Good, evil, and dogfights

Apply to current events as you feel appropriate

黒白分明
koku.byaku.bun.mei

Literally: black – white – divide / understand – bright

Alternately: A situation where it is easy to tell pros from cons, right from wrong, good fromd evil. As easy to distinguish and black and white.

Notes: This is a compound of compounds, of course. 黒白 is “black and white” (along with its concomitant metaphorical meanings); 分明 refers to “clear understanding.” Note that in some cases the first two characters may be switched to give 白黒 (in four-character compounds hakkoku, although in other contexts almost always shirokuro) without any change in meaning. On that note: while 白 is normally given the reading of haku in most compounds, in today’s yojijukugo only a voiced hyaku is considered correct.

Contrast 黒白混淆 (koku byaku kon kou), which refers to situations that are not a clear-cut “black and white,” but rather mixed together into shades of gray.

This phrase is attributed to our acquaintance the Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals (Japanese 『春秋繁露』 = Shunjuu hanro).

BULLET HELL (and bullet heaven?)

From Ikaruga, a “schmup” game in which the player needs to distinguish, and respond appropriately to, black and white “bullets”

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:

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s