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Anime and Manga
- In the Gravitation manga, Shuichi spends several hours in this position outside Yuki's front door, only to discover Yuki isn't even home.
- Many, many Duelists adopt this pose after being defeated in a duel in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- Common way for non-combatants to express their frustration at being unable to join the battle in Dragon Ball.
- Tien does this during the original series episode "Tien's Atonement," begging a man he had previously brutally injured for forgiveness and even offering to let him take revenge on him if he wants. The man forgives him and gives him the Dragon Ball.
- "orz" in lowercase appears in the title of Mai-Otome episode 6, referring to the pose. It even made it to the English dub title ("Nina Entangled...orz").
- Excel takes this pose while being lectured by the Great Will of the Macrocosm in the first episode of Excel Saga.
- Tamaki and Haruhi in Ouran High School Hostclub do this often.
- In Ranma ½, Genma Saotome tries to pass this off as a martial arts technique: "The Crouch of the Wild Tiger." It is surprisingly effective.
- And when he's forced to admit that he can no longer defeat his son, Ranma, in combat, he performs the "Carp on the Chopping Board" technique (lying down on your side, hands stretched and joined over your head, feet extended and crossed over one another.) It shocks Ranma to the core when he sees this, as it is a pose that acknowledges absolute defeat and submission.
- Later on, when Ranma catches a supernatural cold that makes him freeze the very air around him, he kneels and bows deeply before Akane. When she notices he's been in that position for a long time, he replies that he has frozen himself to the floor.
- Finally, near the end of the manga, Shampoo has Akane at her mercy, and Ranma's hands and feet are bound (the former, by a crystalline substance he can't break; the latter, by a ball-and-chain that Shampoo snapped around his ankles.) She forces him to yield to her, on the threat of killing Akane if he doesn't. He goes down on the supplicant position, bowing his head... and uses the momentum to lift his feet off the floor, and swing the ball-and-chain at Shampoo.
- Principal Uchiyamida does this to his insurance company whenever his Cresta gets destroyed in Great Teacher Onizuka.
- In Eyeshield 21, Panther becomes convinced (thanks to his friend Watt, a self-proclaimed but usually-mistaken expert on Japanese culture) that dogeza involves dangling from one foot with your arms and legs outstretched. When he gets to Japan, Sena has to show him how it's really done. Later, Panther tries to use dogeza to convince Apollo to let him play for the NASA Aliens, but Apollo doesn't relent until the rest of the team does dogeza as well. In a later episode, the American character Big Bear is shown doing the same posture as Panther initially thought a dogeza was.
- The Eyeshield 21 case may be a Shout-Out to a famous scene in Captain Tsubasa, where the arrogant Hyuga goes into the pose of supplication in front of his ultra strict Toho coach, begging him to let him play in the finals after having disobeyed his orders and being benched as a result. When the coach refuses, the whole team imitates Hyuga to support him. After a last test to see Hyuga's ability and how serious he is, the coach allows Hyuga to come back.
- In the manga and old anime series, Hyuga's mentor and the person who unwittingly caused his fall of grace arrives from Okinawa right before the finals... and goes into the pose too in front of Hyuga's actual coach, explaining his part in the whole mess and apologizing for the troubles Hyuga and the team went through. He refuses to get up until the other coach assures him Hyuga will play.
- In Get Backers, Shido does this to Ban, who has always been a bitter rival, to convince him to help save the kidnapped Madoka; Ban initially brusquely refuses, and other characters are astonished ("Don't you know how hard that must have been for him?").
- The Prince of Tennis:
- After having a nasty fight with Tezuka over his place in the Senbatsu that even included Tezuka losing his temper and slapping him in public, Ryoma has to go into the pose of supplication to apologize and beg Tezuka to let him get in the Senbatsu team.
- When Ryo Shishido finishes his self-appointed Trainingfrom Hell, he goes into this pose in from of Atobe and the Coach Sakaki to ask them to return to the regulars team. When Sakaki refuses, Shishido cuts his until-then long hair to prove that he's serious and Atobe intercedes for him.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke does this after his fight with Toguro during the Dark Tournament arc when he believes that his friend Kuwabara has been killed.
- Kido does this after the heroes clear all his and his friends' trials in the early Chapter Black arc, after revealing that Genkai told them to do it.
- Used several times in Pani Poni Dash!. Not just the pose, but it sometimes actually has the letters orz or OTL or STO clearly visible.◊
- Yukari and Ryo spend nearly two hours straight in the Pose of Supplication in order to save both of their jobs in Penguin Revolution.
