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坚持不懈的艺术:忍之于日本

更新时间:2019/4/18 22:24:45 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The art of perseverance: How gaman defined Japan
坚持不懈的艺术:忍之于日本

The work day in Tokyo generally starts with a ride through the world’s busiest subway system. About 20 million people take the train in Japan’s capital every day.

在日本首都东京,工作日通常是从乘坐世界上最繁忙的地铁开始,每天约有2000万人乘坐地铁上下班。

It’s a stressful process as harried commuters rush in all directions. On the platform, everyone shuffles into tight formation beside the train doors to avoid obstructing disembarking passengers, then rushes in, albeit in crowd-enforced slow motion.

通勤乘客不断从四面八方涌来,交通压力很大。月台上,人们一个贴一个地站在列车门两边排队候车,给下车的乘客让出中间通道,然后纷纷涌入车厢,其实是被队伍慢慢挤进去的。

Those who squeeze on board find movement is near impossible; feet sometimes don’t touch the ground. And yet, even in these packed trains, resigned silence reigns.

好不容易挤进车厢也几乎动弹不得,有时候脚都不能着地。但即便挤成这样,车厢中依然很安静。

Calm and orderly behaviour tends to be characteristic of even the biggest crowds in Japan. Visitors from abroad are often surprised by people’s willingness to wait patiently for transport, brand launches and, for example, aid and assistance after the devastating Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, which occurred eight years ago last week.

在日本,即使最拥挤的时候大家也都平静有序。外国游客常常惊讶于日本人的耐心,不论是等候交通工具、品牌发布、以及灾后救援,例如福岛毁灭性的地震和海啸,到现在已经八年了。

But considerable effort goes into maintaining this outward order: in Japan, this effort is known as ‘gaman’.

不过,日本人为了维持这种外表看来井然有序的局面也付出了相当大的努力,日语里将这种精神称之为“忍耐”。

Persevering in tough times

在苦难中坚持不懈

Simply put, it’s the idea that individuals should show patience and perseverance when facing unexpected or difficult situations, and by doing so maintain harmonious social ties. The concept implies a degree of self-restraint: you put the brakes on your feelings to avoid confrontation. It’s an expected duty and seen as a sign of maturity.

简而言之,忍是指人在面对意外或困难时要有耐心和毅力,以此来维系社会和谐。这意味着一定程度的自我克制:为了避免冲突而收敛自己的感情。这是你应该做的,也是一个人成熟的标志。

David Slater, professor of anthropology and director of the Institute of Comparative Culture at Tokyo’s Sophia University, describes gaman as a set of strategies to deal with events outside our control. “Individuals develop within themselves an ability to persevere and tolerate things that are unexpected or bad, difficult to get through,” he says.

东京索菲亚大学(Sophia University)比较文化研究所的所长兼人类学教授斯莱特(David Slater)指出,忍是一套处理不可控事件的策略。他说,“人们在内心修炼一种能力,在面对意外、不幸或者挑战时也能继续坚持和忍耐。”

At the root of it, explains Noriko Odagiri, a professor of clinical psychology at Tokyo International University, is the fact that Japanese people value not saying too much and suppressing negative feelings toward others.

东京国际大学的临床心理学教授小田法子(Noriko Odagiri)解释说,忍的根源在于日本人看重少言寡语,不过多向他人宣泄负面情绪。

Training begins early; children learn by parental example. Patience and perseverance are also part of education, starting in primary school. “Especially for women, we are educated to gaman as much as possible,” says Odagiri.

日本人对忍的培养从很早就开始了,父母会给孩子们树立榜样,从小学就开始灌输耐心和毅力。小田法子说,“作为女性,我们更是被教育要尽最大努力去忍。”

Gaman can manifest over the long-term, like staying in an unpleasant job or tolerating an annoying colleague, or short-term, like ignoring a noisy passenger or an elderly queue-jumper.

忍可以指一时也可以指一世,长期的忍耐包括从事一份不如意的工作或者容忍一个讨厌的同事,而一时之忍可能是纵容嘈杂的乘客或者年纪大的人插队。

Yoshie Takabayashi, 33, was a silversmith in Tokyo before she got married, moved to Kanazawa and had children. Asked about when she uses gaman, she flags up her post-baby life and the fact that she can no longer do some of the things she used to enjoy. She also recalls a bully at work who she had to flatter to get vital training, avoid trouble and keep her job.

33岁的高林吉枝(Yoshie Takabayashi)原本在东京做银匠,婚后搬到了金泽并生了小孩。关于忍,她说有了孩子之后有些喜欢的事情再也不能做了。还提到在职场曾经不得不去讨好一位欺负人的同事才得到重要的培训机会,避免麻烦并保住工作。

“When I look back on that time, my boss didn’t even do anything to help. I should have quit. But my parents, and everyone around me who had also just started working, kept encouraging me to be a success. I didn’t realise how much gaman I’d put in,” she says.

她说,“回想那段时间,我的老板完全无动于衷。我应该辞职,但是父母,以及我身边那些也刚刚步入职场的人都不断鼓励我要事业有成。当时我并没有意识到自己忍了多少。”

‘Beautify the gaman’

“忍被美化了”

Gaman originated in Buddhist teachings about bettering oneself before gradually being shaped into a perseverance mechanism for individuals navigating membership of social groups. It was honed during Japan’s post-war economic boom when work took on the status of nation-building – meaning sacrificing time with family for long hours in the office.

忍原出自于佛教教义,教导人要不断提升自我来养成坚持的品格,从而成为各个社会团体中的一份子。日本人在战后经济复苏时期将忍发挥到了极致,因为当时的工作已经上升到国家建设的地位,意味着牺牲与家人的相处时间坚守在工作岗位。

Some see gaman-style perseverance as Japan’s defining feature. “It’s the representative characteristic of Japanese people, but it has good and bad points,” says Nobuo Komiya, a criminologist at Rissho University in Tokyo.

