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Old 03-08-2012, 09:27 AM   #1
lars beyer
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Jante loven- The Law of Jante

In Denmark where I was born and raised, by all means a small country, we have an "unwritten law" called
"Janteloven".

Jantelovens 10 bud: / The 10 commandments of Jante.

Du skal ikke tro, du er noget. / Donīt believe you amount to anything.
Du skal ikke tro, at du er lige så meget som os. / Donīt think you are equal to us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du er klogere end os. / Donīt think you are more clever than us.
Du skal ikke bilde dig ind, at du er bedre end os. / Donīt fool yourself into believing you are better than us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du ved mere end os. / Donīt assume you know more than us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du er mere end os. / Donīt think you are more worthy than us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du dur til noget. / Donīt think you are good at anything.
Du skal ikke le ad os. / Donīt laugh at us.
Du skal ikke tro, at nogen bryder sig om dig. / Donīt think anybody cares about you.
Du skal ikke tro, at du kan lære os noget / Donīt believe you can teach us anything.

(I translated it on the fly so maybe the translation is not 100% correct..but feel free to let those words sink in for a minute..)

"Janteloven" appears in the danish writer Aksel Sandemose novel from 1933 "En flygtning krydser sit eget spor/ A refugee crosses his own path", which discusses the way people treat eachother as human beings, based on the authors personal experiences being raised in a small province town in southern Denmark.
Itīs both amusing and pretty scary in the sence it is recogniceable in everyday life allover the world I believe.

I hope itīs allright I posted this in "general" and I feel it relates to Aikido,
at least in some sence the way people sometimes communicate about Aikido or other topics.
Feel free to add any comment you like


In aiki
Lars

Last edited by lars beyer : 03-08-2012 at 09:37 AM. Reason: Making it better to read
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
Mark Freeman
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Hi Lars,

I'm not sure how I would relate the above laws to aikido, but on the first read through I found it depressing.

I know the Danes can be a bit 'dark', maybe you could tell me how you think it relates to aikido.

regards,

Mark
p.s. on a second read through, perhaps it describes Aikiweb quite accurately

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:04 AM   #3
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
p.s. on a second read through, perhaps it describes Aikiweb quite accurately
Hi Mark, Iīm glad you see it that way as well, and not just describing Danish mentality..
Cheers
Lars
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:24 AM   #4
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post

I know the Danes can be a bit 'dark', maybe you could tell me how you think it relates to aikido.
Hi again,
Itīs true it can be depressing to be a dane.. and I understand why you feel it doesnīt relate directly to Aikido.. but maybe like Nishio Sensei said (correct me if Iīm wrong) that "aikido is communication", it points towards the universal laws of human interaction and how we control eachother through communication- for better or worse..
Trust me, Denmark can be like a very small town sometimes, everybody knows what everybody is doing, and the actual implication of "Janteloven" is experienced in the way people make sure that their neighbours donīt achieve too much and donīt stick out their noses.. merely for the sake of it.
It could be likened to the way people relate to ranks in a dojo, towards other styles of aikido, other martial arts and just in general how people interact.
Regards
Lars
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:59 AM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Jante loven- The Law of Jante
I got quite a start reading that, as often when I type my name my fingers get out of sequence and I write Jante. I love my husband, my cats and aikido, but gotta say my list of laws would be a LOT different than those you posted :-)

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:08 PM   #6
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Jante loven- The Law of Jante
I got quite a start reading that, as often when I type my name my fingers get out of sequence and I write Jante. I love my husband, my cats and aikido, but gotta say my list of laws would be a LOT different than those you posted :-)
Yes, "Janteloven" is not nice..
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:17 PM   #7
phitruong
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

that's almost sounded like english. just commenting on the sounds. fascinated by the language. sorry for thread rift

Quote:
du er noget .
you are no good.

