Japanese
Proverbs
Kotowaza 諺, ことわざ
● a short saying (言い習わし iinarawashi),
● an idiomatic phrase (慣用句 kan'yōku), or
● a four-character idiom (...
Usage
The Japanese commonly use proverbs, often citing just the first part of
common phrases for brevity. For example, one...
Origin
Because traditional Japanese culture was tied to agriculture, many
Japanese proverbs are derived from agricultural ...
Examples of Japanese
proverbs
悪妻は百年の不作。 (Akusai wa hyaku-nen no fusaku)
Literally: A bad wife spells a hundred years of ba...
残り物には福がある。 (Nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru)
Literally: Luck exists in the leftovers.
Meaning: There is luck in the last help...
起死回生 (kishi kaisei) Literally: Wake from death and
return to life
Meaning: To come out of a desperate situation and
make a...
Hotoke no kao mo san-do made.
Even the Buddha's face, only until the third [slap], meaning even the most mild-mannered
per...
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Japanese proverbs

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Japanese proverbs

  1. 1. Japanese Proverbs
  2. 2. Kotowaza 諺, ことわざ ● a short saying (言い習わし iinarawashi), ● an idiomatic phrase (慣用句 kan'yōku), or ● a four-character idiom (四字熟語 yojijukugo).
  3. 3. Usage The Japanese commonly use proverbs, often citing just the first part of common phrases for brevity. For example, one might say I no naka no kawazu (井の中の蛙 a frog in a well? ) to refer to the proverb I no naka no kawazu, taikai o shirazu (井の中の蛙、大海を知らず a frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean? ). Whereas proverbs in English are typically multi- worded phrases ("kill two birds with one stone"), Japanese yojijyukugo (四字熟語? ) borrows from Chinese and compactly conveys the concept in one word Isseki nichou (一石二鳥 one stone two birds? ).
  4. 4. Origin Because traditional Japanese culture was tied to agriculture, many Japanese proverbs are derived from agricultural customs and practices. Some are from the Go game (e.g., fuseki o utsu 布石を打つ), the tea ceremony (e.g. ichi go ichi e 一期一会), and Buddhism. Many four- character idioms are from Chinese philosophy written in Classical Chinese, in particular "The Analects" by Confucius. (a frog in a well (井 の中の蛙? ) is Classical Chinese, from Zhuangzi.)
  5. 5. Examples of Japanese proverbs 悪妻は百年の不作。 (Akusai wa hyaku-nen no fusaku) Literally: A bad wife spells a hundred years of bad harvest. Meaning: A bad wife is a ruin of her husband.
  6. 6. 残り物には福がある。 (Nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru) Literally: Luck exists in the leftovers. Meaning: There is luck in the last helping. 虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず。 (Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu) Literally: If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub. Meaning: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. / You can't do anything without risking something.
  7. 7. 起死回生 (kishi kaisei) Literally: Wake from death and return to life Meaning: To come out of a desperate situation and make a complete return in one sudden burst. 自業自得 (Jigou Jitoku) Literally: One's Act, One's profit/Advantage. Meaning: That's what you get, Just desserts, You reap what you sow.
  8. 8. Hotoke no kao mo san-do made. Even the Buddha's face, only until the third [slap], meaning even the most mild-mannered person will lose his/her temper eventually. End

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