Japanese proverbs

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search

For the meaning and classification of kotowaza (諺, Japanese proverbs), see: Japanese proverbs.

Sayings[edit]

  • Eggs and oaths are soon broken.
    • Note: Specified as a Japanese proverb in the source.
    • Stone (2006). Routledge Dictionary of World Proverbs. Taylor \& Francis. p. 310. 
  • Good medicine tastes bitter in the mouth.
    • Meaning: We often don't heed good advice.
    • English equivalent: Advice most needed is the least heeded.
    • Maynard (1993). Listen \& Learn: 101 Japanese Idioms. McGraw-Hill. p. 123. ISBN 1. 
  • To kill an ox is an attempt to straighten its horns.
    • Note: This refers to an effort which is more harmful than the intended cure.
    • English equivalent: The remedy is often worse than the disease; Burn not your house to rid it of the mouse.
    • Meaning: The effect of a treatment or bodily enhancement – whether pharmaceutical or not, whether a household remedy or professional-ordained – is often worse than what it was intended to cure or alleviate.
    • Maynard (1958). Japanese proverbs and proverbial phrases. Japan Travel Bureau. p. 65. 
  • 継続は力なり。
    • Keizoku wa chikara nari.
    • Translation: Perseverance is strength.
    • English equivalent: Persevere and never fear.
    • ポケット図解ドラッカー経営のツボがよーくわかる本:. 秀和システム. 2008. p. 37. ISBN 4798020680. 
  • 早い者勝ち
  • 盲衆を引く
    • Translation and English equivalent: If the blind leads the blind, they both fall into the ditch.
    • Meaning: "A person ignorant/inexperienced in something cannot assist someone similar."
    • Source for meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "35". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 203. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Kokugakuin zasshi. 國學院大學. 1978. p. 4. 
  • 出る杭は打たれる。Deru kui wa utareru.
    • Translation: The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.
  • 出る釘は打たれる。Deru kugi wa utareru
    • Note: While kui (stake) is sometimes used in place of kugi (nail) some purists point to the incongruity of using "kui" since, in traditional Japanese post and beam house construction, it is physically impossible to hammer a stake flush with the wood, and a stake in the ground would have no structural function.
    • English equivalent: The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
    • Roku Okada, Japanese Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases, Japan Travel Bureau, Tokyo 1955, page 28
  • 艱難にあって初めて真友を知る Kannan-ni atte hajimete shinyū-wo shiru.
    • Translation: Friends are known first in hardships.
    • English equivalent: A friend is known in adversity, like gold is known in fire; A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Meaning: "Beware of false friends. – If one is in good circumstances many people pose as friends to have the benefits of fruendship but only the true ones remain in adversity."
    • Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 159. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • 虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず。Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu.
    • Translation: If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub.
    • English equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained; No pain, no gain.
    • Meaning: There is seldom anything to win where there is no adversity of some sort.
    • 茂田滄海 (2002). サラリーマンの父から息子への、67通の手紙: 中国の名言をちりばめて. 文芸社. p. 81. ISBN 4835539524. 
  • 木の実は元へ落つる Kino mi-wa moto-he otsuru.
    • Translation: The fruit of a tree falls to its root.
    • English equivalent: The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    • Meaning: "Children observe daily and — in their behaviour — often follow the example of their parents."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 259. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • 七転び八起き Nana korobi ya oki
    • Translation: Fall down seven times, stand up eight
    • English equivalent: If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again.
    • McDermott, Patrick (2007). Mind Body Spirit: The Triangle of Life. iUniverse. p. 84. ISBN 0595420761. 
  • 能ある鷹は爪を隠す。Nō aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.
    • Translation: The talented hawk hides its claws
    • Closest English equivalents: Tell not all you know, nor do all you can; Wear your learning like your watch, in a private pocket.
    • Meaning: Hide your supposed knowledge and prowess until it is requested.
    • 関洸念 (1999). 諺にみる運・根・鈍: 日本人の魂の故郷を温ねて. 文芸社. p. 399. ISBN 4887376863. 
  • 小打も積もれば大木を倒す Shōda mo tsumoreba taiboku-wo taosu.
    • Translation: With many little strokes a large tree is felled.
    • English equivalent: Little strokes fell great oaks.
    • Meaning: "A difficult task, e. g. removing a person/group from a strong position, or changing established ideas cannot be done quickly. It can be achieved gradually, by small steps, a little at a time."
    • Source for proverbs and meaning: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 252. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • 立つ鳥跡を濁さず Tatsu tori ato-wo nigosazu.
    • Translation: A foolish bird fouls her own nest.
    • English equivalent: It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest; Don't wash your dirty linen in public.
    • Meaning: "Why wantonly proclaim one's own disgrace, or expose the faults or weaknesses of one's kindred or people?"
    • Second meaning: "It is considered contemptible to defy the rule of solidarity by revealing facts harmful to the group one belongs to."
    • Source for first meaning: Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 109. 
    • Source for second meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). "106". European proverbs: in 55 languages, with equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese. Veszprémi Nyomda. p. 466. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • この父にしてこの子あり Kono chichi ni shite kono ko ari.
    • Translation: With such father there is such a child.
    • English equivalent: Like father, like son.
    • Meaning: "Sons may look and behave like their fathers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 170. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • 酒は本心を表す Sake-wa honshin-wo arawasu..
    • Translation: Sake [in other words alcohol], reveals the true heart.
    • English equivalent: In wine there is truth.
    • Meaning: "Alcohol consumed removes the inhibition against telling the truth that occasionally one would like to keep secret."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. DeProverbio.com. p. 272. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 

Idiomatic phrases[edit]

  • 水に流す mizu ni nagasu
    • Translation: let flow in the water
    • Meaning: Forgive and forget; water under the bridge
    • 真面目なのに生きるのが辛い人. PHP研究所. 2011. p. 25. ISBN 456979551X. 
  • 石の上にも三年 ishi no ue nimo san nen
    • Translation: Three years on the rock.
    • Meaning: It takes a long time sitting on a stone before it becomes warm. Expect to work at something for three years before you see results.
    • 黄金の天馬: 合気道を創始した男. PHP研究所. 2009. p. 134. ISBN 4569673775. 

Disputed[edit]

  • Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
    • Japanese proverb, as quoted in Civilization's Quotations : Life's Ideal (2002) by Richard Alan Krieger, p. 280

External links[edit]