- The extreme gambling manga Kaiji features a rather cruel and nightmarish version of this when the Big Bad demands that his henchman Tonegawa show just how sorry he is for failing him... by bowing on an iron plate heated by burning coals.
- In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney manga "Turnabout Illusions", client Ian Knottworthy does this at the drop of a hat.
- In the 'lost' Mobile Suit Gundam episode, the Gundam itself goes down on all fours, which makes Amuro complain that it makes it 'look like a dog'.
- Satirized from a cultural insider's perspective by Ramenz in The Japanese Tradition: Dogeza. It also featured and satirized in an extreme in The Japanese Tradition: Shazai ("Let's put all our hearts into expressing our remorse!")
- Toyed with in Bleach. The ability of Izuru Kira's zanpakutou, Wabisuke, is to double the weight of whatever it strikes. As a consequence, after some blocked hits, the enemy is unable to even lift their weapons, and often go in Pose of Supplication due to said weapon's weight. Kira uses this as a chance to deliver the coup de grace, decapitating the opponent with his zanpakutou. In his words: "A warrior does NOT beg for his life"
- A straighter example happens when Chad goes to Urahara, after being easily defeated by Yammy and unable to fight against D-Roy, and asks him to train him.
- Tenma does this in School Rumble when her attempt to get Karasuma under an Umbrella of Togetherness fails.
- In Amanchu!, Hikari and Futaba do this in toward Ai, after she threatens to beat them up for using the school's diving equipment without permission.
- Lelouch does this to Suzaku in Code Geass R2. Needless to say, by that time Suzaku is so pissed off at Lelouch (and has been for quite a while) that he grinds his face into the dirt with his foot.
- The Twelve Kingdoms anime features a ruler who bans the pose of supplication from his subjects, since he's come to think of it as humiliating. Additionally, the kirin in The Twelve Kingdoms select the rulers for their realm by bowing in front of them. (They're not able to bow in front of anyone else — even if they want to, they're physically incapable of doing so. This causes lots of angst to Taiki, the Naïve Newcomer among them, since he's not sure if he'll be able to do so.)
- One of Youko's first decrees as Queen: banning the pose of supplication.
- Seen a few times in Sgt. Frog. In episode 26, Keroro imagines Natsumi doing this out of gratitude for helping so that her mom can come to the sports festival. In episode 27, Keroro himself does this when he begs Natsumi and Fuyuki to pretend they've been captured so Keroro can impress his visiting father.
- Gon does this in chapters 304 and 305 of Hunter × Hunter upon finding out that Kaito is dead.
- Minori of Toradora! does this around the beginning of the story, in a Shout-Out way to the aforementioned Captain Tsubasa scene (she even uses the same pre-scene badass pose of sternly crossing her arms, with her jacket put on her back like a cape dramatically floating in the wind!), when she, in a misunderstanding, believed Taiga and Ryuuji were an item, and begged the latter to take good care of the former.
- In Moyashimon, after Professor Itsuki samples Misato and Kawahama's home-made kuchikame sake, he's so impressed by their inquisitive spirit that he does this as he asks them to join his lab team as research assistants.
- In the Sailor Moon R movie, the four Inner Seishi go into the pose to beg Fiore to spare the life of their beloved Moon, whom he intends to torture to death.
- Fairy Tail has Natsu and Happy get into a dogeza position for Lucy as a sign of appreciation after the latter treats them to a meal. Lucy is utterly embarrassed by the gesture.
- Natsu goes in this pose again during his fight against Gildarts and admit his defeat.
- In the first episode of Demon King Daimao, Junko prostrates herself before Akuto (in combination with a convenient camera angle) after mistaking him for a thief and kicking his face in.
- In Naruto, Hiashi ends his telling Neji the truth about his father's death by entering a Pose of Supplication and asking for his forgiveness. This is especially significant because Hiashi is head of the clan and Neji is a branch house member forced to serve him, and Neji, overwhelmed, accepts his apology and tells him to raise his head. Later on, Naruto approaches the Raikage and enters this pose to beg him to spare Sasuke, but the Raikage is unimpressed, and tells him that the strong rule the ninja world and that begging for one's comrades is not friendship. Naruto then realizes that he must ultimately deal with Sasuke himself.
- Early on in the Drum Island arc of One Piece, Vivi assumes this pose after accidentally getting shot while trying to gain entry to Drum Island for Nami's medical treatment, and chastizes Luffy for losing control. Luffy apologizes and follows suit. Zoro enters this pose shortly before the timeskip, when begging Mihawk to train him.
