(Ron yori shouko;
“Proof over theory”)
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Things tend to be clarified more by evidence than by arguing or philosophizing about them. Concrete examples are the first step and foundation when trying to prove a point, or to get someone’s agreement or understanding on a topic. The saying can also imply that one thinks abstract discussion in general is a pain.
This simple assertion begin with the noun 論 (ron), “debate,” “theory,” “doctrine,” followed shortly by the noun 証拠 (shouko), “evidence,” “proof.” The particle より (yori) marks the latter as being in some way “more than” or “preferable to” the former.
There are a number of phrases considered synonymous with this one, including 証拠が先 (shouko ga saki, “evidence comes first”), sometimes preceded by 論は後 (ron wa ato, “theory comes after”).
This phrase is attributed to the Edo-era joururi play titled 『神霊矢口渡』 (Shinrei yaguchi no watashi). It is the ro entry in the Edo iroha karuta set.
(“Kesa tenki yohou de yonda koto wa dou de mo ii sa. Soto ni ittara, ame ga futteita nda. Furu hazu ga nai nante ittemo, ron yori shouko da.”)
[“It doesn’t matter what you read in the weather report this morning! It was raining when I went outside. You can say that it’s completely unexpected, but proof beats theory.”]