Friday 2 February 2024

義理 (Giri)

 Continuing on from my last article brief article on Japanese culture, relevant to the practice of Karate,  ‘On’, today I’ll explain 義理 ‘Giri’ (Social Obligation). Once again, I’ll begin in 日本語 (Japanese language) followed by English.

義理 (Giri)





The term ‘Giri refers to the obligation to act in relation with other people, with whom has some particular social relations. It is a duty that obliges one to observe reciprocal relations. For example, to help those who have helped us; or, to do favors, for those who’ve done favors for us.

 In feudal Japan, the obligation of Bushi (Warriors) was to serve their respective lord, even at the cost of their own lives, and repay the favor received from the lord, such as land or stipend.


Even now, in contemporary Japan, the observance of Giri is an indication of high moral worth in society; furthermore, and more importantly, to neglect Giri obligation results in the loss of trust and support of other people.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2024).

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