Frog and more frog

One more kotowaza for the frogs. It’ll be something different next week, I promise.

(Kaeru no ko wa kaeru; “A frog’s child is a frog”)


“Like father, like son.” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The character and abilities of a child tend to resemble those of a parent. In a negative sense, the saying can be used disparagingly to claim that the children of “mediocre” families are doomed to mediocrity themselves. Due to this nuance, it’s better not to use it in an attempt to praise someone.


(kaeru) is “frog” again; (ko) is “child.” We have two particles, the associative (possessive) (no) and the topic marker (wa). Rendered literally, this kotowaza becomes “As for child of frog, frog.”


The saying can also be extended to 蛙の子は蛙の子, “a frog’s child is a frog’s child.” Note also that the case of the frog’s child turning out to be like its frog parent can be a surprising or counterintuitive congruence: tadpoles look very little like frogs, after all.

Example sentence:

「勉強しても意味ないよ、うちは農家だし。所詮、『蛙の子は蛙』だもん」 「そんなことないよ。『継続は力なり』だよ」

(“Benkyou shite mo imi nai yo, uchi wa nouka da shi. Shosen, ‘Kaeru no ko wa kaeru‘ da mon.” “Sonna koto nai yo. ‘Keizoku wa chikara nari’ da yo.”)

[“There’s no point in me studying; we’re just farmers. After all, like they say, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’” “That’s not true! They also say ‘Perseverance is strength’!”]

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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1 Response to Frog and more frog

  1. Pingback: The blood doesn’t fall far from the tree? | landofnudotcom

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