Dogeza - Asking Forgiveness in the Japanese Way

WRITTEN BY

Learn Japanese with Anime, click to learn more!

Do you know the traditional and formal way that Japanese people use to apologize and forgive? In this article we will talk about the most polite, humble and formal way of apologizing in Japanese, called sweetness.

Dogeza [土下座] is an element of traditional Japanese etiquette that involves kneeling directly on the floor and bending down to prostrate yourself while touching your head on the floor. The word literally means to sit on the floor.

O sweetness it is used to show deference to a person of superior status, as a profound apology or to express the person's desire for favor.

Dogeza – pedindo perdão da maneira japonesa

When do the Japanese use Dogeza?

In Japanese social consciousness, the act of sitting on the floor and prostrating yourself is an unusual deference used only when someone deviates widely from daily behavior. Usually we ask for forgiveness only curving.

O sweetness it is used in extreme cases, when, for example, a politician commits a robbery and apologizes in public. It is a complete bow, a total bow so traditional that few use it today.

Say, a person has committed a crime and wants to seek forgiveness. Perform a sweetness it does not mean simply asking for forgiveness, it is a way to beg for it, to stoop, to be totally ashamed. 

Dogeza – pedindo perdão da maneira japonesa

The Dogeza story

One of the first records of sweetness can be found in a famous ancient Chinese record of meeting the Japanese called gishiwajinden [魏志倭人伝] believed to be an ancient Japanese custom.

It was mentioned that the commoners of the ancient Yamataikoku, upon meeting nobles along the road, fell prostrate on the spot, clapping their hands as if in prayer. Hanni from the Kofun period can also be seen prostrating in sweetness.

At the beginning of the modern period, popularly as the procession of daimyō, it is believed that it was mandatory for the commoners present to perform dogeza, but this is incorrect. It was normal for ordinary people to perform kindness in modern times when they were interviewed by superiors.

Even now, as a method of self-protection and apology in which image damage is neglected, your idea of being ashamed remains firmly rooted.