Shoganai is a Japanese word that literally means "there is no way of doing, it can't be helped - nothing can be done". It is interesting word, because it shows the culture of restraint in Japan - people should not complain. Indeed, complaining in Japan has been always kind of a taboo. Complaining is a sign of weakness. Relative word to shoganai is gaman, which means something like "Be patient".

Shoganai is something like c'est la vie. However, shoganai demonstrates the inability of the person to change the outside circumstances. Summer is hot and humid. Shoganai. Government workers are not friendly. Shoganai.


Wellness Consultant
I've also heard that shoganai means "being at peace with the process of growth." Would you agree?
#1 - Jeremy Faulkner - 04/23/2011 - 10:40
I think you're mostly right about the idiomatic meaning of it. "Can't be helped." or "No way to change it." But the literal meaning is "There is no ginger."
#2 - ET - 08/18/2012 - 07:05
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Japanese Mind | See also: Ikuji, Childbearing in Japan, aimai, gambari, shoganai, mottainai , Sempai-Kohai, Lifestyle of the Japanese, Silence of the Origami, katachi, ikiru

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