About the Interviewed: Yuki is a Japanese student from the University of Hokkaido, currently studying western art and culture. She’s currently participating in an American homestay at a friend’s house in Southern California. Yuki is ethnically Japanese, and she’s said that her family has lived in Japan for a long time. She’s about 21 years old.
為さねば成らぬ何事も Nasaneba naranu nanigoto mo
成らぬは人の為さぬなりけり” Naranu wa hito no nasanunarikeri
This was a cool proverb that my subject, Yuki, shared with me. Transliterated, it means something like:
If you try, you may succeed.
If you don’t try, you will not succeed. This is true for all things.
Not succeeding is the result of not trying.
She told me that she didn’t come up with it, but rather that it was a proverb from the Edo period of Japan. She said that her parents repeated it to her a lot.
One thing I found striking about this proverb, was how it embodies a drive for success that addresses a fractures ego. Someone who tells themselves they cannot, according to the verse, will not succeed. It takes an open mind and a strong determination to find success in something, at least that’s what I get from it.