COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
crime

Kagoshima man beats up, insults convenience store clerk for not smiling enough

42 Comments

A 56-year-old man from Makurazaki city in Kagoshima Prefecture has been arrested for physically assaulting and insulting a convenience store clerk because he didn't smile enough while serving him.

According to a Sankei Shimbun report, the incident occurred at around 5:40 a.m. on Jan 3 when the suspect, Yoshiyuki Muta, a flower shop owner, expressed dissatisfaction with the 44-year-old employee for not being cheerful and smiling at him.

Police said Muta asked the clerk to meet him outside the convenience store where he hit the man in the stomach and forced him to kneel on both knees in the traditional Japanese “dogeza" style and apologize to him. The employee suffered kidney damage which will take a month to heal, police said.

At the time of the incident, there were no other employees or customers in the store. Muta had been a regular customer at the convenience store, police said.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

I'm sure this'll bring a big smile to his face.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Trouble seeker , drunk early morning ...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

「笑顔ない」 - I know it's still early, but I nominate this to be the phrase of the year. For Kagoshima, at least.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

All these criminals should be exiled to Senkaku Islands.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

5:40am, expected employee to give him a cheerful smile? have a little understanding and caring this would not happened

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Muta had been a regular customer at the convenience store, police said

an old grudge can not be ruled out.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Isn't it illegal to force people to take the 'dogeza' position? Stinks of yak.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Kidneys are not in the stomach area.

-4 ( +3 / -9 )

Yoshiyuki Muta, a flower shop owner, expressed dissatisfaction with the 44-year-old employee for not being cheerful and smiling at him.

At least Muta will have his apology ready.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There is this one shop that I go to about once a month on my way to work. One of the store clerks never says thank you to me after making a purchase. He just hands me the change then walks away. After the same situation last month, I decided the best way to combat this is to not step foot in that shop again. Being in Japan a long time, I am more use to staff everywhere being all smiley and going overboard with saying "thank you" than the complete opposite.

The moral of this story is to boycott or talk to the manager if it bothers you that much.

10 ( +10 / -1 )

What a first class idiot! Sounds like the neighbour near my local private school who complains regularly to the police about the students talking or singing as they leave the building to make their way home. A sad individual.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

that's one tough flower shop owner!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just another disgruntled coward that has to take out his/her frustrations on someone they know will not/can not fight back. Unfortunately, there is a lot of that going on recently. The only cure is for someone to give them a good slap upside the head when they start acting up...

14 ( +14 / -0 )

@Alistair

Very interesting. I had no idea forcing a dogeza apology is a crime, but apparently it is. And there have even been a number of high profile stories in the press of people being arrested for that crime.

According to at least one news source, flower shop owner Muto was placed under arrest on two criminal charges, causing injury and forcing the victim to take the dogeza position (傷害と[土下座]強要の両容疑で逮捕された).

Another interesting tidbit, the Japanese drama Hanzawa Naoki featured a scene (scenes?) of a forced dogeza apology which has apparently led to an increase in the number of real life cases of people demanding that sort of apology in recent years.

Here is the dogeza scene from Hanzawa Naoki: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW_yiFRUC_c

9 ( +8 / -0 )

man this "dogeza" thing.... you can live years in Japan and still be unable to understand certain parts of the culture. The japanese can call me from "gaijin" to anything but I would never kneel on the ground and bow touching my head to the floor, this is too humiliating for a human being.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Thanks for the info Sensato.

I hope this doesn't flourish in popular culture, like the 'kabe-don'.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

One of the store clerks never says thank you to me after making a purchase. He just hands me the change then walks away.

Same thing here DaDude, sometimes this happens to me too on different occasions, at first I thought it was one of those attempts to single the gaijin out but later I realized those clerks do the same thing to every customer. In these occasions I just think back of my home country where not smiling is a norm and 2 secs later I'm pretty fine.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Another oyaji bully!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This guy must attack a lot of people.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Alistair Very interesting. I had no idea forcing a dogeza apology is a crime, but apparently it is. And there have even been a number of high profile stories in the press of people being arrested for that crime.

