The concept of Giri

By Jazmin Angel-Guzman

The concept of Giri is very interesting, because it contributes to how Japan wants to preserve as much social harmony as it can. According to Giri, the closest translation is obligation or social duty. If a person gives you a present, then you eventually become indebted to that person or owe them somehow. The balance of Giri has become unbalanced and the relationship will once again become balanced once you give a gift of equal value to the person who gave you a present in the first place. Initially, it was kind of strange to me that on Valentine’s Day girls gave boys milk or dark chocolate. In addition, there are two kinds of chocolates. There is “giri” and “true” chocolate. The “giri” chocolate is when women give men chocolate whom they’re close to due to social obligation. While the “true” chocolate is when women give men chocolate to whom they actually love. Another thing I thought was interesting is “according to one study, the same amount of money is spent on presents in Japan as Americans invest in justice.” This is interesting how gift giving is crucial in Japanese society today and how gift giving can be a cultural aspect.

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