有人认为忍是日本最大的特色。东京立正大学(Rissho University)的犯罪学家小宫伸夫(Nobuo Komiya)说,“忍是日本人的代表特征,但它有好也有坏。”

Komiya believes the mutual surveillance, self-monitoring and public expectations associated with gaman are a contributory factor in Japan’s low crime rate. Where people watch out for each other and avoid conflict, everyone is more careful about their actions.

他认为,忍所形成的相互监督、自我约束以及公众期望共同造就了日本的低犯罪率。如果大家都小心谨慎避免冲突,那每个人都会对自己的行为更加谨慎。

But it’s not only about group dynamics. “It’s important to remember gaman benefits the individual,” says Komiya. “It means they don’t get fired from work or can gain from continuing relations with people around them.”

忍不仅对集体有好处。小宫伸夫指出,“忍也有利于个人,能让你保住工作,与周围人保持长久的关系并从中获益。”

But gaman imposes pressure on the individual. “We beautify the gaman,” says Odagiri. Many people in Japan expect others to guess how they feel, rather than express themselves directly, and sometimes the pressure can mount.

但是,忍对个人而言是一种压力。小田法子认为“忍被美化了” 。许多日本人都指望别人去猜测他们的感受,而不直接表达自己,有时会积累很大压力。

“Too much gaman has a negative impact on our mental health,” she says. “Sometimes when people hold too much negativity, the gaman can convert into psychosomatic disease.”

她指出,“忍得太多会对我们的心理健康产生负面影响,积累太多负面情绪可能会引发身体和心理疾病。”

Asking for help with mental health is often seen as failure, says Odagiri. People are expected to manage by themselves. But sometimes this doesn’t work and leads to angry explosions, which can result in domestic or workplace violence.

她还说,寻求心理健康方面的帮助往往被视为是你的失败,大家觉得应该自我管理。但有时自我管理不起作用就会怒火大爆发,可能导致家庭暴力或工作场所暴力。

Gaman can also leave women trapped in unhappy marriages. “Our society expects women to be humble or quiet. So sometimes women try not to express negative feelings, just gaman,” says Odagiri. And when they decide to divorce, many find they can’t because they’ve sidelined their careers for families and are no longer financially independent.

忍还会导致女性无法走出不幸婚姻的泥潭。小田法子说,“日本社会要求女性谦卑或是说静默。因此女性有时会尽力不表达自己的负面情绪,一忍再忍。但当她们决定离婚时却发现离不得,因为已经为了家庭放弃了自己的事业,失去了经济独立。”

Komiya links recent increases in reporting of sexual harassment and bullying to the breakdown of social structures prioritising the group over the personal. “Japanese people say gaman is a national virtue, but really it was a means to stay in the group,” he says. Now people feel less likely to be excluded if they speak up.

日本集体先于个人的社会结构正在瓦解,小宫伸夫认为,近期有关性骚扰和欺凌行为的报导逐渐增多与此有关。他说,“日本人认为忍是一种民族美德,但实际上它不过是个人留在集体中的一种方法。”现在人们觉得就算站出来说话,也不太会被排挤。

Why gaman in the gig economy?

零工经济时代为什么要忍?

And society is indeed changing. Thirty years ago, employment in Japan was for life. Traditionally, men worked long hours earning seniority in the company where they spent their whole career, while women were typically placed in non-promotion track jobs in preparation for leaving to raise children.

社会确实正在变化。30年前,日本的合约都是终身制。过去,男性的整个职业生涯都在同一家公司,通过长时间工作来换取资历,而女性通常被安排在没有晋升空间的岗位上,想着她们会离职去抚养孩子。

But today the lifetime employment system is breaking down, people are marrying later, more women are working and the birthrate is at its lowest level in history. Many young people work on temporary contracts or in part-time jobs where gaman counts for nothing.

但如今,终身雇佣制正在瓦解,结婚时间推迟,职业女性更多,出生率也处于历史最低水平。许多年轻人签的都是短期合同或从事兼职工作,忍也就无关轻重了。

“They’re not looking at you as an intrinsic member of the group. You’re hired and fired, you have a contract, you’re paid by the hour,” says Slater. “The whole idea of gaman-ing here is completely maladaptive. You’ll keep your job by shutting up, but all the taught values of gaman that make sense for coherent and enduring social relationships no longer make sense.”

斯莱特说,“公司并不认为你本来就是其中一员。你被雇用也会被解雇,有份合同,薪酬按小时计。忍在这种情况下根本没用。忍而不言能保住工作,但对和谐持久社会关系的那一派说辞就毫无意义了。

And some young people are choosing not to gaman, shunning the paths taken by previous generations. Mami Matsunaga, 39, worked in fashion media before swapping Tokyo for the beach. She now surfs every day and teaches mindfulness, breathing and yoga at retreats and workshops around Japan.

有些年轻人选择不再去忍,不再像前几代人那样。39岁的松永真美(Mami Matsunaga)从事时尚媒体工作,从东京搬到了海边。她现在每天冲浪,在日本各地的疗养院和工作坊教授专注力、气息和瑜伽。

“In Japanese culture, the expectation for gaman puts pressure on everyone to do the same and leaves little room for difference,” says Matsunaga. Asked if she ever persevered at work, she answers: “Nope, I didn’t. I soon left the job if anything like that needed to happen.”

她说,”日本文化中的忍要求人人行为一致,很难展现你的与众不同。“当被问及在工作中是否忍过,她回答说,”没有,从来没有。如果遇到这种情况我会立马辞职。“

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