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Japanese Words: Mutual Benefit

This phrase came up in Japanese class last week:

戦略的互恵関係 (senryakuteki gokei kankei)
strategically mutually beneficial relationship

互恵 was new to me, and it sure seems like a handy word to have in the toolbox.

Surprisingly, goo has a definition for the whole phrase:

安全保障・外交・経済・環境・エネルギーなどさまざまな分野で共通の利益を目ざそうとする二国間関係。

Trying to explain the meaning of this phrase in my own stumbling Japanese led naturally to a whole set of nouns that use the “help” kanji 助:

  • 互助 (gojo) - mutual help
  • 共助 (kyoujo) - mutual help
  • 自助 (jijo) - self help
  • 補助 (hojo) - other help (aid)

There you have it. A little help in every conceivable direction (except maybe receiving help without reciprocating?). Nothing too surprising here if you know the kanji (which is precisely why you should!).

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