- After Luffy defeats Doflamingo in Dressrosa, Admiral Fujitora does this before the citizens and ex-king Riku, to apologize for the World Government giving Doflamingo Ultimate Job Security with which he used to take over the country. This is considered Serious Business, as everyone sees one of The Government's strongest warriors in its primal militia begging for forgiveness.
- When Nichijou's Yuuko mistakenly buys yakisaba instead of yakisoba and nothing to go with it for Mio one lunch period, the latter starts a very heated "The Reason You Suck" Speech and goads "stupid" Yuuko to "bow deeply." By the time Yuuko has gotten really angry, she mock bows, then proceeds to formally genuflect but continues to get chewed out and it's obvious both times she's not apologetic. In the anime, Mai adds to the farce by balancing a cup of water on Yuuko's back.
- Aouta of Slam Dunk does this pose when begging his teachers to re-take an exam.
- Mitsui also does this, while telling Anzai-sensei that even after spending two years away as a delinquent, he loves basketball and wants to come back to the team.
- Aquarion EVOL takes this to the extreme by having the Humongous Mecha Aquaria use it as a FINISHING BLOW. This causes the simulation to crash.
- Minoru in AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei did this pose on stage before the audience on one occasion to demonstrate his sincerity in apologising for his lateness for a performance.
- In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Miki and then Ryohei does this in episode 14 when they apologized to Hayato for not checking close enough to find the cause of Asurada's understeer (it was caused by a dust on the lens). Kurumada does the same thing in front of Hiroyuki, Kojiro and Gen-san in a flashback after he finds out that his mistake causes his friend's car to crash.
- Shinjyo does the pose towards Katagiri in episode 32 when he apologizes to Katagiri for mistreating him and his staff.
- In episode 35, Hayato himself does this in front of Asuka and the rest of the team when he realized that it wasn't Asurada's fault for causing Ohtomo's crash.
- Medaka Box: Zenkichi does this in chapter 115 after Medaka deems him worthless.
- Medaka herself in chapter 139 after she loses to Zenkichi in the election.
- Kagerou Project: This happens a lot, particularly to Mary — who is nearly always shown doing this pose when Kuroha kills everyone and her Despair Event Horizon triggers her Painful Transformation into the Queen Snake. Konoha is also shown in this pose, cowering behind Kuroha during the Outer Science PV.
- This happens a few times in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun.
- In chapter 8, Mikoshiba does this when he loses a bet with Nozaki on whether Sakura has a case of Weakness Turns Her On.
- Mikoshiba does this again in Chapter 19. After volunteering to model for the school's art club, he looks to his figures for pose ideas. Unfortunately for him, all of his figures are of girls in feminine poses, causing him to assume this stance.
- Kashima does this in episode 3 when she thinks her (self-proclaimed) status as Hori's favourite kohai is being threatened by Nozaki. She boasts that Hori favours her because he always chases her and gives her lead roles but Sakura argues it's only because she skips club activities and her good acting calls for it — this leads to her in this stance.
- In The Seven Deadly Sins Dreyfus does this and throws his sword when he confess his crimes.
- Aito of Mangaka San To Assistant San To spends approximately 120% of the time in said pose, the girls occasionally join him.
- More than one culprit in Detective Conan has gone into the pose as soon as their crimes have been revealed.
- Wonder Woman: Hiketeia is a graphic novel dealing with the duty and ritual of supplication. As such, this pose and its meaning is dealt with heavily.
- In the Rosario + Vampire fic Here In My Arms, after receiving a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Kurumu for spurning Tsukune's Love Confession, which drove him to jump off of the cliff and become a vampire in the first place, Moka, realizing that Kurumu is completely right, does this, complete with placing her forehead on the ground, while tearfully begging her for forgiveness.
- Tangled Adventures In Arendelle has Elsa get into this pose to beg Rapunzel and Eugene for help around her kingdom on day 9 of their honeymoon. It technically doesn't count as Ain't Too Proud to Beg since Elsa is the one with more power in the situation, but this is also Elsa trying to ask for Rapunzel and Eugene to put aside their anger towards her from the last few days. Elsa's just overwhelmed and guilty about her life situation, and she wants a break from the two. That said, it also shows some good development seeing the girl who use to push everyone away actually get down on her hands and knees to ask for help.
Films — Animated
- The Lion King:
- A lot of the animals do this in the beginning of the film, at Simba's presentation.
