Keizoku wa chikara nari
Persevering becomes power

We've all felt like giving up. Life is just full of obstacles that just seem too hard to overcome. However, if we just give up, nothing will come of our efforts. If we keep trying, at least there is a chance that we will succeed. Even if we don't succeed, just the effort alone will make us stronger than we were before. Exercising our will is like exercising a muscle; the more we push it the stronger it becomes. The stronger our will is, the more likely we are to succeed the next time. Therefore, it is important to keep persevering and not give up at whatever we are doing.

The Japanese saying, keizoku wa chikara nari means, “persevering becomes power.” This power can either be the result of the success we had or the stronger willpower that we develop by pushing through our obstacles. This saying can be compared to the English sayings, “Adversity builds character” or the more recent, “What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.”

For many of us here in Hawaii, our forefathers came from Japan and other countries to work on the sugar plantations. They faced uncertainties and hardships that we cannot even imagine. They came to an unknown land where they didn't speak the language and often married complete strangers. They endured back-breaking labor in the hot sun for very little pay and lived with very little. Yet, they persevered in order to make a better life for themselves and for their children. We have what we have because of them. And yet, our generation tends to complain about every little thing and give up when things get tough. We need to strive to be like the older generation. Keizoku wa chikara nari desu ne.

Usage note: Most Japanese sayings can be turned into complete sentences just by adding “desu” to the end. To add emphasis, add “desu yo”. To ask for agreements (think, “yeah,” “right,” “you know”), add “desu ne”.


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