Social obligations (giri), and human feelings (ninjō). Giri refers to the obligation to act according to the dictates of society in relation to other persons. It applies, however, only to particular persons with whom one has certain social relations and is therefore a particular rather than a universal norm. Ninjō broadly refers to universal human feelings of love, affection, pity, sympathy, sorrow, and the like, which one "naturally" feels toward others, as in relations between parent and child or between lovers. Giri implies a moral force that compels members of society to engage in socially expected reciprocal activities even when their natural inclination (ninjō) may be to do otherwise. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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