Quote:
du er lige så meget som os
you are longer measure than some of us

Quote:
du er klogere end os
you are clever than us

Quote:
du er bedre end os
.
you are better than us

Quote:
du ved mere end os
you viewed more than us

Quote:
du er mere end os
you are more than us

Quote:
du dur til noget
you do until no good

Quote:
le ad os
laugh at us

Quote:
nogen bryder sig om dig
noone prays for sign of you dude

Quote:
du kan lære os noget
you can learn us no good

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:04 PM   #8
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
that's almost sounded like english. just commenting on the sounds. fascinated by the language. sorry for thread rift
Itīs funny, somehow you remind me of Groucho Marx.. Not that I mind, because I really like Groucho Marx.. Youre not in any way related to him..? Maybe a nephew or so..?
Thanks for your reply btw.
Lars

Jantelovens 10 bud: / The 10 commandments of Jante.

Du skal ikke tro, du er noget. / Donīt believe you amount to anything.
Du skal ikke tro, at du er lige så meget som os. / Donīt think you are equal to us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du er klogere end os. / Donīt think you are more clever than us.
Du skal ikke bilde dig ind, at du er bedre end os. / Donīt fool yourself into believing you are better than us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du ved mere end os. / Donīt assume you know more than us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du er mere end os. / Donīt think you are more worthy than us.
Du skal ikke tro, at du dur til noget. / Donīt think you are good at anything.
Du skal ikke le ad os. / Donīt laugh at us.
Du skal ikke tro, at nogen bryder sig om dig. / Donīt think anybody cares about you.
Du skal ikke tro, at du kan lære os noget / Donīt believe you can teach us anything.

Last edited by lars beyer : 03-08-2012 at 04:16 PM. Reason: Want to make sure people read what I said in the beginning of this thread :)
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:53 AM   #9
Hanna B
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
"Janteloven" appears in the danish writer Aksel Sandemose novel from 1933 "En flygtning krydser sit eget spor/ A refugee crosses his own path", which discusses the way people treat eachother as human beings, based on the authors personal experiences being raised in a small province town in southern Denmark.
Danish? I thought Sandemose was Norwegian... guess both Denmark and Norway wants to claim him :-) Sandemose wrote in Norwegian, though. I never knew the place that inspired the novel was Danish, but checking I can see you are right. Through the rest of his life, it is said, Sandemose got lots of letters from all over Scandinavia saying "I know which place is the Jante you had in mind, since that's where I grew up, howcome you got in contact with this place"?

Swedes tend to think about the Jante law as typically Swedish, btw. Perhaps it is typically Scandinavian. I think it's very un-American - one of the cultural differences that makes Scandinavians sometimes find Americans prone to bragging since that's what the Jante law forbids most of all. At all cost, make sure nobody thinks you think highly of yourself, in no regard...

I wonder how the Japanese would react on the Jante law. In this respect I think we Scandinavians are closer to the Japanese than to the Americans.

If I translated these into English, I should start each paragraph in the law "Though shalt not". But I guess there are more modern versions... "You shall not", right? I don't understand why the translator left that reference out.

You shall not think that you are someone (someone special).
You shall not think that you are as good as us.
You shall not think that you are wiser than us.
You shall not imagine that you are better than us.
You shall not think that you know more than us.
You shall not think that you are more worthy than us.
You shall not think you are of much use.
You shall not laugh at us.
You shall not imagine that anybody cares about you.
You shall not believe that you can teach us anything.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:47 AM   #10
lars beyer
Dojo: Copenhagen Aikishuren Dojo
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Danish? I thought Sandemose was Norwegian... guess both Denmark and Norway wants to claim him :-) Sandemose wrote in Norwegian, though. I never knew the place that inspired the novel was Danish, but checking I can see you are right. Through the rest of his life, it is said, Sandemose got lots of letters from all over Scandinavia saying "I know which place is the Jante you had in mind, since that's where I grew up, howcome you got in contact with this place"?

