Dogeza – the Japanese way to say ‘sorry’

Japanese culture is fascinating for many westerners. It is so different from our western culture that it attracts our attention. But we shouldn’t forget that it’s all very enchanting when viewed from an outside perspective.

Truly living in Japan could be very difficult for many westerners, if not unbearable, as we saw in the novel “Fear and Trembling” by Amélie Nothomb.


The main character in the book is Amélie – a young Belgian woman who spent the first five years of her life in Japan. Later in life she signs a one-year contract with the prestigious Japanese company Yumimoto. As Amélie tries to fulfill her dream of working in a Japanese company and becoming part of Japanese culture, she experiences many culture shocks that show us just how different Japanese culture really is from the West.


One interesting custom in Japan is the “Dogeza. Dogeza is an element of Japanese manners of kneeling directly on the ground and bowing to prostrate oneself as touching one’s head to the floor.

It is used to show respect to the most highly revered upper-class person as a deep apology and to express the desire for a favor from said person. Although mostly used in the past, the idea of Dogeza is still part of Japanese culture. Young generations influenced by western culture try make their own sense of this traditional custom in creative ways:

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