Japanese Apologies vs. Foreign Apologies
Several weeks back, during the height of the Ebizo scandal, FTV asked a few foreign residents of Japan to comment on Ichikawa Ebizo’s public apology and generalize about the kind of public apologies that usually take place in their home countries:
- A Belgian says that Japanese always do apologies like that, bowing their heads and acting like they’re sorry. She doesn’t really put much value in such apologies. She says that public apologies in “the West” follow a different pattern: whereas Japanese start with the apology, Westerners start with an explanation and end with an apology.
- An American also doesn’t trust those kind of apologies. She says she thinks the Ebizo apology was him saying whatever he needed to say in order to maintain his image.
- Another American says he’s confused about who exactly Ebizo was apologizing to. Offering his opinion on public apologies in America, he says that it’s more often for people to say “no comment” instead of apologizing. Also, if a business apologizes to customers, it is an admission of blame that could have legal consequences.
- A German says that Europeans have too much pride to get down and bow like the Japanese do in their public apologies.
- Tiger Woods’ public apology for his extramarital affairs are shown as an example of how offering too many excuses could cause people in “the West” to not take an apology seriously.
- A South Korean says that his country has public apologies that are similar to those in Japan, but the apologizers are expected to shed tears of regret.