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What does “Shikata Ga nai” mean? How does it affect the Japanese Americans' response to the internment?

Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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IVSAT 2024
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Hint: On 6th August 1945, the world’s first nuclear bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the USA.It immediately killed 80,000 people. Thousands died later due to the radiation exposure.

Complete answer: The Japanese phrase ‘Shikata Ga Nai’ means it cannot be helped. This was the attitude of Japanese Americans in response to the American internment.They had to accept the humiliation and injustice that was brought upon them.This attitude was expressed in order to accept the situation the country and its people were in and deal with it. They believed that ‘life must go on’. The Japanese Americans had to face internment and were forced to relocate to concentration camps into the western interiors in America.This order was given by US President Roosevelt.
This phrase was used after the nuclear bombings by the USA on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.There was anger which fuelled among the Japanese Americans. But they suppressed this anger using the Japanese philosophy of ‘Gaman’ which means patience or endurance. The Japanese Americans held on to the belief of Shikata Ga Nai that whatever hardships one might be going through, one should not give up. Dignity and honour should not be given up. This phrase was applied to the situation that the Japanese people had to go through during the Second World War and the internment of Japanese Americans.

Note: These Japanese principles were very important to the people in the past as well as today.Shikata Ga Nai refers to hard work in Japanese culture. This phrase was popularly used when a certain situation went beyond human control.

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