August 15, 2017
Sara Sara Nai: The Phrase That Made Party of Hope Unpopular (Part II)
In addition to Haijo Itashimasu, the phrase Sara Sara Nai is also perceived as arrogant and contributed to the unpopularity of the Party of Hope. Sara Sara Nai basically means that you don’t have any intention to do something. Nai means non existent, and Sara Sara functions to emphasize Nai. So if you say Sara Sara Nai, you really don’t have any intention to do something at all. Yuriko Koike used the phrase during the meeting with Seiji Maehara, the leader of Democratic Party, at a hotel in Tokyo in the morning of September 29th, 2017. In the meeting, the moving of members from the DP to the Party of Hope was discussed among other topics, and Koike mentioned that she does not have any intention to accept all members of the DP to the Party of Hope. In Japanese, she said “zen in ukeireru kangae wa sara sara nai.” 全員を受け入れることはさらさらない。
zen in (全員) all members, ukeireru (受け入れる）to accept.
This statement was taken as condescending among many and in combination with the phrase, Haijo Itashimasu, that she used in the briefing in the afternoon on the same day, the reputation of Yuriko Koike and her party was tarnished.
Sara means a Japanese word that means a dish, but when you say Sara Sara Nai, there is no meaning of dish. Sara Sara also means the condition of hair that is very smooth, but again when you say Sara Sara Nai, there is no meaning of this. Sara Sara Nai means negation of having an intention to to something.
The cases of Governor Yuriko Koike gives us a lesson that we need to be mindful when we use the phrase Haijo Itashimasu and Sara Sara Nai. Also her cases imply that the Japanese culture likes people to be humble.
From time mark 0: 51 to 0:54 in the youtube video titled 小池氏、民進党の全員受け入れ「さらさらない」(17/09/29), you can hear the governor Yuriko Koike say “zen in wo ukeireru toiukoto wa sara sara nai.”