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The Japanese saying "shikata ga nai" expresses what attitude?

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guy21 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 5, 2008 at 8:14 AM via web

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The Japanese saying "shikata ga nai" expresses what attitude?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:49 AM (Answer #1)

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The Japanese saying "shikata ga nai" expresses an attitude of resigned acceptance.  It loosely translates to "what else can we do", or "it can't be helped".  The attitude of "shikata ga nai" is deeply embedded in old Japanese culture.

During World War II, when the West Coast Japanese Americans were "relocated" to remote camps like Manzanar, there was comparatively little resistance from the victimized group itself against an order that disrupted the lives of the over 100,000 individuals.  Part of the reason was due to this cultural element which required facing and bearing up under whatever situations might occur in life without complaint.  Much of the older generation of Japanese Americans in particular responded from this ingrained perspective, dutifully leaving everything they had worked for behind, to submit with quiet dignity to the unprecedented directive issued against them.

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