About Sony execs bowing at their press conference

I don't know much about Japanese culture, but I know that bowing is a pretty big deal and a sign of respect or something like that, so when Hirai and the others bowed for seven seconds I'm assuming that was a pretty big deal and something that's probably lost on a lot of people who aren't familiar.

I know Giant Bomb has a few people who are a lot more experienced with Japanese culture than I am, so am I correct in assuming that the bowing is a pretty big apology coming from the executives of a fuckhuge corporation like Sony?

Figured I would make it a blog post so people could ignore it if they wanted.

29 Comments
30 Comments
Posted by benjaebe

I don't know much about Japanese culture, but I know that bowing is a pretty big deal and a sign of respect or something like that, so when Hirai and the others bowed for seven seconds I'm assuming that was a pretty big deal and something that's probably lost on a lot of people who aren't familiar.

I know Giant Bomb has a few people who are a lot more experienced with Japanese culture than I am, so am I correct in assuming that the bowing is a pretty big apology coming from the executives of a fuckhuge corporation like Sony?

Figured I would make it a blog post so people could ignore it if they wanted.

Posted by KarlPilkington

I wouldn't call it an apology, just a greeting.

Posted by thehexeditor

In the parallel universe where Sony is an American company:

Cowboy hats are tipped forward. The executives light cigars and blow smoke all over the audience. They then stand up, brandishing their assault rifles and shotguns, and say, "Let's go get them fuckin' hackers, YEE HAWW" The whole place explodes in excitement and the guns are fired at the ceiling.

Posted by zombie2011

I doubt anyone really cares about them bowing. 


Tony Hayward said he was sorry tons of times but everyone knew he didn't give a fuck, same goes for Sony execs.
Posted by YetiAntics
@zombie2011 said:
" I doubt anyone really cares about them bowing. 

Tony Hayward said he was sorry tons of times but everyone knew he didn't give a fuck, same goes for Sony execs.
"
Thats cus Tony Hayward was in charge in the biggest screw up. 
Sony just had their systems hacked, Tony Hayward had a GLOBAL CATASTROPHY to deal with.

It's like a ant bite (Sony) compared to a snake bite (BP).
Posted by Video_Game_King
@PantyshotMQN:

No, they're pretty comparable. After all, there's tons of evidence to suggest that they should've seen this coming (storing personal information as plain text, shitloads of safety violations, even when under more lenient regulations due to a flag they hung on the rig, etc.).
Posted by zombie2011
@PantyshotMQN said:
" @zombie2011 said:
" I doubt anyone really cares about them bowing. 

Tony Hayward said he was sorry tons of times but everyone knew he didn't give a fuck, same goes for Sony execs.
"
Thats cus Tony Hayward was in charge in the biggest screw up. 
Sony just had their systems hacked, Tony Hayward had a GLOBAL CATASTROPHY to deal with.

It's like a ant bite (Sony) compared to a snake bite (BP).
"
What are you talking about? 

All i said is every-time Execs of large companies apologize everyone knows that they are full of shit and are only doing it for PR.
Posted by Punk1984
@benjaebe:  Yes bowing in this manner is huge show of guilt and apology also grave humility
Posted by RE_Player1

Kaz bowed during the NGP announcement conference too. It's a Japenese culture thing.

Posted by MAN_FLANNEL

Smug bastards were probably just smelling their own farts...

Posted by JJOR64

From Wikipedia:

 

Bows are a required and expected part of any apology or expression of thanks in East Asia, especially Japan, Korea, and Taiwan .

Bows of apology tend to be deeper and last longer than other types of bow. They occur with frequency during the apology, generally at about 45 degrees with the head lowered and lasting for at least the count of three, sometimes longer. The depth, frequency and duration of the bow increases with the sincerity of the apology and the severity of the offense. Bows of thanks follow the same pattern.

Bows of apology are frequently performed at press conferences by high-ranking members of a company that has performed some misdeed, such as producing faulty parts that resulted in a death. These bows are almost invariably performed standing behind a table; the tips of the fingers touch the table while the upper body, held straight, is lowered from the waist until the face is parallel with the tabletop.


Posted by StaticFalconar
@Chabbs0 said:
" I wouldn't call it an apology, just a greeting. "
no, its not just a greeting but a sign of humility. Even if the bow is equiv to a handshake a regular handshake don't last no 7 seconds. Perhaps now, they realize they should have been spending more money on hiring more programmers instead of lawyers. 
Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

didnt watch it but if they were bowing for 7 seconds i would say they were expressing how sorry they were through a bow.  can kaz hirai speak japanese?

Edited by dagas

It's a thing you do. Sort of like how Americans say "hows it going?" as a greeting and they don't actually care how it is going.
I've seen plenty of Japanese politicians and CEO's even cry while bowing and act like they are ready to commit suicide over their guilt (which actually has happened. I know at least as late as the 80's there was a politician who commited good old fashioned Seppuku with a sword and all). It's from the time when a samurai who failed would take his own life.

