“Rights” & 「権利」

Had one of those odd moments the other day as I was otherwise mundanely eating some pizza for lunch at Wegmans.  Was sitting in the area set aside for eating and surrounded by others doing likewise and the general conversation was an indistinct buzz.

But for some reason, the ears perked up when out of a discussion 2 women nearby were having, one said the "They have the right to this".

Now for a second, I wondered why that word, 'right' popped out so clearly from the general din and  then it dawned on me that this is a very particular word  in comparing culture/society  here (the U.S.) and Japan.  In the 20 some odd years I was there, I think I could count on one hand the number of times I heard 「権利」 in the course of a discussion, debate, argument.  Perhaps 「権利」is sociologically conceptually  not directly translatable as 'rights" but still….

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One Response to “Rights” & 「権利」

  1. Waterbaby says:

    I think of that point often actually in this country where everything is now a "right."

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