JCI Metropol organised Omoiyari training for the first time in Finland in Helsinki in the beginning of May. Omoiyari is an official JCI course born in Japan, and which covers the Japanese concept and philosophy that aims for mutual understanding through examining others perspectives.

Omoiyari (おもいやり)  is a combination of two Japanese language verbs: omou (omoi) "think, take into consideration" and yaru (yari) "do an action, act (on something)". Omoiyari is not only about thinking, it is the way of acting. Any kind act done with conscious forethought is omoiyari. Sure you have had someone opening a door for you or picking up a thing that you dropped. These little things are also omoiyari. When was the last time you did something for other person without anticipating anything in return?

Having got to know a few Asian countries and especially Japan, it may be true that having more omoiyari towards others is expected and imbedded in people there. In Japan people have been living in a rather tightly knit unit of society for several centuries in the rather resource-scarce land. This has led them to learn consideration for others and mutual understanding. You can see this in little things such as in pouring drinks for others. A Japanese person will never, when in a group, pour a drink to themselves. The person next to one has failed to consider the other, if someone needs to pour their own drink.

However, omoiyari is present everywhere in the world, and everyone needs some of the qualities such as consideration, compassion and empathy for a society to be sustainable. As Dalai Lama has once said: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion and if you want to be happy, practice compassion.

I encourage everyone of you to consider your own actions: have you been considerate to your friends, spouse and co-workers? Of course it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to consider all the other people before you but to be considerate to your inner circle, as good manners are a separate thing.

Text: Noora Rissanen JCI Helsinki 
Images: Pia Pilli

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