どうじょう【同情】

1. sympathy, compassion
2. pity


1. sympathy, compassion

□ Japanese TV mini-series often include a misfortune, commiseration from a friend, and the main character's angry response: 同情(どうじょう)しないでよ. The meaning of 同情 seems clear, and the kanji too seem to show the idea of fellow feeling, empathy, and compassion. Why then the angry response? Is this another case of East-West confusions? Getting angry at sympathy?

◇ 私は君に心から同情します。
You have my heartfelt sympathy.


2. pity

□ A look at Japanese-English dictionaries shows translations that come under definition 1 for the noun form of 同情, and it is not until well into 同情するthat we come upon the word "pity." Thus, the unfortunate protagonist who says 同情しないでよ is actually saying, "Don't pity me!"


This entry was created by Lynette Perkins.


Created 2000-07-31.


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