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February 04, 2013

Don't commit hara-kiri.

Bowing is a sign of respect in Japan. But there’s concern brewing about it among certain demographics. The 1st are those with chronic back pain. When they try to bow, they also scream in agony. This often gets misinterpreted as, “I respect you, but the sight of you makes me want to commit hara-kiri.” The 2nd are the elderly, who are either so old they can’t bend (see 1st group) or they’re so old they’re bent over all the time. The latter situation is also problematic: younger people around them feel obligated to remain in the bowing position at all times, which makes talking with good eye contact challenging. What are solutions for these 2 groups?

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