Ihara Saikaku

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There is always something to upset the most careful of human calculations.

Ihara Saikaku (Japanese: 井原西鶴; 1642–1693) was a Japanese poet and creator of the "floating world" genre of Japanese prose (ukiyo-zōshi).

Sourced[edit]

  • Men take their misfortunes to heart, and keep them there. A gambler does not talk about his losses; the frequenter of brothels, who finds his favorite engaged by another, pretends to be just as well off without her; the professional street-brawler is quiet about the fights he has lost; and a merchant who speculates on goods will conceal the losses he may suffer. All act as one who steps on dog dung in the dark.
    • What the Seasons Brought to the Almanac-Maker (1686).

The Japanese Family Storehouse (1688)[edit]

  • Heaven says nothing, and the whole earth grows rich beneath its silent rule. Men, too, are touched by heaven's virtue; yet, in their greater part, they are creatures of deceit. They are born, it seems, with an emptiness of soul, and must take their qualities wholly from things without. To be born thus empty into this modern age, this mixture of good and ill, and yet steer through life on an honest course to the splendors of success — this is a feat reserved for paragons of our kind, a task beyond the nature of the normal man.
    • Book I, ch. 1.
  • The first consideration for all, throughout life, is the earning of a living.
    • Book I, ch. 1.
  • Though mothers and fathers give us life, it is money alone which preserves it.
    • Book I, ch. 1.
  • In life it is training rather than birth which counts.
    • Book I, ch. 3.
  • Ancient simplicity is gone...the people of today are satisfied with nothing but finery.
    • Book I, ch. 4.
  • Take care! Kingdoms are destroyed by bandits, houses by rats, and widows by suitors.
    • Book I, ch. 5.
  • There is always something to upset the most careful of human calculations.
    • Book II, ch. 2.
  • When you send a clerk on business to a distant province, a man of rigid morals is not your best choice.
    • Book II, ch. 5.
  • To think twice in every matter and follow the lead of others is no way to make money.
    • Book II, ch. 5.
  • For each of the four hundred and four bodily ailments celebrated physicians have produced infallible remedies, but the malady which brings the greatest distress to mankind — to even the wisest and cleverest of us — is the plague of poverty.
    • Book III, ch. 1.
  • To make a fortune some assistance from fate is essential. Ability alone is insufficient.
    • Book III, ch. 4.
  • If we live by subhuman means we might as well never have had the good fortune to be born human.
    • Book III, ch. 4.
  • Like ice beneath the sun's rays — to such poverty did he fall...his fortune melted to water.
    • Book III, ch. 5.
  • If making money is a slow process, losing it is quickly done.
    • Book III, ch. 5.
  • Harshness is for the good of a boy, soft-heartedness will ruin him.
    • Book V, ch. 5.

External links[edit]

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