The Power of Japanese Cultural Ethics - Part 3

John Middleton
July 10, 2023

Week 2

Ganbaru and Gaman -- (頑張る) - to give your best effort  (我慢) - perseverance, enduring. Separately they are meaningful, but together in a Japanese context they convey that to work hard, and to keep going no matter what happens, are more crucial in reaching one’s goals than innate ability or the more ambiguous “talent”. And the individual talent can be more readily recognized by the value they add to the community when a talent is in service to the greater good of the community...there is a built in accountability or hierarchy.

The concept of working hard is not just for your gain or advancement. To work hard is a way to extend or show honor to your coworkers, family and the community. The culture of congratulating individual contribution is also not overlooked but integrated and has mutually accepted rules and practices.

Hard work and persevering through trials, is taught in school and reinforced at home. Children can grow to understand and value it from an early age. If your kids enjoy Pokemon or Anime you have probably seen these themes play out through the shows and movies. Children are not talked down to but encouraged to start taking responsibility early in life. There is a popular show about preschool kids going on their first independent errands. They are also encouraged to take on chores in the home and in the community. The way the community supports and encourages these young ones is heartwarming.

John Middleton