Cultural Misunderstandings in Space Brothers

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The high point of Episode 5 of Space Brothers is Hibito’s appearance on an American talk show. The American host gives a short statement introducing the famous Japanese astronaut. Hibito walks on-stage and they shake hands. Then the host puts his hands in the gasshou position and bows.

This symbolizes veneration and is normally used for praying, not greeting.

Hibito hesitates for only a moment, then returns the bow.

I suppose this can be taken as a reminder to the show’s youthful target audience of how one should behave if a well-meaning foreigner misinterprets Japanese culture.

Then we get a sort of reverse misunderstanding. Remember, everyone is supposed to be speaking English here. The host starts addressing Hibito as “Mr. Hibito.”

Really how hard is it to understand that English speakers don’t use honorifics with first names? (At least, not between adults.)

This is actually a pretty common mistake in anime, though it usually takes the form of foreigners calling each other “first-name-san” when supposedly speaking English.