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Can 自己{じこ} mean self in the sense that someone does something for herself? Or does it mean ego? I was thinking about using the word in a make-your-own art business. Does that make sense?

  • do you mean "jiko" from "jikoshoukai"? – ssttevee Oct 13 '17 at 21:51
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    I think 自己(self) is much more flexible to use and common(ex: 自己紹介introduce-yourself) than psychological term ego(ex: 自我). – user25382 Oct 14 '17 at 9:10
  • i used google translator from english to japanese for the word "self" and was given "jiko." i am using the word in a "do-it-yourself" kind of way. does it work in that respect? – jeanne Oct 14 '17 at 17:08
  • In my experience, often 自己 is part of a larger word. (eg 自己紹介、自己相似、自己中心的) The word 自分 (already mentioned) I think is more commonly used, for "yourself" as in not anyone else... – requiredandshown Oct 15 '17 at 0:06
  • @requiredandshown 自己 most definitely appears by itself in some contexts but perhaps leaning more towards the philosophical in discussions of the self. – virmaior Oct 15 '17 at 1:43
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I will explain "自己" by comparing with words similar to it.

In the definition said in psychology,

自分 is "generarized existence of myself, or whole existence of me".
自我 is "subjective self, or myself which I feel that way".
自己 is "objective self, or myself that is seen from others".

With this answer, I understand that it would not be useful for the application assumed by the questioner, so I'll give him/her a specialized answer for that application.

I was thinking about using the word in a make-your-own art business.

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EDIT

自己 and 自我 are not suitable to be used in your new business, because they have a nuance of terms used in philosophy or/and psychology. Only 自分 could be used for "self" in your buisness. But it is obvious that "自分" which means "self" or "me" alone cannot be used for business, so I'll show some examples assuming that "自分" is used in a context like "my preference", because the questioner did not clarify how "self" would be used more concretely than "make-your-own art business".

If you want to find a proper word to express "make-your-own" with having fashionable nuance for your new art business, I would say it will be "自分{じぶん}好{ごの}み" which means one's taste.

自分好み is a noun, and 自分好みの and 自分好みに are an adjective and adverb respectively derived from 自分好み.

It will be used in a sentence like:

私{わたし}の部屋{へや}の壁紙{かべがみ}を自分好みに合{あ}わせて変{か}えたいと思{お}っている。
I want to change the wallpaper of my room to my taste.

As another option, I think that "自分{じぶん}流{りゅう}" which means one's own way, one's own style or one's own fashion can be used for the business you are planning.

EDIT: 自分流 is a noun, and 自分流の and 自分流に are an adjective and adverb respectively derived from 自分流.

It will be used in a sentence like:

しかし、能力{のうりょく}が成熟{せいじゅく}するに至{いた}れば、自分流{じぶんりゅう}のやり方{かた}で経験{けいけん}を利用{りよう}し、解釈{かいしゃく}するのは、人間{にんげん}の特権{とっけん}であり、本来{ほんらい}の状態{じょうたい}なのです。
But it is the privilege and proper condition of a human being, arrived at the maturity of his faculties, to use and interpret experience in his own way. - - John Stuart Mill

EDIT  

I'll add some examples using 自分流.

•(言葉を)自分流に用{もち}いる to use words in one's own non-standard way

•おにぎりや寿司{すし}はきゅうりや海草{かいそう}、かにかまなどを使{つか}って自分流にアレンジしている。 They make their own kinds of rice balls and sushi using ingredients such as cucumbers, seaweed or crab sticks.

  • wow. thank you for putting so much time into your response. truly impressive and interesting. i used google translator from english to japanese for the word "self" and was given "jiko." i am using the word in a "do-it-yourself" kind of way. does that work? also, what are the words (not characters) for your suggestions? thank you! – jeanne Oct 14 '17 at 17:10
  • @jeanne: 自己 and 自我 are not suitable to be used in your new business, because they have a nuance of terms used in philosophy or/and psychology. "do-it-youself" is considerably familiar with us but we have not the exact interpreted word in Japanese for it. We use "日曜大工 literally a carpenter on Sundays" for the concept somewhat similar to that of "do-it-youself". Except for elderlies, a considerable part of Japanese people understand "DIY" as it is, and they may understand that DIY is a short form of "do it yourself". – mackygoo Oct 15 '17 at 0:43
  • @jeanne: As for the use of "self" in your business, 自分 is better. Then I showed the word with 自分好み in order to tell how to use it. I knew that the example of 自分流 was not proper for your business, but 自分流 could be used also in your business like 自分好み. If you show us the exact use of the word or phrase in your business, we could tell you more appropriately. – mackygoo Oct 15 '17 at 0:44
  • It might also be worth adding 自立 and 自律 if the sense of do-it-yourself is about autonomy in action. – virmaior Oct 15 '17 at 1:42
  • @Virmaior: Thank you for your proposal. If "do-it-yourself" has a meaning corresponding to 日曜大工 in Japanese that means only doing small works at home such as making or installing shelves, repairing the fence or repairing the rain leaks, I feel "自立" or "自律" for "self" is a little too exaggerated. However, I think "do-it-self" was originally coined and has been used for describing not only making shelves, repairing the fence or repairing the rain leaks but also actions including building your own house or cabin to your liking, rebuilding them, or changing the color of them of your choice. – mackygoo Oct 15 '17 at 4:04

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