Gyaku gire, a great Japanese word you should know

Often, when I’m trying to explain things to people, I end up trying to translate Japanese words that just don’t exist in English. One that came up in conversation today is gyaku gire. It’s when you get mad at someone for a legitimate reason — say they broke a promise, or breached your trust, or forgot to do something they promised to do — and they in turn get mad at you for bringing up the fact that they did something wrong. The other person’s anger is unjustified, irrational, and often of a greater degree than your own. Gyaku gire a technique often employed by those who are overly defensive or have anger problems, but I think we have all encountered it at some point in our lives. I remember in school, if two kids got in a fight a third party would often say “Hey, don’t do gyaku gire!” and that would shut the person who is doing gyaku gire up because they realize they’ve exposed a weakness. Try using it sometime!

6 thoughts on “Gyaku gire, a great Japanese word you should know

  1. British English has not one but *two* words that would, in everyday usage, be very close to this definition. “Shirty” and “stroppy.” I don’t think either mean anything to American English speakers, though.

  2. this is EXACTLY the word I’ve always wanted to express … So many English words expressed by 2 simple Japanese words