If you hit a tree many times, even a big tree will fall

Even for those of you who have never been in Japan —only by consuming Japanese movies, novels, manga, anime and popular culture— you might have noticed that one of the most loved themes by the Japanese is to see the characters in a story facing huge adversities and dealing with them, almost never giving up.

Perseverance is one of the most important values for the Japanese.

The proverb 小打も積もれば大木を倒す – shōda mo tsumoreba daiboku wo taosu can be translated as “if you hit a tree many times, you will be able to make a large tree fall”. Of course this is not true, it is only a metaphor.

After 16 years here in Japan I have also learned that for them that achieving success or making the large tree fall, is far less important than the action of trying and hitting the tree with consistency, perseverance and patience.

It is more important the experience and wisdom that we learn through the actions of being perseverant (Hitting the tree) when we face challenges in life than achieving a final goal (Making the tree fall)

Can you think of examples of Japanese movies, anime and manga in which perseverance is the theme ? Do the main characters achieve their initial goals at the end or is the “unexpected” that happened to them while having an adventure that became the most important message at the end of the story?