Uniquely Japanese- Kodawari こだわり

Google translate translates kodawari as meaning commitment, but this simple translation certainly lacks understanding of the nuance of the word. Kodawari is an uncompromising and relentless pursuit of perfection. In craftsmanship, in skill, in creativity, in the everyday. This is an attribute you can witness in every aspect of life in Japan. One that can be observed in multi-generational businesses where each generation strives for perfection greater than the generation before. Where excellence is not rushed and quality trumps quantity every time.

I first saw this word in an excellent Netflix original Japanese drama we are currently watching called Giri/Haji (or Duty/Shame). It is a predominantly Japanese cast, set in London and is about Yakuza, the organised crime syndicate in Japan. An English Weaboo (read what that is here) gangster has named his bar Kodawari. It’s a great show that we are really enjoying and it pricked my interest…

I guess that saying every person in Japan is constantly striving for perfection is a gross generalisation and completely inaccurate. However, perfection and the pursuit of it is definitely an aspect of the culture. The uncompromising and relentless aspects are reflected in the food, the artwork, the mastery and the expertise of so many different pursuits, skills, trades and professions. It is, I believe, an honourable pursuit, and one that I find myself silently striving for in many aspects of my life. I never had a word for it until I found this one. I love the meaning and that the Japanese have a word for it.

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