So I wouldn't take bowing seven times very seriously. They even have a name for it but I have forgotten it. A name for saying and acting the way you are expected to even though everyone know you are only acting.
Posted by Jimbo

Seppuku or GTFO.

Posted by Xsheps

Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that.

Edited by Pepsiman
@the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG said:

" didnt watch it but if they were bowing for 7 seconds i would say they were expressing how sorry they were through a bow.  can kaz hirai speak japanese? "

Kaz Hirai is billingual. His name is natively Japanese, too, although Kaz an English abbreviation for Kazuo, I believe. Anyway!

@JJOR64 said:

" From Wikipedia:

 

Bows are a required and expected part of any apology or expression of thanks in East Asia, especially Japan, Korea, and Taiwan .

Bows of apology tend to be deeper and last longer than other types of bow. They occur with frequency during the apology, generally at about 45 degrees with the head lowered and lasting for at least the count of three, sometimes longer. The depth, frequency and duration of the bow increases with the sincerity of the apology and the severity of the offense. Bows of thanks follow the same pattern.

Bows of apology are frequently performed at press conferences by high-ranking members of a company that has performed some misdeed, such as producing faulty parts that resulted in a death. These bows are almost invariably performed standing behind a table; the tips of the fingers touch the table while the upper body, held straight, is lowered from the waist until the face is parallel with the tabletop.


"

I'm glad I don't have to provide the explanation, since this covers everything I would have said. I will say in their defense, however, that it's not as though that bow is made as a "we're sorry so please forgive us because we bowed so deeply and for so long." They know full well that Sony has quite a bit of egg on its face and their bowing is a recognition of that fact. It won't mean much to non-Japanese speaking audiences, but you don't make the sort of bows that they did unless you actually mean it and are willing to back it up with repenting action. Short of outright prostrating themselves, it's about as serious of an apology they can make before they go on and try to continue rectifying the situation. Had they not done so, it would have been a pretty serious PR gaffe with their Japanese audience.

There are a lot of nuances in those bows, as the Wikipedia excerpt points out. They're hardly used in Japan as just as greeting and even then, there's always a lot more to it.
Posted by Gabriel
@xsheps said:
" Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that. "
Derp der der derp. 
Posted by GetEveryone
@xsheps said:
" Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that. "
Way to dive in head first, bro.
Posted by yakov456
@xsheps
Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that.
I don't think that was the question at hand...

The depth and length of the bow is what shows the intention. They were way down there for a good 5 seconds. So in case you are not familiar, it's the equivalent of getting on your knees and begging forgiveness.
Posted by benjaebe
@Pepsiman: @JJOR64: Thanks guys, that pretty much covers everything I was wondering.
Posted by Yanngc33

If my credit card has been hacked, they're gonna have to do more than bowing...


But I think it's part of the culture
Posted by MikkaQ

Bow or not, I don't really care about the cultural implication. I just want the guarantee that the credit info is safe. Or not. Honestly, I just want a definitive answer. 

Posted by N7
@XII_Sniper:  If that's what you're waiting for, I don't know if you'll ever get your answer. It was really hard to tell because of that flustered translator last night, but they said that with everything else that the person accessed, the person left a trace to it, whereas the credit card info left no trace at all.

So, they can't really say the person did or did not access the information, just that there was no trace leading there, and that there has been no evidence nor reports of stolen credit cards.
Posted by MikkaQ
@N7: Well if they're leaving a trace everywhere but the credit cards, and nothing's been reported stolen so far... that's about as definitive as I need. I don't think I'll be panic-cancelling my credit card, I'll just wait and see. And watch my credit statements like a hawk. 
Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG
@Gabriel said:

" @xsheps said:

" Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that. "

Derp der der derp.  "

Posted by N7
@XII_Sniper:  Personally, I wouldn't chance it. I've been spearheading this whole "They probably aren't stolen" thing, but I would rather be safe than sorry.
Posted by RandomInternetUser

You know... I read through half of the first page thinking you guys were talking about "bowling" and I now that I see it is bowing that they did, it makes a LOT more sense that that is something to show a sign of apology/regret/etc.

Posted by Napalm
@GetEveryone said:
" @xsheps said:
" Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that. "
Way to dive in head first, bro. "
...in an empty pool while smacking the bottom. *audible sigh*
Posted by GetEveryone
@xobballox said:
" You know... I read through half of the first page thinking you guys were talking about "bowling" and I now that I see it is bowing that they did, it makes a LOT more sense that that is something to show a sign of apology/regret/etc. "
"In an effort to put their customers at ease, Sony execs yesterday took to the stage and bowled for 7 minutes. Hirai San came out top, but was quick to pat his fellow apologists on the back. I may have apologised the hardest, but rest assured ALL of us at Sony will be bowling hard for the next few weeks."

@Napalm said:
" @GetEveryone said:
" @xsheps said:
" Sony lost my trust.  In my mind Microsoft won the console wars by default, and a bow isn't going to change that. "
Way to dive in head first, bro. "
...in an empty pool while smacking the bottom. *audible sigh* "
Indee'.