In a piece published Jan. 19, I discussed the concept of やり抜く力 (yarinuku chikara), which is the power of perseverance. It’s equally important, though, to recognize 諦める力 (akirameru chikara), which is the power in giving up.

Think of the verb 諦める (akirameru, to give up) and it might bring to mind negative images such as quitting a job before it’s done, abandoning a challenge or letting go of your dreams. In Japanese, numerous words can express this idea, such as the verb やめる (yameru, to stop), or compound verbs like 放り出す (hōridasu, to throw out/abandon), 投げ出す (nagedasu, to throw away), 見捨てる (misuteru, to abandon) and 捨て去る (sutesaru, to discard).

Advanced-level expressions (I'm looking at you, N1 test-takers) include 挫折する (zasetsu suru, to be frustrated), 棄権する (kiken suru, to forfeit), 中断する (chūdan suru, to interrupt/suspend), 断念する (dannen suru, to renounce) and 観念する (kannen suru, to give up).