Balanced on the head of a hinpin


Literally: style – substance – refined – refined

Alternately: (A person in whom) external beauty and internal substance are in balance and harmony. Someone unbalanced in favor of their “interior” is crude, plain, unrefined. Someone unbalanced in favor of the “exterior” is affected, chintzy, overdone.

Notes: While in modern Japanese 文 almost always refers to writing, as in literature or correspondence, in the context of this yojijukugo it refers to the aspect of a person observable on the surface: movement, actions, clothing, appearance. It should be no surprise, then, that this compound also comes from Chinese antiquity: this is another extract from the Analects of Confucius.


I feel like figure skating is mostly overdone in terms of 文, but perhaps they make up for it with good core strength. (Image from this blog using yojijukugo to praise Olympic skater Yuzuru Hanyu.)

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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