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The omoiyari concept
Meaning
It is impossible to translate Japanese omoiyari into English with one word or phrase. Omoi in omoiyari means consideration for others, while yari is the noun form of the verb yaru, which means sending something to others (Kazuya Hara, 2006 Intercultural communications studies). In English, concepts that describe omoiyari include a way of thinking about and a way of acting towards oneself and others.

A way of thinking
Omoiyari can be regarded as a form of social intelligence. It is a conscious choice to examine other’s perspectives without judgment. Differences are accepted and appreciated without labeling them as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. This implies that one also has to be aware of one’s own perspective as only one possible way, and not as ‘true’ or ‘false’.

A way of acting
Acting with omoiyari is neither me-focused (self-centered), nor you-focused (altruistic); acting with omoiyari is based on a we-focus (interdependence).
When acting with omoiyari, we learn and grow by tapping into someone else’s perspective, being appreciative towards others and their ideas. With awareness of our own strengths and limitations, and appreciation for those of others, we can achieve positive change by adopting other’s perspectives without adapting.




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