Pricier than formula and sunscreen!

(Just a reminder: hi is pronounced like “hee”)


Literally: milk / breast – mother – sun – umbrella

Alternately: Raising a child with the utmost care. By extension, coddling and excess in child-rearing. Raising hothouse children. From the practices, among wealthy Edo-era families, of hiring wet-nurses and shielding their children from the sun with parasols.

Notes: The latter half may also be pronounced hi.karakasa, apparently due to the association of paper umbrellas with Tang China (唐, Kara). Meanwhile, 乳母 on its own has many acceptable pronunciations, including uba, menoto, or chimo, but in this usage it is only read as onba.

This phrase supposedly comes to us from a late-Edo personal essay collection titled 骨董集 (Kottoushuu), translated into English as Curios.


The title of an arc in the Lone Wolf and Cub manga from 1973. Note the honorific お.

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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