- Pumbaa does a quadruped version of this, bending his front legs and bowing his head, after the revelation that Simba's the king. And then he screws up trying to say 'grovel' at your feet' and says 'gravel' instead.
- The "Prince Ali" song in Disney's Aladdin directly refers to this: "Genuflect/Show some respect/Down on one knee". And when Jafar becomes Sorcerer Jafar, one of the first things he does is magically make the Sultan and Princess Jasmine genuflect.
Films — Live-Action
- John Preston in Equilibrium, after Mary O'Brien is executed.
- Pose taken by Leonidas in 300, gathering his strength before the final battle (and simultaneously duping King Xerxes into thinking that he was surrendering).
- A repeated scene in Wayne's World and its sequel has Wayne and Garth kowtowing as they chant, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy! We're scum!" before one of their Heavy-Metal gods; Alice Cooper in the first, Aerosmith in the second.
- In Mister Roberts, the ship's crew, upon noticing that someone has uprooted their tyrannical captain's prized palm tree and thrown it overboard, do this in front of the now-empty planter in an act of mockery.
- After marrying into the family, Songlian of Raise the Red Lantern is instructed to kowtow to the shine of the Chen ancestors; it's implied that she does not. Those important family customs she disregards will come back to haunt her later.
- When Dr. Manhattan is working for the government in Vietnam, there is a scene where some Viet Cong surrender to him personally in this pose.
- Nite Owl adopts this pose when Rorschach is burst into flesh and blood by Dr. Manhattan near the end.
- In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar adopts this pose before his human father. An Alpha Ape later adopts it before Caesar, who happens to be using Gunboat Diplomacy at the time.
- One of the nuns in The Song of Bernadette does this after calling out Bernadette because she believed that suffering was required to meet God, and didn't believe Bernadette had. But when Bernadette revealed the tuberculosis tumor on her leg, the other nun ran into the chapel and fell down in this pose to pray for forgiveness (as is common for nuns in Real Life, see that section below.)
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, one of the three tests to be worthy to reach the Grail is being a penitent man, who kneels before God. (Conveniently putting one's head below the huge buzzsaw blade that lops off the head of those not worthy.)
- Older Than Feudalism: In Greek epics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, the gods themselves will occasionally fall to their knees before Zeus and clasp his legs to beg mercy or favors.
- Supplication is common in the heroic society of the Homeric epics (and, probably, the warrior societies of Dark Age Greece they were composed for), not just among the gods. Most famously in book 7 of the Odyssey, Odysseus supplicates Queen Arete of the Phaeacians in order to plead for aid in getting home to Ithaca. Homeric supplication does not involve pressing one's head against the floor, but rather kneeling and grasping the knees of the one supplicated, and symbolically touching their chin with the hand. The symbolism of this is as an appeal that the one supplicated does not walk away or speak until the request is made. As a position of weakness and vulnerability it is very much a last resort for a heroic character, damaging to his heroic reputation (kleos) and thus not undertaken at all lightly. Given the significant degree of body contact involved in the Homeric hug-the-knees version, it could sometimes cause problems. In Odyssey 6 Odysseus ponders supplicating Arete's teenage daughter, Nausicaa, for aid, but decides not to as he is naked and filthy and the act may be mistaken as one of (perhaps sexual) aggression (so he resorts to purely verbal pleas and elaborate praise for her from a distance instead).
- On the subject of Greeks, Xenophon's Anabasis records that, during the debate of the Ten Thousand (the Greek mercenaries, one of whom was Xenophon himself) after trying to overthrow the Shah in favor of his younger brother (only to have said younger brother killed in the battle, resulting in the murder of their leaders at a Persian banquet), consensus was that the Ten Thousand were screwed. A single mercenary sneezed. All of the others immediately prostrated themselves—the Greeks considered a sneeze a sign from the gods—and decided right then and there to elect new officers and fight their way, if need be, all the way back to Greece.
- Mary Renault's The Persian Boy describes serious controversy over this practice as (historically) espoused by Alexander the Great. He's just conquered Persia and become Great King, so the Persians naturally accord him this respect. The Greeks and especially the Macedonians deplore it as "groveling." Alex wants all the people to adopt it to emphasize equality.
- In The Thrawn Trilogy, some of the Noghri do this to the daughter of their savior; one genuflects when he realizes who she is, others do so at the end of Dark Force Rising after she's proved to them that their debt has been more than paid. Afterwards they tend to limit themselves to bowing and sometimes kneeling.
