Great at everything but dancing


Literally: eight – face – six – elbow

Alternately: Active in a variety of areas, usually with incredible energy and results. One person doing the work of several. As productive as if having eight heads and six arms.

Notes: One variant uses three (三, san) faces instead of eight. The 三面 version seems to be the original, based on depictions of Asura, but it’s used less frequently in contemporary Japanese. While the two are more or less interchangeable, if you contrast them, the 八面 version can imply a broader (or unlimited) range of activity and accomplishment – cf. the use of the number eight to mean “all directions.”

The Asura statue at Kohfukuji Temple (興福寺) in Nara

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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