Every now and then, human communication encounters errors. ‘Cause it’s already hard enough to come across a simple, clear message. But it’s a whole different story when it comes to building bridges between cultures. One word at the wrong place and wrong time and you’re screwed.

This is essentially why one Japanese artist felt it was vital to let their English fandom know what not to do while commenting on Japanese artists’ works. In an urgent tweet with the caption “Please read!”, Chii urged avoiding using particular memes because English sarcasm and humor may come across as insulting. Her tweet got a whopping 179.7K likes and 78.5K retweets, showing that so many people weren’t immune to her argument.

And honestly, chances are, you too have been unsure of whether a statement is indeed ironic. So the next time you pop the “Are you serious?” question, think of the cultures that just don’t enter that grey area.

The artist urged English-speakers to stop using memes when commenting on Japanese art in this viral tweet

Image credits: ceallachs_

The artist posted this example of a meme

And showed what kind of reaction it received

Here is another example showing the misunderstanding

Image credits: ceallachs_

Although in the English speaking world, irony and sarcasm is something everyone is pretty much used to when it comes to communicating, using them in Japanese may be quite a bad idea.

Patricia Pringle, a consultant at Japan Intercultural Consulting, explains that “Americans are mostly unaware of using verbal irony because it is all around us.” The nation is famous for wisecracking jokes since TV and social media are full of them.

Meanwhile, the Japanese face many challenges in trying to understand what Americans are saying. “When they are able to piece together the words or phrases, they might miss the intonations that signal irony to native speakers,” Patricia argues.

The artist went on to add that being respectful in comments applies to all the foreign posts

Image credits: ceallachs_

Image credits: ceallachs_

Image credits: felicider

Image credits: ceallachs_

And even if Americans are being ironic and indeed funny to the ears of fellow Americans, Patricia claims that “it does not translate well to the Japanese”.

Being positive and tactful is the way to go when communicating with foreigners. “When they listen to Americans, they are not expecting irony. They are expecting direct speech,” the consultant concluded.

Image credits: ceallachs_

Image credits: ceallachs_

Image credits: ceallachs_

Image credits: ceallachs_

More people joined in the thread to voice their views on the matter

Image credits: pareo1312

Image credits: pareo1312

Image credits: eyechanw

Image credits: eyechanw

Image credits: melomenon

Image credits: the_almandine

Image credits: nadis_subdued

Image credits: CaliburnClarent