One of the many JapaneseStockPhrases, even to the point of extreme MemeticMutation.

Phrased as either "sho ga nai" (informal) or "shikata ga nai" (formal). Similar to the French phrase "c'est la vie" ("such is life"), this phrase can be translated as simply weathering troubles and accepting that life can be harsh, but actually has a deeper definition to it.

One attribute highly prized in Japanese society is that of "gaman", or "endurance". Gaman is the quality of enduring what seems unbearable with dignity and grace. The idea basically that is that if there's something unpleasant around you, it's better to tough it out in an act of self-sacrifice rather than act immediately to change it.

This is the source of many instances of ValuesDissonance in imported/translated Japanese works. Americans, to put it politely, are very familiar with complaining--the nation was founded with free speech in mind, and the ability to speak one's mind is highly valued and constantly taught. A key part of America's self identity is that it is populated with people who acted to make a better life for themselves rather than accept what they had. Britons have the concept of the StiffUpperLip, the idea of dismissing troubles and snarking irreverently about it. The Japanese, however, will have a {{Salaryman}} suffer in silence when his boss demands more hours and his wife screams at him because of a miscarriage, or a mother suffer in silence as she keeps her husband's affair with the neighbor a secret while the child asks where Daddy is.

On the brighter side, it can be used in the sense of not sweating the small stuff; having "gaman" would mean you don't get upset over the little irritations in life. If someone bumps in to you, maybe the other person is a bit clumsy or tripped a little. If the food arrives fifteen minutes late, maybe the delivery person got lost or is on his first day. If a friend makes a light-hearted joke at your expense, you find the humor in it and laugh along with it.

Because it can be interpreted as a fatalistic unwillingness to make changes or an enlightened acceptance of the ups and downs of life, "sho ga nai" can change its meaning depending on how serious the circumstances surrounding the phrase can be.

Those interested in linguistics may want to compare this to the Russian word ''nichevo'' (нечего), which literally translates to 'nothing', but is more often used as meaning 'there's is nothing to be done about it", it has connotations of futility or extreme fatalism. It also bears some resemblance to the American English saying "Shit happens", although that has more [[ObligatorySwearing swearing]].

