Japanese Proverb for Perseverance

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican-American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Gardena, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/17/16
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish, Japanese

Background

This informant is Mexican-American, but took a great interest in learning the language and culture of Japan when she began high school. Since then, she has visited Japan and founded a college club where she meets with and helps support Japanese exchange students studying in America.

Context

The informant described to me the first time she heard this proverb. She was struggling in one of her classes and a friend of hers from Japan (who she often texts to practice Japanese) texted it to her in the hopes that it would inspire her to continue persevering through the course. The informant said the Japanese phrase to me, while I was stressing about a grade on an assignment and explained what it meant.

Text

七転び八起き

Nanakorobi yaoki

Fall seven times, stand up eight

Thoughts

This proverb was clearly meaningful to the informant. I think, in part, it’s because it represents her connection with Japan, as well as her relationship with her friend. Furthermore, the phrase seemed to come into her life at a time where she needed to hear it, and therefore, it stuck with her enough for her to pass it on to other people, even those who do not speak Japanese.