2017 | Tom 2 | 102-118
Article title

Mea Culpa Phenomenon: Comparative Study of Apologies in the Japanese, American and Hungarian Media

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In the Japanese media, individuals and corporate executives bow in front of the cameras tearfully asking for forgiveness for their misconduct. Compared to media apologies in the Europe and the United States, it is clear that the Japanese are following strict formal rules, including even the length and the degree of the bow during the apology, while Western apologies are diverse. The comparative case-study of this study shows not only the uniqueness of Japanese apologies but structural differences in apologies between cultures based on the understanding of responsibility.
Physical description
  • Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary
  • Mel Gibson (a popular American actor) was arrested for drunk driving on July 28, 2006. While he sat in the police car he said to the officer, "You are a Jew, and Jews are responsible for all the wars on the world.” This anti-Semitic expressions hurt many people’s feelings. Gibson gave a special interview to GMA Exclusive and talked about his feelings on that day. (accessed 15.04.2017)
  • András Stohl is a popular entertainer in Hungary. He was also an actor and was working as an announcer on many TV programs. In 2010, a couple of people were injured in a car accident where Stohl was driving drunk. He lost more than half of his media and theater work shortly after the accident. The trial judgment announced him guilty and he entered the prison for five months. The special interview was taken about his feelings before entering prison. (accessed 06.03.2016)
  • “丸刈りでおわび!?ニッポンの”謝罪” NHKG 週刊FU.KA.YO.MI.”:21:02
  • Kusanagi Tsuyoshi is a member of the Japanese idol group SMAP. In 2010, he got drunk and stripped naked in a Tokyo park and behaved unacceptably until the police arrested him. Immediately after the incident he lost many of his work for a while, advertisements featuring him were suspended, and he was forced remain in his apartment for five weeks as punishment. After the five week isolation, he apologized again in a live show and returned to show business. Itaya, "Kusanagi Tsuyoshi return SMAP SPECIAL LIVE."2009.06.01. FUJI TV.
  • Bill Clinton was the President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 and began a relationship with Monica Lewinsky who worked at the White House as an intern in 1995-96. Lewinsky talked to her colleagues about the affair, and the story was recorded on tape. The scandal was released in January 1998, Clinton refused comment. However, on August 17, 1998 he apologized to the U.S. public. (accessed 22.02.2016)
  • Nakagawa Yuko is a politician of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. A tabloid magazine reported the details and published a photo, that in 2015 February she kissed a married colleague. Nakagawa hospitalized herself for two weeks after the scandal and later made a public apology in the Parliament. (accessed 02.11.2016)
  • (access 20.05.2017)
  • Kellerman, Barbara. “When Should a Leader Apologize—and When Not?” Harvard Business Review, 2006. (accessed 10.12.2016)
  • Tavuchis, Nicolas. Mea Culpa: A Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation. Stanford University press,1991. p6.
  • On December 2, 2012, a concrete board (1.7 tons) suddenly felt down in a highway tunnel about 1,700 meters from the exit Otsuki-shi Yamanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture. Three cars were crushed and nine people were killed. The Sasago Tunnel was managed and operated by Nakanihonkousoku Ltd. (NEXCO). (accessed 16.10.1017)
  • On October 4, 2010, at a aluminum factory located in Ajka City, northwest of Hungary, the wall of the waste accumulation dam broke, red mud of 800,000 cubic meters flowed out, destroying the surrounding villages, and killing 10 people. MAL Co., Ltd. managed and operated the aluminum factory.source:TV2 Tenyek 2010.10.08.
  • On April 6, 2015, a cancer patient was taken off from Alaska Airline’s plane flying from Honolulu to San José. Alaska Airlines said it was in order to protect the passengers’ health, because there is no possibility for emergency landing from Hawaii to the continent, so they decided not to take this passenger. Finally, the company apologized. Source:KTLA5 News (accessed on 09.05.2015)
  • KTLA5 News (accessed on 09.05.2015)
  • On April 12, 2015, JR East had a problem that the overhead pillar between Kanda and Akihabara stations in the Yamanote line collapsed, and the train was stopped. On the 12th, train service delays affected about 400,000 people. On April 12, JR East issued an apology comment and also held a press conference and apologized.Fuji TV NEWS 04.13.2015.
  • Kellerman, When Should a Leader Apologize—and When Not?
  • In America, Toyota caused a recall problem three times. In 2009, the floor mat and the accelerator pedal caused problem, and in 2010 a problem of accelerator pedal occurred again. Also in 2010 due to the problem of anti-lock brake system a recall has happened. It is recorded that 37 people died together due to the three problems. Toyota recalled 9 million cars as a whole and also apologized. (access 27.02.2017)
  • 10:07 (access 28.10.2017)
  • In July 2014 it developed that McDonalds was using chicken from China, and in December 2014 a plastic part was found in McDonald's sundae. Because of the many troubles two apology conferences were held, one was in December 2014, the second one on Feb. 5. 2015.
  • Ito, Masami. “Apologizing in Japan: Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” The Japan Times Online, February 21, 2015. (access 13.05.2016)
  • Ito, Apologizing in Japan
  • “丸刈りでおわび!?ニッポンの”謝罪” NHKG 週刊FU.KA.YO.MI.”
  • Emese Kovacs: 社会的機能としてのメディア「謝罪」The social function of media apologies Musashi University, doctoral thesis, 2016. p.108.
  • Kovacs: 社会的機能としてのメディア「謝罪」The social function of media apologies p109.
  • Harry C. Triandis: Individualism collectivism, westview Press, 1995. p78.
  • Takie Sugiyama Lebra: Japanese Patterns of Behaviour, University of hawaii Press, 1976. p36.
  • Kellerman, When Should a Leader Apologize—and When Not?
  • 00:15 (accessed 18.09.2017)
  • Tavuchis, Nicolas. Mea Culpa: A Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation p 5-6.
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