- Parodied in the Discworld novel Interesting Times where incompetent, cowardly, wizard Rincewind muses that not only does it symbolise submission, but also provides quite a good launching pose to break into a sprint from if the person you are doing it for doesn't accept your submission.
- Nanny Ogg has a different take in Lords and Ladies. She's of the opinion the route to a happy life is to 'Stand before your God, Bow before your King and Kneel before your Man.'
- In the sequels to Ender's Game, the nobles of Chinese-esque planet Path are taught so strictly to honor their elders that the sight of her father touching his forehead to the ground for her horrifies Qing-jao.
- Subverted in Animorphs, where Marco and Cassie are captured by the Helmacrons, who order then to grovel before them. Being general morons, however, they fall for it when Marco says that Earthlings grovel differently than other races, and proceeds to lounge on the ground while pretending to beg for his life.
- Parodied in The Tamuli, by David Eddings: this is the traditional way to greet the Tamul emperor, but only because one of his less-than-bright ancestors mistook an inebriated minister's drunken bumbling for a show of respect.
- In the short story "Assumption" (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel, the primitive people of an unexplored world—a literal Cargo Cult—make this gesture before the object of their worship. The narrator is incredulous, and makes an explicit comparison to jungle tribes in old movies.
- Yamani guardsmen bow like this in a flashback in First Test, the first Protector of the Small after Ilane of Mindelan saves the god's swords from Scanran pirates. Keladry also bows to the Yamani princess this way when they meet years later in Tortall, because Yaman is basically Japan.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Voth demand this from others as their due, particularly when bestowing their benevolence. As the eldest race in the Delta Quadrant (or at least they assume so), they consider themselves its rightful rulers. In a story from Star Trek: Myriad Universes, when agreeing to spare Fluidic Space from destruction their condition is that the Species 8472 representative bow before them and pledge his loyalty to the Voth Council.
- In the Dresden Files, Lasciel does this in Harry's mind when Harry agrees to work with her.
- In Galaxy of Fear, people who are experiencing their worst fear cringe and kneel at best, or this at worst.
Luke Skywalker was on his hands and knees. He seemed to be fighting hard against something. He whispered over and over again: "Ben! Ben!"
- Pretty much once a chapter in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. When the author wants to tell you that it's really serious this time, a character will knock their head on the ground until they bleed.
Live Action TV
- In Lexx, officers deliver reports to His Divine Shadow from this position.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Captain Kirk does this a lot.
- One of Quark's employees in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does this in front of Liquidator Brunt when he realizes they've been caught forming a union/worker's guild.
- On The Office, Dwight surreptitiously tries to unseat Michael and take his place — when Michael angrily tells Dwight he's on to him, Dwight goes into a terrified fit of dog-like submission and drops to the floor as if waiting to be beheaded.
- Merlin: In "Lancelot du Laq", Gwen falls to her knees when brought before Arthur after being caught kissing Lancelot. Arthur orders everyone out, then insists Gwen stand up.
- Tom Lehrer's "The Vatican Rag" has a lot of this, especially in the refrain.
- In the musical The King and I, the titular king bans the pose of supplication from his subjects, since he's come to think of it as humiliating.
- In Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents, if you fail a stage, you often see the person you were trying to help do this pose on the Game Over screen.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora takes this pose before Saix when begging him to bring him to Kairi. Saix refuses contemptuously, and pays for it later — with his life.
- In the first game, Sora takes the pose in Hollow Bastion when Riku possessed by Ansem (or should we say, Xehanort's Heartless) reveals to him that Kairi's heart had been inside of him the entire time. He's briefly incapacitated by the revelation, as well as Kairi's heart resonating within him, prompting Rikunort to attempt a deathblow (so that he can release Kairi's heart and complete the Final Keyhole), but Kairi's voice rouses Sora to action, giving him the strength to fight back. Cue boss battle.
- In the classic Mega Man series, Dr. Wily does this every time his most powerful war machine is destroyed. In the first game he seems sincere about it, but after that he usually does it to distract Mega Man so he can make his escape.
- Whoever loses the match in Street Fighter III strikes this pose in the post-match win quote screen.
- Leon in Resident Evil 4 does if Ashley is killed during gameplay, leading to a game over.
- God Hand features a free move available from the start of the game called Grovel, which resets the game's Dynamic Difficulty meter back to Level 1. The animation, of course, sees the main character begging on his knees and his forehead to the ground. Onegaishimasu!
