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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Guest Glenn asked:

I am trying to find a indepth answer for the term 'GIRI'. I basically know the meaning but I am looking to go even further. Please supoprt me with any information that you think you could help my situation.
Sorry for the late reply. It is indeed difficult to translate and explain all possible meanings of the term "giri". That's why I am resorting to an excellent resource book on Japan: Louis Frテゥdテゥric's "Le Japon - Dictionnaire et Civilisation" (テ嬰itions Robert Laffont, Paris 1996).

Giri: Imperious duties or social obligations that have to be fulfilled or accomplished in order to hold an honourable position in Japanese society, in certain situations and at given times; duties that have to be accomplished first towards society in general, but also towards superiors, family and, last but not least, towards a person her/himself. In doing so, a person "keeps her/his face", especially when someone has to compensate for professional mistakes or render a service for services received, by strictly adhering to a particular social behaviour. In old Japanese society, warriors were obliged to adhere to giri in its strictest sense by even sacrificing their own life for their master who nourished and protected them. From her/his birth a Japanese is (or were) subjected to various kinds of giri: duties towards the "nation" (Japan) and the emperor, towards her/his parents, her/his nurse, teachers and everyone else she/he is owing something to. Furthermore, as soon as a Japanese enters professional life, she/he has to obey to various other giri related to his profession. Giri are considered to be "burdens".

Hope that explanation helped a bit to clarify the concept of giri. We are looking forward to further enlightenment as well.
Guest Jeremy Eaton replied:

I believe it has to do with duty and honor. Your "Giri" is your responsibility to your family, company, boss etc.
I may be wrong.

Dear Japan forum,
I am just wondering whether there is any correlation between that japanese meaning of Giri and the surname 'Giri' in my Language, that is Nepali? Can you please help?
Welcome Giri!
Actually, I have no idea. But since I'm interested in languages I tried to look it up. Not very successful, though. What I found:
Nepalese giri (mountain?) seems to be from Sanskrit, hence if there is a relation, it should be a looong way back in time.

Maybe somebody else can provide more & better info.
I have a novel called Giri by Marc Olden, and according to the book, "Giri" in Japanese means "obligation, loyalty, and duty." So it appears the answers provided above are correct. :)
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