Recently, I decided to translate one of the topics, and had a hard time finding the book online. Then I discovered that it's been updated, republished, and renamed to now be Qu'est-ce que c'est? フランス人が日本人によく聞く100の質問 [100 questions French people often ask Japanese people]. I chose the topic of "giri" since that is unique to Japan, thus has to be explained to people in other countries. The original article is here and the translation is below. Since this is written for Japanese people, there is an introduction in Japanese, and then the questions and answers are in French and Japanese.
It is rather difficult to explain giri, a unique Japanese way of thinking. Like ninjo, wabi, and sabi, it's a word that expresses Japanese logic and a sense of beauty. It will be easier to explain if a concrete example is given for this word.
Q: Giri is often talked about. What is it?
It could be said that it's an intrinsic part of the moral society of Japan, the principles of behavior. If someone does a favor for you, you have an obligation to return it. This takes priority over ninjo, personal feelings and affections. Literature from the Edo period often showed the psychological conflict between giri and ninjo and the suicides that resulted.
Q: Has giri always been part of the Japanese psyche?
Not like in feudal times. But even today, many Japanese people respect the concept of giri. For example, someone can't break off a long-term business relationship with a client, even if there are other clients who seem more advantageous. Also, it's important to give gifts at certain times of the year, such as chugen or seibo to people who have helped us. Giri in modern Japanese society could be considered a cultural restraint rather than an expression of appreciation from the heart.
Post a Comment