The japanese salaryman : The modern times Samurai

japanese salaryman

The Japanese salaryman is an iconic symbol of Japan.

Often critized for not taking care enough of family, spending too much times in the office, in meetings, in drinking with customers, he is in fact a real hero of modern Japanese society.
If I have to remember my almost 2 decades working life in Japan, many words could express the symbolic of the Japanese salaryman: Commitment, Never give up, and on top of this: Girininjyou (義理人情) 
I was often asked what was my favorite word or expression in Japanese.
I often failed to give a straight and direct answer as I did not reflect enough on this.
I can answer now and today that it is Girininjyou 義理人情

What is Girininjyou (義理人情 ):

Girininjyou (義理人情) is based on the word 義理 (giri) which means duty or obligation and 人情 (ninjyou) which means Human empathy.
It is an unique combination, very Japanese and very human. It expresses the duty and empathy you feel to peoples who have helped you and that when the time is ripe you will help in return.

Some examples:

  1. You might for some reason stop your contract with a distributor in Japan, but you might as well give them another opportunity when you develop business in another segment.
  2. You might cancel an exhibition (trade-show) and have the sales person from the organizer not happy in front of you but you might give them another chance, for another trade-show.
  3. You might leave your company but still give some information/opportunities to them whenever you have a chance (because they treated you well and so on)
This is a post I could develop for a while.
Meanwhile, to understand the roots of this post, you can refer to:
And also the time spent for japanese salaryman drinking in (Part I and Part II)
and also japanese salaryman entertaining customers (Part I and Part II)
You can also follow me on twitter at @gaishikeimanJP
Feel free to check also City-Cost for more news about Japan.
About gaishikeiman 33 Articles
French citizen in his forties living in Japan. Almost 20 years working for foreign companies in Japan. I have an engineering background with an extensive sales experience in highly regulated industries. I am currently the representative director and managing director for an European company's subsidiary in Japan. I have seen all the lows and highs of foreign companies in Japan since late 90ties. Feel free to contact me wether you are looking for opportunities in Japan.

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