Not “as mysterious as the dark side of the moon”

(The closest to that seems to be 難知如陰, “as hard to know as a shadow.”)


Literally: wind – woods – fire – mountain

Alternately: The principle of dealing with things according to what’s most appropriate to the situation at hand.

Notes: This phrase is derived from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (in Japanese, it seems that both the author and the text are simply called 『孫子』 = Son shi), and the four components stand as metaphors for qualities an army should have:

  • moving quickly like the wind,
  • waiting quietly like the woods,
  • attacking fiercely like a fire, and
  • holding firm like a mountain.

It is also said that the Sengoku-era warlord Takeda Shingen (whom you may remember as the beneficiary of a kotowaza) took the phrase as his battle standard.


They even used it to name this period drama

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.
This entry was posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s