Swedes tend to think about the Jante law as typically Swedish, btw. Perhaps it is typically Scandinavian. I think it's very un-American - one of the cultural differences that makes Scandinavians sometimes find Americans prone to bragging since that's what the Jante law forbids most of all. At all cost, make sure nobody thinks you think highly of yourself, in no regard...

I wonder how the Japanese would react on the Jante law. In this respect I think we Scandinavians are closer to the Japanese than to the Americans.

If I translated these into English, I should start each paragraph in the law "Though shalt not". But I guess there are more modern versions... "You shall not", right? I don't understand why the translator left that reference out.

You shall not think that you are someone (someone special).
You shall not think that you are as good as us.
You shall not think that you are wiser than us.
You shall not imagine that you are better than us.
You shall not think that you know more than us.
You shall not think that you are more worthy than us.
You shall not think you are of much use.
You shall not laugh at us.
You shall not imagine that anybody cares about you.
You shall not believe that you can teach us anything.
Hi Hanna !
I like your translation better than mine since I tried to make it sound like everyday language.. I guess my english/ american skills are somewhat lacking, and I like your "shakeasperian" approach better
From what I know Sandemoseīs mother was norwegian but he was brought up in Denmark and in 1930 at the age of 31 he migrated to Norway, and soon started to write in norwegian, so I guess you can call him Norwegian or scandinavian as you say.
I didnīt know that Jante was also known to be a subject for swedish people , surprice !

I was also thinking how Jante would translate into Japanese culture, and I guess from my limited knowledge of Japanese culture and tradition, I have only spent 2 months in Iwama doing Aikido mostly, that the emphasis on personal responsability towards society amongst Japanese would maybe render Jante pointless in the sence that Japanese tend to expect the very best from from themselves and eachother whereas in Denmark Jante could have the implication of setting the bar comfortably low and keep it that way because of sheer lazyness.. on the other hand I donīt think anything is that simple though because excellence and lazyness are general human qualities.. but I believe Jante describes some basic aspects of basic human behaviour.. I guess..
Regards
Lars
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:29 AM   #11
Hanna B
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
Hi Hanna !
I like your translation better than mine since I tried to make it sound like everyday language..
Ah! I thought you picked it from Wikipedia: Jante Law I suppose the version there is from the English translation of the book, very similar to yours.

"Though shall not/You shall not" is how all the Ten Commandments (de ti bud) begin. It can't be a coincidence that Sandemose used that form - although in more everyday language than how the Commandments were worded then. Nowadays, at least in Swedish, the version of the Commandments most commonly used is not much more formal than how Sandomose worded those of Jante. I suppose there are similar English versions of the Commandments as well, but I don't know them.

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
I didnīt know that Jante was also known to be a subject for swedish people , surprice !
Oh yes! The concept "Jantelagen" is fairly widespread here but I think most people who know and use the word don't know where it comes from. I was very surprised when I found it wasn't actually Swedish.

The most aikido - or budo - related use of the Jante Law that I can find... how about replacing "you" with "juniors", and "us" with "seniors"? The junior will eventually become a senior, that's true. But doesn't that apply to Jante too? Eventually you will become a part of "us" - if you adapt. Adaptation to the group is very typically Japanese, I believe.

(I haven't read the book. Just speculating from what I see as normal use of the concept. And my exposure to Japan and the Japanese is smaller than yours.)
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:10 AM   #12
Hanna B
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Ah! I thought you picked it from Wikipedia: Jante Law I suppose the version there is from the English translation of the book, very similar to yours.
Or maybe someone just made up his own translation and put it there. The Scandinavians at English Wikipedia tends to do things like that, often without indicating what is their own translations of things.

