Mind Your Manners

Manner Mode is essentially the equivalent of silent mode in Japan. Here in Japan, before movies, on trains or buses, or before exams, you will hear announcements reminding patrons to keep their mobiles on “manner mode,” as to not disturb others.

Turning your phone on manner mode is as easy as pressing and holding a couple keys. In this silent/manner mode, your phone vibrates–if you have it set to it or even entirely silent–rather than rings. Simple, no?

Personally, I love the term manner mode over silent mode, due to the connotation of manner mode emphasises the importance of using manners in a public setting.
Honestly, I would not set my mobile in any other country on silent unless I personally did not want to be disturbed, such as while asleep, or when absolutely necessary. This is primarily due to the fact that having a ring-tone or notification tone on in public is common and widely accepted in most places in the world, however, the opposite applies to Japan.

Beyond setting manner mode on in settings where it is common to turn sound off in other countries–exams, work/school, cinemas, etc.–in Japan it is almost always used when out in public, as to not disturb others around your person when their mobile goes off.
I would never think of going out in public here without switching to manner mode. I always have a mini heart-attack when I forget to set it on and get a notification or call, along with the shunning looks received from passersby. The only time I turn it off is when I am at home or at a friend’s flat.

If you have headphones/earphones plugged in, then you will be able to hear the tones regardless of manner mode being on, but it will only be available when the connection is made.


Nothing is more obnoxious than being trapped in an enclosed spaced and being forced to listen to someone’s one-sided conversation. I loathe it when I am waiting to catch my plane, and there is that one woman yacking away on her cell phone for the next hour. Or when I am on the bus or train.

This does not happen in Japan, only on very rare occasions does it and more often than not it is a foreign tourist who does it, primarily due to the fact that Japan has “Manner Mode” for their cell phones (societal pressure probably adds onto that but, you know, no one dares talk about that.)

Nowadays, the buses and trains are silent. Everyone keeps their mobiles on manner mode. I think manner mode is an absolutely terrific function–it solves one of the great annoyances of commuting life. You’re actually not supposed to use your mobiles on trains or buses at all even for sending mails and using apps, for various reasons, but with the use of manner mode, there is no issue with using them and no one will scold you for it.

I ardently believe that other countries should adopt the “manner mode” idea; it sounds much better than “silent mode,” while simultaneously emphasising the importance of manners in a public setting.

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