lifestyle

Tweeted photo of employees bowing in apology angers Internet users

24 Comments
By Preston Phro

We’re all human, which means we all, eventually, make a mistake or two. Some of us might make more mistakes than others, but in general it should be easy to understand that accidents happen and sometimes the best course of action is to forgive and carry on with your life. However, not everyone is happy with a simple apology – some people require a bit more…humiliation.

There are many ways for angry customers to demand satisfaction, from sending letters to corporate headquarters to leaving angry reviews online. Of course, for the more sadistic among us, you could always demand the offending staff perform "dogeza" – prostrating oneself on the ground.

While "dogeza" has long existed in Japanese culture, historically as a way to show respect or deference to the upper classes, it’s rarely seen these days, usually only when expressing very sincere apologies. It’s become so rare, in fact, that when Twitter user Manami posted the above photo, it became a bit of an Internet scandal.

According to the tweet accompanying the photo, Manami made the two women, employees of Shimamura Group, a chain clothing store, perform dogeza as penance for their poor management of some goods. Apparently, their mismanagement had caused some damage to the Twitter user, though she never explains exactly what the damage or problem was. While a number of Internet users seem upset with her behavior, the biggest issue seems to be that she included the employees’ names in the tweet.

While demanding "dogeza" is certainly extreme behavior, some have speculated that tweeting photos of the employees and including their names may be a violation of privacy laws, if she didn’t have permission. And it would be difficult to imagine that the staff gave her the green light to share the humiliating photo.

Of course, many details are left blank, and Manami seems to have responded to angry tweets with a hard-line “Why are you sticking your nose in other people’s business?” It kind of makes you wonder if the Hokkaido resident really understands how the Internet works.

Here are a few of the comments prompted by the "dogeza" tweets.

-- It seems like she’s taken the phrase, “The customer is god” a little too literally. [This is Japanese phrase is similar to the English phrase, "The customer is always right."]

-- Is this how far claimants will go now? I think she’s been watching too much Naoiki Hanzawa [a banker in a popular Japanese TV show who has a notoriously sharp tongue].

-- Human garbage. For making me feel so disgusted, send me a picture of you performing dogeza!

-- What’s with this customer? She was just looking for something to make them do dogeza.

-- I wish some suitable punishment would befall her for this madness.

-- What a freak!

-- So scary!

-- Yikes! There certainly are a lot of different types of people in the world.

-- Dogeza…just how special do you think you are?

-- You can just see a child’s shoes off the side. That’s the worst.

-- I read about ten of her tweets, and just closed the window. Urgh.

As a number of other commenters pointed out, we may not have all the information here, so it may be that Manami was justified in her "dogeza" demand. But uploading the photo and naming the employees seems a bit extreme. To be honest, though, we have a hard time not grouping this in with the same sort of extreme complaining done by “monster parents.”

_Sources: Byoukan Sunday, Paruhosoku, Twitter_Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- That’s the Power of Music – It Really Does Bring Joy to the World -- Lotteria’s special September & October mondo burger promotion! -- That’s a nice mouse you have there.

© RocketNews24

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24 Comments
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Japanese can turn really nasty when they feel they're entitled to an apology, they won't stop until the other party is thoroughly humiliated. This goes especially for house wives!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I have seen this kind of entitled mentality from persons who never worked for their own money... I think JT should probably delete this photo and not propagate this haughtiness...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

BULLYING in the workplace for sure.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If this is a supervisor and she did in fact include names, it sure would seem grounds for a law suit. At least, in a civilized country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Twitter has surely become the epitome of idiotic forms of human expression, at least until the next dumb fad arrives.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This Manami sure is an arrogant, self-important b*# if she made them do this and then tweeted it. She sure must have felt soo self-important and superior. And since she didnt get the responses she was obvioulsy looking for to her tweet -she responds by saying "why are you sticking your nose in other people,s business "? Imbecile.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

.....and people say Japanese are polite? hmm

1 ( +3 / -2 )

... what is the point exactly? I'd much rather get a gift voucher or something from the company. An apology or their humiliation makes me no richer or happier. A gift voucher or free stuff however... now that's an apology. Put their money where their mouth is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Frungy - I think the person they're bowing in apology before is the employee who took and posted the photo, not customers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Shopping at Shimamura...she is hardly a high roller!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is disgusting and makes me thankful for being self employed and out of the rat race.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

MariaSep. 25, 2013 - 04:24PM JST @Frungy - I think the person they're bowing in apology before is the employee who took and posted the photo, not customers.

Re-read the article:

According to the tweet accompanying the photo, Manami made the two women, employees of Shimamura Group, a chain clothing store, perform dogeza as penance for their poor management of some goods. Apparently, their mismanagement had caused some damage to the Twitter user, though she never explains exactly what the damage or problem was.

