義理 v. 義務

kani97

New Member
spanish
Hi guys, I don't get when to use 義理 and 義務 in sentences. 義理 seems to express an obligation, something meant to be done due to a rule or a law.
義務, I think expresses the idea of doing something as a duty, just because you've a determined position or status.
 
  • SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    義務 is a "duty by law." It is the responsibility to do something by law or commitment.
    The opposite of 義務(responsibility) is 権利 (right).
    You may hear or read "権利と義務" as a set phrase.
    A lawyer may be concerned about someone's 義務 and 権利.

    義理 focuses on "duty on the ethical ground" or "moral and ethical responsibility."
    If you do me a favor, I'll have to do you a favor in reverse because of 義理.
    You may hear or read "義理と人情" (duty and sentiment) as a set phrase.

    If you make an oral promise to someone, and you don't make a written contract for it,
    you might not have the 義務 (responsibility) to keep that promise.
    The court verdict cannot make you guilty because there is no evidence that you broke the promise.
    In this context, if you keep that oral promise, you would be regarded as 義理堅い人 (someone who keeps their promise).

    Therefore, I think you're misunderstanding the difference between the two words.

    ............................................................
    By the way, 義理の父 is "father-in-law", and 義理の妹 is "sister-in-law."
    In this case, "義理の" is used as a completely different usage.
     
    Last edited:

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't get when to use 義理 and 義務 in sentences.

    SoLa has given you an excellent reply, although obviously there is much overlap between the two concepts, and depending on the exact context, the English or Spanish translation might be the same for both. That is, "duty" might work for both Japanese words, if the situation fits.

    Also note that 義理 is used adjectivally to denote something that you do only out of obligation, not necessarily voluntarily. An example is 義理チョコ, which as you may know means a reciprocal gift of chocolates to someone who gave you such a gift for Valentine's Day.
     

    kani97

    New Member
    spanish
    Thank both of you for your replies! Gave you both Thanks since it doesn't seem to be any option to close a thread so yeah, this issue could be closed with no problem.
     
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