Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kodawari (こだわり) - Pursuing Quality to the Very End

KODAWARI (こだわり/拘り) is a Japanese word which means an uncompromising attitude toward quality.

This is one of the toughest words to translate to English. It can be used in a negative context such as a situation where a person is making a fuss (alt. where a person is being obstinate) , although contemporary use is often in a positive context.

If you are at a bar in Japan and have a glass of whiskey on the rocks, you will see a perfectly sphere-shaped ice ball. The bartenders spend a lot of time for making this perfect ice ball. This is because they have certain KODAWARI in their mind. Also, Japanese waiters would never receive a tip. This is another sign of KODAWARI. I believe KODAWARI is a fundamental idea for most Japanese.

I, meanwhile, am sometimes disappointed by an American bar serving whiskey with easily soluble ice cubes made by an ice machine. Although KODAWARI may lose some productivity, it is a vital factor for customer satisfaction.

A synonym of this word is KYO-JI (きょうじ/矜持), a little bit advanced word, which simply means pride. KODAWARI can be translated to persistence, passion for quality, professionalism, or pride.