Let's see... the English translation from 1936, A fugitive crosses his tracks, is on Google books and you can see parts of the content. Searching the word "law", it seems the translator at the time actually used "Thou shalt not". But I can't see the actual wordings of the Law of Jante. If someone visits a library that happens to have this English version of this book, I would be greatful for the English version of the Law of Jante that's in there!
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Old 03-10-2012, 06:00 AM   #13
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Ah! I thought you picked it from Wikipedia: Jante Law I suppose the version there is from the English translation of the book, very similar to yours.
I did the translation to English from the danish Wikipedia on Janteloven... :
http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janteloven
There is also a picture of a terracotta memorial-plate on Sandemose with the law in danish.
And yes, It would be interresting to see what the original translation from 1936 to English looks like.

As far as how to put Jante to good use in Aikido or budo, I believe it can be used like you say, and I guess adapting is a key word.
Personally, and probably because I am artistically inclined and a bit scared about the reality of reality,
I find it difficult to put strict definitions on anything actually.. because I need to adapt continually..
For me Jante loven sheds light on some real issues, but whether or not itīs the "truth" per se, I am (allways) in doubt.
I read the book in school more than 30 years ago, so maybe itīs time for a re-read..
afterall the book has become a classic in nordic litterature.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts !


Regards
Lars

(I canīt seem to get my head around this "multi- qoute" feature on Aikiweb.. so Iīm messing this thread up a bit.. sorry! )
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:07 AM   #14
Hanna B
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Sometimes people consider the Japanese proverb "the nail sticking up will be hammered down" an equivalent of the Law of Jante.
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:57 AM   #15
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Sometimes people consider the Japanese proverb "the nail sticking up will be hammered down" an equivalent of the Law of Jante.
Hi Hannah, I didnīt know the japanese had a proverb like that.
To me it sounds like it has a different meaning though...
?
Cheers
Lars
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:45 AM   #16
Hanna B
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

The Nail that Sticks up, at 24fightingschickens
http://www.24fightingchickens.com/20...hat-sticks-up/
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:59 AM   #17
lars beyer
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
The Nail that Sticks up, at 24fightingschickens
http://www.24fightingchickens.com/20...hat-sticks-up/
Thats an interresting addition to this thread..
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:20 PM   #18
Tom Verhoeven
Dojo: Aikido Auvergne Kumano dojo
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
Danish? I thought Sandemose was Norwegian... guess both Denmark and Norway wants to claim him :-) Sandemose wrote in Norwegian, though. I never knew the place that inspired the novel was Danish, but checking I can see you are right. Through the rest of his life, it is said, Sandemose got lots of letters from all over Scandinavia saying "I know which place is the Jante you had in mind, since that's where I grew up, howcome you got in contact with this place"?

Swedes tend to think about the Jante law as typically Swedish, btw. Perhaps it is typically Scandinavian. I think it's very un-American - one of the cultural differences that makes Scandinavians sometimes find Americans prone to bragging since that's what the Jante law forbids most of all. At all cost, make sure nobody thinks you think highly of yourself, in no regard...

I wonder how the Japanese would react on the Jante law. In this respect I think we Scandinavians are closer to the Japanese than to the Americans.

If I translated these into English, I should start each paragraph in the law "Though shalt not". But I guess there are more modern versions... "You shall not", right? I don't understand why the translator left that reference out.

You shall not think that you are someone (someone special).
You shall not think that you are as good as us.
You shall not think that you are wiser than us.
You shall not imagine that you are better than us.
You shall not think that you know more than us.
You shall not think that you are more worthy than us.
You shall not think you are of much use.
You shall not laugh at us.
You shall not imagine that anybody cares about you.
You shall not believe that you can teach us anything.
Is it a law that was originally written by the author or did he base it on a longer history?

As an attitude it is not really uncommon to the Dutch attitude (I live in France, but am originally Dutch).

Tom
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:36 AM   #19
Hanna B
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Re: Jante loven- The Law of Jante

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Is it a law that was originally written by the author or did he base it on a longer history?
I've never heard of a longer history. It's always attributed to Sandemose. So I suppose it's all his work.
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