When I’m looking for kotowaza to introduce, I often come across yojijukugo – four-character compounds that often serve similar functions. (In fact, there are a number of longer sayings that have been condensed to four-character phrases.) The tradition of using these goes all the way back to Chinese poetry and its deep influence on Japanese learning and literature. Having a good supply of yojijukugo (and knowing when to use them) can add a lot of wallop to your speech and writing.
In contrast to my more in-depth posts on kotowaza, I thought it would be fitting to present these in a pithier format. Here, then, is the one four-character compound that I have most often had cause to use in actual conversation. It’s simple but effective.
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Literally: “Ten people, ten colors”
Alternately: “Everybody is different.” “Different strokes for different folks.” “Many men, many minds.” Every person is unique and has their own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, preferences, issues to deal with, etc.