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Giri (2)

Giri, as we discussed last week, also has a very strong presence in Japanese business. If you missed last weeks feature you can click here. A basic review of giri is to serve ones superiors with a self sacrificing devotion. To a foreigner, it can been seen as irrational and against the principles of Western business, where one is intent on personal growth. The Japanese business perspective is not the pursuit of individual gain, but one of support and respect for human relationships. This leads to mutual support in the work place instead of inter office competition and mistrust of one's contemporaries. Giri does have its down side too. Organized crime, the yakuza, who are among the anti-modern and anti-rational nationalist in Japan, interpret giri to include acts of violence. This is, of course, giri taken to its furthest extreme and is not readily tolerated in Japan.

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