Manami (the customer) made the women perform dogeza because they damaged her goods.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

More to the point, why is it that Japanese perform this kind of apology performance at all?

Sometimes there seems to be someone - some Japanese executives, bureaucrats or politicians - showing us the top of their head every day.

The important point thing from a Western perspective is that the mistake maker is aware of their mistake. If the mistake-maker states that they made a mistake, and seems aware that they have made a mistake, then Westerners assume that based upon that awareness, they will be less likely to make the mistake again.

However, on the other hand, I think that from a Western perspective, visual, dramatic, performances such as showing the top of ones head, bowing in front of cameras, and in the extreme bowing till ones head almost touches the ground ("dogeza"), are not important, or worse, because they do not necessarily demonstrate the awareness of the mistake, or may even stand in lieu of, and therefore facilitate avoidance of the awareness of the mistake.

There are two aspects to apology. (1) The interpersonal, communicative, performative part, and the (2) intra-personal, self-awareness, cognitive part.

Sometimes I feel (from my Western perspective) that the Japanese apology-performance is exaggerating (1) at the expense of (2).

I am making this sound too complex.

The distinction I am attempting to make is really quite simple. It is the sort of thing that one says to ones children. "Saying 'sorry, sorry, sorry', is all very well but the important thing is that you are sorry," which that you do realise what you have is done wrong and do have the intent to avoid making the same mistake again.

Having here-above criticised the Japanese culture of apology, my take is that there is a cultural difference in the medium of cognition. Westerners tend to cognise in words and perform in images, whereas Japanese tend to cognise in images and perform in words.

Thus though it may seem (to Westerners like myself) that the Japanese employees bowing their heads to the ground are putting on a performance, they may in fact be cognising. Just as linguistic statement of apology, not accompanied by bowing, may appear merely performative from a Japanese perspective, perhaps.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ Frungy- you'requite right and I am not. Cheers for pointing that out.

I honestly never imagined a customer would do that kind of thing, though I could easily imagine a crappy manager of some kind demanding it.

Crikey... What a bitch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

that is a bit sick, and teaches the children nothing that will bring them peace in their lives.

in the case of the employees- does she really think making them perform dogeza will prevent anything- by punishing someone- because at this point she has taken an apology to a point of punishment- the lesson is lost and only simmers dislike to the person who is inflicting embarrassment on them

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A netizen needs to get hold of this Manami grub's home address and post it so a few people can pay her a visit and make her perform the dogeza - and maybe a little more. What a dog!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I feel sorry for the two shop staff in this photo... no-one should be humiliated like this. It belongs in the Edo period, not the 21st century.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maria Sep. 25, 2013 - 08:43PM JST @ Frungy- you'requite right and I am not. Cheers for pointing that out.

Thank you very much for your concise and simple acknowledgement. I am in no way being insincere or sarcastic, its just that I so rarely see this simple courtesy extended on the internet that I am something of a loss in terms of how to respond to it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I also feel sorry for the two staff in the photo. Rather then doing this DOGEZA or whatever they call it. Just compensate the customers with gift card or something..and not something like this..jeez.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hopefully Twitter users trolled her enough to make her feel ashamed for what she did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why is it that Japanese perform this kind of apology performance at all? the answer is becasuse we are becoming a Sado-masochistic society! What other culture do you know of for categorizing people under 'M' Masochist or 'S' Sadist???

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Firstly the custom is part of the culture and people follow it because they value their culture. It is not the place of westerners to comment on or criticize it.

Second, that was a terribly rude and cruel thing to include their names and far beyond decent because it exposes those two poor employees whatever their fault, to shame from strangers they will never know and never have any chance to explain or gain any sympathy from. It is a blatant act of cruelty and the poster should be arrested for the act and punished severely as an example.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've seen this once in the family. My wife and mother in law were so frustrated for something my father in law did. They were right but it seems no matter he apologized they were still not happy and continued to go all over him.

After the things didn't improved he jumped on his knees and performed dogeza (sincerely).

In this moment not only me but the women were also shocked and I think they understood they went a bit too far.

No need to mention that later I bitterly scolded my wife for humiliating her father in front of me! I think the kids were already asleep.

Telling this story just to put some light on the Japanese character - agree with Dutchduck on that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@CrisGerSan: Westeners, have every single right to comment and critique, and criticize about any nation. Why? Because we all have different opinions and can say what we want and when we want. Let us not forget the one thing we all know "Freedom Of Speech"

On Topic, I would agree that their names should have not been released to public, very wrong move and I still think they shouldn't have taken a picture like this....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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