THE HEART OF KANJI: 100 percent effort

Hyaku pa-sento no doryoku. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

百 (hyaku) means “hundred,” which indicates the shape of a nose. You can breathe in and out of your nose 100 or more times.

努 (doo or tsutomu) means “effort.”

女 (onna) means “woman,” which represents the sitting form of a woman.

又 (mata) means “the crotch” and 力 (chikara or ryoku) means “power,” which shows the form or muscle of an arm. When a woman goes into labor and has her baby, she uses an incredible amount of power. This is more than a 100 percent effort. That’s real effort.

As you know, America is one of the richest countries in the world. And American people have a strong belief in the concept of independence. We are living in a country that allows much freedom. Yes, we are very fortunate, and yet, at the same time, we often see people struggling to have good and harmonious relationships: parents and their children, wife and husband, employer and employees, teacher and students, etc. How can we improve upon our relationships and maintain harmonious relationships with each other?

I created 10 rules for a harmonious relationship after making many mistakes in my life, where I did the opposite. These rules are for couples getting married, but they will be useful for any relationship.

I’ll share the first rule: Try to put a 100 percent effort into all aspects of your relationship.

Many people believe and say that both people should put out a 50/50 effort and take similar responsibility in all aspects of their relationships. This sounds logical and makes sense, but it does not work. Our 100 percent efforts should be unconditional and not conditional.

A long time ago, our child had trouble at preschool. A teacher called my wife and asked us both to come to school. The teacher encouraged us to go to see a counselor. I did not want to see the counselor because I’m a counselor and my pride was hurt. But I decided to see the counselor anyway. They told me that, “relationships in this country are 50/50 or half and half. As you are the husband, you should support your family at least 50 percent.”

I went home and while I was praying, a message came to me saying, “It is not 50/50. You must give 100 percent effort in every aspect in your family life.” Though it was a big challenge for me, I began giving my 100 percent effort in all aspects in my family life. Then I suddenly became at ease in my heart because I had no one else to blame anymore. And all my relationships became much better than before.

Rev. Masato Kawahatsu is a minister at the Konko Church of San Francisco and Konko Center of South San Francisco, who teaches shodo (Japanese calligraphy). He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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