Shouganai and Shikatanai - Japanese acceptance culture


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Have you heard of Japanese words shouganai and shikatanai? Both are profound words that have great importance in Japanese culture, in this article we will examine them in depth.

Before we talk about the depth of the words shouganai and shikatanai, let's examine the literal meaning of both Japanese words and their ideograms. Then we will comment in depth on the depth of the word in Japanese culture.

I'll leave a pinch and say that shoganai it refers to resilience, the ability to deal with problems, adapt to changes, overcome obstacles, resist pressures and adverse situations. If you want to skip the technical part of the article, just use the summary below:

The meaning of Shouganai

Shouganai [しょうがない] is a Japanese word that can be translated as “it cannot be helped” or “nothing can be done about it”. Its meaning also carries a great depth in Japanese culture.

The ideogram used in the word shouganai it is [仕様がない] where [仕] means to participate, do and serve. The ideogram [様] means form, situation, manner and style. The 2 together [仕様] means way, method, resource and remedy.

Shouganai e shikatanai - examinando significados japoneses

That is, shouganai gives the idea that there are no ways, methods, resources or solutions for the situation in question. It refers to something inevitable, there is no reason at all, nothing can be done.

Shoganai or Shouganai? - Both words are correct, the difference is only in the romanization used. The letter "u”Is an extension of the letter“O“, But if we literally transcribe hiragana the correct thing is shouganai, but it reads shoganai.

Maa, shouganai. Tsugi didn't kill him. Well, now it's over, let's wait for the next one.
Shinpai shitatte shōganai yo. I can't help worrying 
Atarashii kuruma ga hoshikute shōganai I can't wait for a new car

The meaning of Shikatanai

Shikatanai in reality it is an abbreviated version of the expression “shikata ga nai”[仕方がない], where both mean the same thing and have a similar meaning to shouganai.

One of the differences is in the ideograms used. Shikata is written with [仕方] where [仕] means to participate, do and serve. The ideogram [方] also means direction, path, shape, side, method, means;

The word shikata [仕方] means way of doing something or method. Already shikatanai [仕方ない] is a less polished version which means “there is no way to do something ”. Remembering that shikatanai is more formal than shoganai.

Shouganai e shikatanai - examinando significados japoneses

The ideogram [方] is used in several words to indicate the shape or form of something. For example, tabekata [食べ方] means how to eat or how to eat. Another example is the word oyogikata [泳ぎ方] which means way of swimming.

Basically shoganai and shikatanai are identical words, but they are different. It is as if one were a way of doing and another way of doing, both mean the same thing, but their differences are imperceptible.

Hataraku yori shikatanai We have no alternative but to work
Shitagauyori hoka shikatanai I had no choice but to obey
Kare wa shikatanai yatsu dayo This guy is impossible! 

The importance of SHOGANAI in Japanese culture

Both words are very important in Japanese culture, especially Shoganai. In addition to its common usage, the term is used to describe the Japanese's ability to stand firm and dignified in the face of tragedy or injustice.

That word can be compared to resilience. The culture of acceptance of the shoganai helps the Japanese to deal with shock, stress and traumatic situations without going into an emotional, psychological and physical outbreak.

Shoganai it involves a great culture of accepting things the way they are happening, instead of bragging and complaining like many Brazilians do on social media, without taking any action to resolve the situation. This attitude only results in anger and stress.

Shouganai e shikatanai - examinando significados japoneses

Shoganai it does not mean giving up things easily, but just accepting the impossible, if something has a solution, just run after it! In any case, the solution must be made in a modest way and not through peeves and lack of control.

Shoganai involves circumstances beyond control, can be compared to the French expression “c'est la vie ” that means so is life or the english expressionlet it be”Which means let it be.

This word was widely used in situations in World War II because of concentration camps, nuclear bomb and occupation of the American army. post-war. Not to mention the natural disasters that the Japanese suffer, but they rise soon afterwards.

The Japanese words shikatanai and shoganai fit into different situations with different meanings. This philosophical word also involves the impermanence of things, followed by acceptance.

Shouganai e shikatanai - examinando significados japoneses

The Japanese use shoganai not to mourn, but to move on. They know that some things are a waste of time (mottainai), this explains why the Japanese are not very involved in their politics.

My friend once asked a Japanese man if he was afraid of the tension with North Korea and its nuclear tests. He said, shoganai, what can I do? There is no reason for me to worry about it, better worry about taking care of my family.

The Japanese prefer to think of the present rather than the past or the future that is not even going to happen. They prefer to move on with their lives rather than lament or complain about situations.

Variations of shoganai and shikatanai

Shoganai and shikatanai are not the only ways to express that something has no solution. There are variations of the words like the one already mentioned shikata ga nai [仕方がない]. Let's see a list of words below and their meanings.

  • Shou mo nai [しょうもない];
    • It is also an adjective that means boring, stupid, superficial and useless;
  • Dou shiyou mo nai [どうしようもない];
    • There is no hope, there is nothing I can do;
  • Shaa nai [しゃあない] - Very informal;
  • Itashikata nai [致し方ない] - It is not common;
    • [致] means to do, exercise, cause, incur;
  • Shouganainaa [しょうがないなあ] - If you insist;
  • Shikatanaku [仕方なく] - helpless, reluctant, last resort;
  • Shikatanonai [仕方のない];
  • Shikatanashini [仕方なしに] - helpless, reluctant;

What did you think of the meaning of the Japanese word shoganai and shikatanai? I hope you enjoyed the article, if you did, don't forget to share and leave your comments.