What does dogeza mean in Japanese


Dogeza, (Japanese 土 下座 'sitting on the floor') is part of Japanese etiquette, in which you kneel directly on the floor and bend your upper body forward towards the floor until your head touches the floor with your hands stretched sideways on the floor .[1][2][3] It is used as a sign of submission to a person of higher status, as a deep apology, or as an expression of a desire for a special favor from the person concerned.

The word is used in Japanese politics as dogeza gaikō (土 下座 外交) used, which can be roughly translated as "Kowtow diplomacy" or "Kowtow foreign policy".[4][5][6] In general, Dogeza can be translated as prostration or kowtowing.

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The importance of the Dogeza

In Japanese social consciousness, sitting on the floor and performing these movements (dogeza) is an unusual form of honor that is only used when someone deviates from the usual behavior. It is viewed as part of etiquette and is infused with a sense of regret at being a burden on the other. By doing Dogeza and apologizing to the other person, they will usually have a tendency to forgive.


In the Gishiwajinden (魏志 倭人 伝), the oldest Chinese record of encounters with the Japanese, it is mentioned that if commoners in Yamatai met nobles along the streets, they would prostrate themselves on the spot and clap their hands as if in prayer (柏 手, kashiwade), and that this would be considered an ancient Japanese custom.

Haniwa of the Kofun period can also be seen performing the Dogeza.

Up until modern times it was normal for commoners to do the Dogeza when asked by people of higher rank.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Kōtarō Takamura, Hiroaki Sato: A Brief History of Imbecility. Poetry and Prose of Takamura Kōtarō. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1992, ISBN 0-8248-1456-8, p. 253 (books.google.com - Reading sample, no preview of the page).
  2. ↑ Oliver Leaman: Friendship East and West. Philosophical Perspectives. Curzon Press, Richmond 1996, ISBN 0-7007-0358-6, p. 74 (books.google.com). 
  3. ↑ American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ed.): The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan - Jānaru. ACCJ, 2006, p. 54 (books.google.com - Snippet view only).
  4. ^ Hugo Dobson: Japan and United Nations peacekeeping. New pressures, new responses. Routledge / Curzon, London / New York 2003, ISBN 0-415-26384-0, p. 20.
  5. ↑ Edward A. Olsen: U.S. – Japan Strategic Reciprocity: A Neo-Internationalist View (= Hoover Press publication. Volume 307). Hoover Press, Stanford, Ca 1985, ISBN 0-8179-8071-7, p. 109 (books.google.com - Reading sample, no preview of the page).
  6. ↑ Reinhard Drifte: Japan’s Security Relations with China since 1989. From Balancing to Bandwagoning? Taylor & Francis, 2002, ISBN 0-203-98654-7, p. 7 (books.google.com - Reading sample, no preview of the page).

Categories:Posture | Culture (Japan) | gesture

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