|Kanji for June 9, 2005 - First Person Pronoun Series #4
||[Jun. 9th, 2005|09:53 am]
Kanji of the Day
ガ われ わ
GA; ware; wa
我々 = wareware - we (nation/group/etc.)
我慢 = gaman - patience, perseverence
我意 = gai - self-will, obstinacy
我家 = wagaya - my/our home (family)
我社 = wagasha - my/our firm (company)
Not to be confused with:
成 = SEI; na(ru) - become
武 = BU; MU - martial
Ware is a very old-fashioned way of saying 'I' that is still used today under certain contexts. It's not something that you'd use as your everyday pronoun, but rather, something that certain occasions call for. Exactly when to use it is hard to explain; suffice it to say that it's easier to pick up from context, and something that students of Japanese likely won't have to worry about using themselves.
One of the most recognizable uses is in the form wareware, listed above for 'we.' This is used in the sense of sentences like, "We (the people of this country) must stand against terrorism" and such. You couldn't use a simple 'we' like watashi-tachi in this sense, because that refers to a more immediate, exclusive use of 'we' like we'd say in English. If you were having a discussion about politics over dinner, and used watashi-tachi in the sentence above, you'd be saying, "We (folks here) must stand against terrorism."
If you know much about modern Japanese literature, you may have heard of Natsume Soseki's 「我輩は猫である」 Wagahai wa neko de aru ("I am a Cat"). The wagahai here is an archaic use of first-persoun pronoun that carries a bit of an arrogant nuance to it (in some translations, the title is translated as "We are a Cat," immitating the Royal We).