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In the first episode of ''Anime/{{Mononoke}}'', the elderly innkeeper gets tired of arguing with the pregnant foreigner over how there's no room in the inn. She just gives up, says it can't be helped, and lets her sleep in the abandoned room in the attic.
* Used very frequently by Madara in ''Manga/NatsumeYuujinchou''.
* In the historical manga ''Manga/BarefootGen'', many of the citizens in Hiroshima use the phrase to explain why they accept the military rule, and the acceptance of the below-poverty conditions that cause many of their citizens to starve.
* Used incredibly frequently in ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei''.
* Used in ''Manga/{{Skyhigh}}'' after the schoolgirl Kino-shita kills herself because she knows she'll be able to kill the Libby at her school, and she realizes that her friend she left behind is overjoyed in her death and then wishes she hadn't decided to drown herself. Izuko simply tells her that's it's too late and it can't be helped, so she might as well just go to heaven without going through with the killing.
* ''[[LightNovel/{{Sukisho}} Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shouganai]]'', an incredibly melodramatic BoysLove manga, translated as "I Love Who I Love, So It Can't Be Helped''.
* At the end of ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' episode 24 (Kyou Chapter), Kyou cancels a date with Tomoya because her sister wants to go shopping. He shrugs it off with "shikata ga nai", unselfishly.
* Holland uses the phrase in ''Anime/EurekaSeven''... to explain why the Gekkostate absolutely ''has'' to play a game of soccer before going to save the world. It pops up on at least one other occasion as well.
* Holon from ''RealDrive'' uses the phrase in reference to other androids of her model and type being used for sexual intercourse.
* Used a lot in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02''.
* Frequently used to describe Chise and her situation in ''Manga/SaiKano.''
* In ''Anime/{{Persona 4}}'', Yukiko's buried resentment of Chie for not being able to save her from being trapped in her role at her family's inn is highlighted by Chie's careless comment that Yukiko will inherit the Amagi Inn and "it can't be helped." This prompts Shadow Yukiko to reject Chie as her "prince."
* Used by Homura at the end of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', referring to the need to continue fighting monsters for the foreseeable future. But she says this after [[spoiler:Madoka decided that [[HeWhoFightsMonsters tricking young girls into becoming demonic beings]] was unacceptable, and manipulated the system to make it more reasonable. And ''that'' was only possible because Homura couldn't accept Madoka's death/bewitching and [[GroundhogDayLoop worked obsessively to undo it]]]]. So it is, in a sense, a subversion.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''[[AsianSaga Shogun]]'' by James Clavell uses this phrase as a subtheme, although there it is mispelled as "Shigata ga nai". [[SelfDemonstratingArticle Shikata ga nai]].
* ''Film/SnowFallingOnCedars'' has Kabuo Miyamoto, who uses this to fuel his belief that he cannot change the circumstances surrounding his unfair trial due to prejudices remaining from WWII.
* In the non-fiction novel ''Hiroshima'', this is one of the character's catchphrases. It's even written out in romaji in GratuitousJapanese of sorts.
* ''HarryTurtledove'' has several characters - including non-Japanese - using the phrase in his ''{{Worldwar}}'' series.
* Kim Stanley Robinson's ''Literature/RedMars'' mentions "shikata ga nai" being introduced to the initial colonists en route to Mars by their sole Japanese member. [[MohsScaleOfSciFiHardness Even in the future, space flight is a long, slow endeavor]], so with a lot of things they can't help, the phrase quickly enters everyday usage.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* All the time on TheSopranos, in the form of "[But] What are you gonna do?"
* On HBO's ''Series/{{Carnivale}}'', as Ben drives out to confront another person, he runs into Libby and Jonesy along the side of the road. After saving them (which winds up taking the rest of the day), Libby apologizes to Ben for ruining his plans. He simply shrugs and replies, "It couldn't be helped."
* In ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'', Phillip bemoans this when Shotaro [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQoleI0VKJo starts spamming him to henshin]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* ''KingCrimson'' has an instrumental titled "Shoganai" (later reworked into "The Power to Believe II").
* Bo-en's song "My Time" uses this during the bridge.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater ]]

* In the stage production of ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'', there was a skit about [[Series/KamenRiderFaiz Faiz]], [[Series/KamenRiderKuuga Kuuga]], [[Series/KamenRiderRyuki Ryuki]], [[Series/KamenRiderKabuto Kabuto]], [[Series/KamenRiderDecade Decade, and Diend]] being hungry and wanting to get a bite to eat. Decade argues with the other Riders about how there's no time, but Faiz calls in a reservation at [[Series/KamenRiderKiva IXA's]] Italian restaurant anyway. Decade just sighs, says "It can't be helped", and goes along. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoUa-FFmixg Hilarity ensues]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* "Song of Love", the theme tune to the ''{{Pikmin}}'' series, has this as its premise: It's all about how the Pikmin go through Hell for their leader, Olimar, yet despite the fact that it's very likely they'll die ignobly, ''"We don't ask that you love us."'' The song's single actually ''outsold the game itself'' because of how it resonated with the {{Salaryman}} public.
* In ''[[GanbareGoemon Goemon's Great Adventure]]'', this is the party's reaction to Goemon being forced into doing a certain sidequest... though it only pops up if you're playing with a friend.
* Used frequently in the Japanese versions of the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' games, often spoken by a witness before they finally confess information they were hiding.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* A phrase often quoted by Western reporters who visited the afflicted area after the Touhoku Earthquake of 2011. Along with ''gaman'', it was used to describe the lives of the disaster victims after the earthquake and tsunami, mostly on how they coped with the grief, the anxiety, freezing weather, and uncomfortable living circumstances. Was picked up on particularly because of the stark difference of how the victims reacted to the disaster compared to the more unfortunate victims of Haiti and Hurricane Katrina.
----