Forcing someone to assume any position would likely be illegal in nearly any country as it falls under coercion, manhandling etc. I'm quite sure the crime in this incident is the assault itself though.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"he didn’t smile enough while serving him." better than a grimace you can get in KL

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The japanese take high quality Customer Service waaay--- too serious. It's really ridiculous

-5 ( +0 / -6 )

It's usually the other way around.

The store clerk smiles and talks to a customer who just places his goods at the check out counter, pays and walks out without saying a word, or maybe just a terse grunt.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

pays and walks out without saying a word, or maybe just a terse grunt.

When I was in Japan, I would nod a little and say ありがとう before leaving.

The clerks must thought I was a little off.

But then in the U.S., I would always thank the convenience store clerk for serving me. I thought it is just good manners.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Some flower shops (not many, but some) actually do have organized crime connections, this guy may be one of them. Not sure if it is still common but I remember reading a few years back about how they would commit extortion by forcing business owners to rent floral arrangements at inflated prices from Yakuza affiliated flower shops.

Hope a few years in prison makes him more sympathetic to the plight of people working for minimum wage at 5AM serving customers like himself.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

AsianGaijin: I do the same thing in Japan but I think the employee recognizes that I really am thanking them and I believe they appreciate it, even if they are a bit surprised sometimes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Many of the people working the tills in the shops I frequent are people I know personally via clubs, PTA, allotments, dog-walking, generally being a member of the community I live in. Saying thank you (and possibly passing the time of day, if there isn't a queue) is the natural thing to do. I say thank you to people I don't know, too. Why wouldn't you? if people think I'm a bit off, they don't show it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I always give a 'domo' or an 'arigato' at the combini. You can't make someone else be polite, but you can make yourself be polite, even if it's not appreciated as such by the recipient.

6 ( +8 / -3 )

You can't make someone else be polite...

I know of a florist who would disagree with you on that point.

7 ( +7 / -1 )

Reminds me of a friend who worked the cash register at a supermarket--one old lady chewed her out for not smiling enough, so the next day she made sure to smile...until another old lady said "what're you grinning about?? You look like an idiot!" Can't please everyone!

7 ( +6 / -0 )

in tokyo conveni these days you are lucky if a person speaks japanese or english at the very least.... smile is not even a consideration

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Olympics committee should give this guy a job to make sure everyone is all smiley before the tourists and cameras arrive

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd like to see one of the florist's customers berate him for having a poor attitude while he's prostrate before her...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"At the time of the incident, there were no other employees or customers in the store."

Again?? Didn't we just read a RocketNews article last month talking about the top nine ways in which Japan is the safest country in the world, with one being about how this kind of thing never happens because Japanese convenience stores ALWAYS have at least two staff present at any given time? I said it was hogwash then, and this is about the third time it's been proven in the case of a crime since, not to mention that number of times you can just see one person working in shops all over the place.

Anyway, 5:40 a.m. on the 3rd, which was still a holiday for most. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess he was drunk (and probably going to buy more booze to keep on going). Obviously could be wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me. I hope he lands in prison for this and notices there are not too many smiling people, and tries to hit them, too. The result should be interesting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Jeez people, get your love at home!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Muta won't be a "regular customer" much longer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Something went wrong between the two of them in early hours of January 3,2016.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When people are obliged to smile a smile means nothing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I doubt if he gives enough smile to his own customers !!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the store clerks never says thank you to me after making a purchase. He just hands me the change then walks away.

Who cares if they don't say thank you. I go there for a business transaction, I want items and pay for them, and he registers them. Would it be nice if they greeted me nicely sometimes, sure. but do I need them to do it, not really. Most of the time, I have other things on my mind and not too worried about not getting greeted by a clerk doing their job.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That this clerk went outside the store instead of calling the cops says much about his mentality Did he think he was going to get a bouquet of Pansies? A new spin on Flower-Power!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That this clerk went outside the store instead of calling the cops says much about his mentality

He's a robot. Just like all the others standing behind the conbini counters, paid to smile.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites