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---Japanese Proverbs
-
 
List of Japanese Proverbs
 
Also take a look at our Japanese Study Page.
       
1.
Aisatsu wa toki no ujigami
挨拶は時の氏神
あいさつはときのうじがみ
Greetings are those who turn up at the right moment to help.
 
2.
Akusai wa hyaku-nen no fusaku
悪妻は百年の不作
あくさいはひゃくねんのふさく
A bad wife spells a hundred years of bad harvest.
 
3.
Ame futte ji katamaru
雨降って地固まる
あめふってじかたまる
After the rain, earth hardens. (Adversity builds character)
 
4.
Anchuu mosaku
暗中模索
あんちゅうもさく
Searching in the darkness.
 
5.
Anzuru yori umu ga yasashi
案ずるより産むが易し
あんずるよりうむがやさし
Attempt is sometimes easier than expected.
 
6.
Baka wa shinanakya naoranai
馬鹿は死ななきゃ治らない
ばかはしななきゃなおらない
Unless an idiot dies, he won't be cured.
 
7.
Boujaku bujin
傍若無人
ぼうじゃくぶじん
Behaving as if there are no people around you. (Selfish)
 
8.
Daidou shoui
大同小異
だいどうしょうい
Big similarity, small difference. (Similarities outweigh the differences)
 
9.
Deru kugi wa utareru
出る杭は打たれる
でるくぎはうたれる
The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
 
10.
Esha jouri
会者定離
えしゃじょうり
No encounters without separations.
 
11.
Fukusui bon ni kaerazu
覆水盆に帰らず
ふくすいぼんにかえらず
Spilt water will not return to the tray.
 
12.
Gishin anki
疑心暗鬼
ぎしんあんき
A doubtful mind creates devils in the dark. (Fear)
 
13.
Gojuppo hyappo
五十歩百歩
ごじゅっぽひゃっぽ
An unimportant difference between 50 steps and 100 steps in the long distance.
 
14.
Gongo doudan
言語道断
ごんごどうだん
Leaving someone speechless in shock. (Unforgiving)
 
15.
Haisui no jin
背水の陣
はいすいのじん
Pitching a camp against a backdrop of sea, river, and lake. (Strong determination)
 
16.
Huhen hutou
不偏不党
ふへんふとう
No deflections, no parties.
 
17.
Hyappatsu hyakuchuu
百発百中
ひゃっぱつひゃくちゅう
One hundred shootings, one hundred hits.
 
18.
Ichijitu senshuu 
一日千秋
いちじつせんしゅう
One day passing like a thousand autums. (A very long day)
 
19.
Ichimou dajin
一網打尽
いちもうだじん
Arresting all criminals with one net.
 
20.
Iku douon
異口同音
いくどうおん
Different mouths, same sound. (Many saying the same thing about a certain matter.)
 
21.
I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu.
井の中の蛙大海を知らず
いのなかのかわずたいかいをしらず
A frog in a well does not know the great sea.
 
22.
Ishin denshin 
以心伝心
いしんでんしん
Heart-to-heart communication.
 
23.
Isseki nichou
一石二鳥
いっせきにちょう
Killing two birds with one stone.
 
24.
Isshoku sokuhatsu
一触即発
いっしょくそくはつ
Quick blowup with a single touch.
 
25.
Ittou ryoudan 
一刀両断
いっとうりょうだん
Being bold or sharp is like breaking something in two with a sword.
 
26.
Jakuniku kyoushoku
弱肉強食
じゃくにくきょうしょく
The strong eat the weak.
 
27.
Jibou jiki 
自暴自棄
じぼうじき
Hurting oneself, abandoning oneself.
 
28.
Jigou jitoku
自業自得
じごうじとく
My acts, my receivings of the results.
 
29.
Jousha hissui
盛者必衰
じょうしゃひっすい
No glories without fadings.
 
30.
Juunin toiro
十人十色
じゅうにんといろ
Ten men, ten colors.
 
31.
Kachou fuugetsu
  花鳥風月
  かちょうふうげつ
  Flower, Bird, Wind, Moon. (Learning about yourself)
 
32.
Kaeru no ko wa kaeru
蛙の子は蛙
かえるのこはかえる
Child of a frog is a frog.
 
33.
Kankotsu dattai 
換骨奪胎
かんこつだったい
Changing the content by understanding the good and old things.
 
34.
Kinka gyokujou
金科玉条
きんかぎょくじょう
A law like a gold, a law like a crystal. (A rule a man never violates.)
 
35.
Kishi kaisei 
起死回生
きしかいせい
Waking from death and returning to life. (To make a complete return)
 
36.
Koshi tantan 
虎視眈々
こしたんたん
An attitude like a tiger's is one watching the pray with vigilance.
 
37.
Koutou mukei 
荒唐無稽
こうとうむけい
Illusion-promoting.
 
38.
Kyouten douchi 
驚天動地
きょうてんどうち
Something that surprises the heaven and shakes the land.
 
39.
Nanakorobi yaoki
七転び八起き
ななころびやおき
Stumbling seven times but recovering eight.
 
40.
Neko ni katsuobushi
猫に鰹節
ねこにかつおぶし
Letting one's guard down (The cat can't resist stealing a fish).
 
41.
Neko ni koban
猫に小判
ねこにこばん
Gold coins to a cat. (Unappreciation)
 
42.
Nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru
残り物には福がある
のこりものにはふくがある
Luck exists in the leftovers.
 
43.
Saru mo ki kara ochiru
猿も木から落ちる
さるもきからおちる
Even monkeys fall from trees.
 
44.
Seiten no hekireki 
青天霹靂
せいてんのへきれき
A sudden thunder in the blue sky. (Unpredictable)
 
45.
Sessa takuma 
切磋琢磨
せっさたくま
Enabling oneself like cutting, edging, polishing, sanding a wood or crystal.
 
46.
Shimen soka
四面楚歌
しめんそか
A song by enemies that echoes from four directions.
 
47.
Shiri meturetsu 
支離滅裂
しりめつれつ
Uncoupling from the supporting point and disappearing with splitting up. (Incoherent)
 
48.
Shuchi nikurin
酒池肉林
しゅちにくりん
The ponds of liquor, the woods of women.
 
49.
Taiki bansei 
大器晩成
たいきばんせい
Great men succeed in their later years.
 
50.
Tantou chokunyuu
単刀直入
たんとうちょくにゅう
Charging into the enemy line with a sword. (Directly)
 
51.
Unsan mushou
雲散霧消
うんさんむしょう
Disappear without a trace.
 
52.
Ugou no shuu
烏合の衆
うごうのしゅう
Sheep without a shepherd.
 
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