy sauce. The broth in udon, for example, is much lighter in Kansai because they use less tsuyu sauce. While in Kantō mainly pork is eaten, Kansai people prefer beef. That’s why the word for 肉まん nikuman used in Kantō, assuming meat is pork, is called 豚まん butaman in Kansai. Kantō people prepare fish by slicing it down the back, while in Kansai it’s along the stomach.



5. Not trying to follow the rules too much

According to my teacher, Kansai people are much more lax about rules, e.g. smoking in bars when it is prohibited.

6. Not queueing up

Kantō... - ttoshio.blog.ocn.ne.jp

Kantō… – ttoshio.blog.ocn.ne.jp

... and Kansai. - v-yamazaki-co.jp

… and Kansai. – v-yamazaki-co.jp

7. Adoring baseball

Tokyo Giants, don’t mess with the Hanshin Tigers.



8. Driving like crazy

Driving! People in Kansai drive like maniacs! It’s sort of like personal relationships. Tokyoites are meek and reserved. Osaka people will run you over, literally. – Japan Times

9. Haggling over money

People in Tōkyō will neatly pay what’s on the price tag, Osaka inhabitants like to haggle about it.

You, for instance, bought an originally expensive branded bag at a very discounted price. When you are told how good the bag is, what will you react? Osaka people usually brag about or bother revealing how much discount they could get when buying it. Meanwhile, Tokyo people usually don’t refer to its purchase price. I’ve heard that some of them pretend as if they had bought it at a regular price. http://lang-8.com/33465/journals/403615

10. Expressing themselves frankly

Regardless of sex or gender, Osaka people like to express themselves frankly. They also enjoy complaining, even as some form of communication with the shop staff. Especially the “Obachan“, middle-aged women are not shy at all.


– http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/01/19/our-lives/signs-of-kansai/#.UpZtHGb0AUs

– http://whatjapanthinks.com/2010/11/08/surprising-facts-about-kanto-versus-kansai/

– http://lang-8.com/33465/journals/403615

– http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2132782182249744401

– http://www.visitkansai.com/whats/kansai-and-kanto/


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