Shoganai is far from the only expression that sums up a culture in ten words or less. Take a look at how cultures from around the world define themselves in my latest article.
Shoganai (しょうがない), Japan
“It can’t be helped.” Japan is for the most part a very non-confrontational culture. Shoganai epitomizes this tendency because by encouraging people not to complain or try to “fight the power”.
Circumstances can’t be changed, so why get angry or try to avoid the unavoidable?
It’s too hot and you have walk 10 km to the nearest train station? Your boss asks you to work an extra four hours that evening?
Just accept it and move on: shoganai.