- Silver Surfer features the pose on its Game Over screen. This was commented on in its review by The Angry Video Game Nerd, culminating in AVGN assuming the pose himself.
- James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2 does this when he finds out/remembers why Pyramid Head is after him. Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- In the older The King of Fighters games, the defeated characters would be shown in the background as the match goes on, sitting or kneeling around sadly after their losses. Their poses were different per character, but several of these were very similar to the traditional Pose of Supplication. i.e, Athena Asamiya, Benimaru Nikaido, Mai Shiranui, etc.
- The temple-guardian Mooks in Prince of Persia 2 all give up fighting and assume the Pose of Supplication after you get the Flame. Hilariously, if they're at the edge of a platform, they'll fall right into a Bottomless Pit.
- Shu, who is being targeted for recruitment as The Strategist by the player character's army in Suikoden II, asks Apple to assume the Pose of Supplication before he'll consider joining up. One sign he's at least a minor Jerk Ass is that he admonishes her for throwing away her pride so quickly, then leaves the room.
- Similarly, in Suikoden V, Raven claims he won't consider joining the Prince's forces unless Oboro begs him to do so. When Oboro complies, Raven gets incredibly upset, partly because he can't tell if he's being serious or not.
- Yangus does this when begging his old friend Red to return the horse and cart she stole from them in Dragon Quest VIII.
- The image potholed in the description comes from the doujin soft visual novel, ''OMGWTFOTL''. The option to genuflect pops up almost entirely throughout the game. Every instance leads you to the same bad end.
- Most characters in the original Samurai Shodown assume this pose when defeated... unless they were cut in half or had a major blood vessel severed by the opponent's killing blow, in which case the referees carried the remains off in a straw coffin.
- Daisy does this in Mario Tennis when her opponent(s) score a point.
- Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim does this after she's defeated. Lynette also does this on Level 3 (Leo's Place).
- After every boss in WarioWare: Smooth Moves, there's a relaxed "Let's Pose!" scene, where the music fades to some birds chirping, and you're given a silhouette to pose in, if you want. This position is one of them.
- In Donkey Kong 64, Chunky Kong does the "We're not worthy!" version of this when confronted by one of the bosses.
- Tomodachi Life loves this trope. If a Mii is on the receiving end of a Rejected Apology, a refusal to be their sweetheart, or a breakup, they drop to their knees and sulk dramatically while sad music plays.
- Played for full comedy in Chapter 7 of Code:Realize when Impey and Cardia realize that the airship race they've been refitting the group's ship for is that day and not, as they'd believed, the day after, and the work on the ship is not yet complete.
Impey: This is the ultimate form of apology, created by the finest minds in all of Asia! DO! GE! ZA!
- According to Muslim practice, one may bow, even kneel before humans, but never prostrate oneself. Only GOD gets this treatment. It's actually forbidden to touch your forehead to the ground unless it's for Him. And if you aren't practicing, not even then. Might be a problem in Japan...
- Presumably, most sane clerics would be understanding of what is considered appropriate in certain cultures.
- The Jewish religion works the same way, except that even bowing to another human is discouraged (because Jews pray standing up, and therefore bow to God rather than make full prostration).
- Karaite Jews are known to make full prostration in prayer.
- It was practice in the Jerusalem temple, but it was discontinued, since it was destroyed. Twice.
- In imperial China, the kow-tow on the ground was considered standard formal greeting to those of high rank (when you are really in the mood for grovelling, the procedure requires you to hit your forehead on the ground hard enough to make an audible noise). To greet the emperor, the subject performed 9 kow-tows, the empress received 8, and so on.
- In Russia, there are two verbs for supplication: "poklonit'sya" and "bit' chelom," which mean to bow with the knees and to beat (the ground) with your forehead, respectively. "Chelobitye" was seen as humiliating, as the Muscovite princes had to prostrate themselves before the Khan during the years of the Mongol yoke. The meaning was carried over into the "Chelobitnyy Prikaz," a Muscovite government office to which people sent complaints and petitions meant for the tsar. A letter sent to that Prikaz would begin "Vash kholop byot chelom..." (Your slave prostrates himself...)
- Full prostration before God (bowing so that one's forehead touches the ground) was and is practiced on certain special occasions by Orthodox Christians. It's particularly associated with Orthodox monks and nuns, but is not limited to them. Orthodox priests are supposed to perform one prostration while consecrating the Eucharist on Sundays. As in Islam, it is a type of extreme reverence strictly reserved for God.