Japanese “Dogeza” Culture

Today I would love to write about Japanese people’s apologizing ways. I hope this blog entry will be interesting for you who are interested in Japanese culture.

I think Japanese society is very strict. As you know, Japanese people are very punctual. In addition to that, we keep our promise pretty well. We are very serious. So, do you think that we are very strict if people are late on time or broke our promise?

Basically we are very strict against such kind of stuff. If people were late on time, broke our promise or forgot to hand in documents, we tended to judge the person is lazy and he/she is lack of his/her responsibility against his/her tasks. In Japanese society if you were evaluated like that, it might be hard for you to survive in Japan.

I think that in western culture, western people are also very strict against such kind of stuff. I have heard if people forgot to hand in their documents that are very important for them; application documents, or people cannot hand in them on time , in public it is very difficult to be accepted them after later.
In public both our societies are very strict even if there is difference to what degree we can accept.

On the other hand, how about private promise stuff? I think that Japanese society is slightly lenient than western society.
For example: if you cheated your girlfriend, and she knew that, do you think she forgets you easily?
Of course it depends on their relationships, but I guess most of the time your girlfriend is very strict against you, and you have to apologize her very hard from the bottom of your heart. She might not forgive you even if you tried to keep apologizing.
However, in Japan we have “Dogeza” culture. I can’t tell you that it would be effective for Japanese girls because right now Japanese girls have become much more westerners. However, if you try to apologize with the Dogeza style, you might be able to get a chance that she would forgive you.

“Dogeza” is our traditional manner. If we really would love to change other people’s opinions or ask a favor, we sometimes use the manner to others. “Dogeza” has very strong apologizing style and strong activity for Japanese people. When Japanese people look at it, most of us are inspired because kneeing our both legs and hands on the ground and bowing is very humiliating.

On the other hand, when we express our appreciating emotions, we also do “Dogeza”. For instance; before Japanese girls have a wedding, they do “Dogeza” to their parents to express their appreciating emotions. In my case, I did “Dogeza” to my parents before my wedding date. I appreciated my parents how much I appreciated about raising me until I grew up while I was doing “Dogeza”.

In addition to that, You can look at the “Dogeza” style greeting in both a Japanese tea ceremony and a flower arrangement. We use the greeting style in our dairy life. At the time, the style does not have such apologizing and appreciating meanings. The style is just our manner to greet each other. 



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaze
    Dec 20, 2010 @ 11:57:43

    betraying each other in a relationship is one of the biggest things porrible. not easy to forgive someone who did that. guess it is possible to fogive, but to forget?


  2. Tami Shepherd
    Dec 20, 2010 @ 19:53:02

    Thank you for sharing this, Yumi. It is very common in our society to not only be angry and unforgiving of someone who cheats on us, but we will very often tell everyone we knew about it, so that the person who has offended you is on everyone’s “watch list” and no one will go out with that person because people think they will cheat on them too.

    It is very difficult to really forgive someone if you do not also forget their misdeeds. I try to forgive when someone has done me wrong, but I find it very difficult to forget, and so in some ways they are not really forgiven, but their offense remains in the back of your mind forever.

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Nick DeDomenico
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 11:41:58

    Thank you so much for writing this. I did not know anything about “Dogeza”, but it must be very difficult for proud people to lower themselves and apologize.
    I can understand how someone would be more willing to forgive a person who performs “Dogeza” since it would show that they really want to be forgiven.
    This is kind of showing us their vulnerability and remorse.

    Thank you again.



  4. Trackback: 2010 in review « The Spirit of Japan

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