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Giri and Ninjo

1 Giri

The two concepts of the Japanese traditional social rule is introduced here. 
One is Giri as a meaning of social duty, and the other is Ninjo as a meaning 
of humane feelings. 

As for a number of experts of comparative culture or more purely the 
Japanese culture such as distinguished scholars and writers all over the 
world , it is considered that it is truly difficult to translate the concepts of 
emotions and morals of the Japanese. Giri introduced here is also difficult to 
find an equivalent concept in English.

The concept of giri which as originally formed in the feudal time of the 
Japanese history is one of the most significant standards as to human 
relationships of the Japanese such as master and pupil (disciple), teacher 
and student, husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, 
friends, employers and employees, colleagues of the companies, etc.

Giri might be translated as "obligation." In case of receiving someone's 
kindness, you might feel a feeling of gratitude. Then, you would feel that you 
should return something beneficial to him or her out of the feeling of 
gratitude. It is considered that such action is taken for the sake of realizing 
the feeling of giri.



"Spirit of Harmony," Basis of Japanese Mentality

It is said that the people in Japan are not good at aggressive discussion on
business. Historically speaking, there has been a belief that "spirit of
harmony is very impotant in the society." Japan is such a small country
consisting of four major islands and many people dwell in such a limited
geographical condition. This is one of the major reasons why "harmony" is
quite important in the nation.

Also, another element (reason) can be found. In Japan, the Seventeen-
Article Constitution was established by Prince Shotoku on April 3, 604, that
is the "oldest" constitution in the world. Article 1 of the Constitution
provides that "The harmony is the most important thing."

Of course, this is not like a "civilized" or "mordernized" constitution. There
is no separation of powers and rigid frame of government under this
"primitive" constitution.

Apart from such a legal standpoint in consideration of jurisprudence, I can
tell that it is really valuable to recognize that this "spirit of harmony" is a
basis of mentality of the Japanese people. Then, the reason of question is
so clear, "why the Japanese are not skillful in logical discussion."

Consciously or unconsciously, the Japanese avoid doing "aggressive
discussion" and attempt to make "harmonious communication" all the time.
This is conspicuously recognized as a "Japanese strategy" to conduct the
business smoothly.






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