Tag Archives: oni

When you hand-ear a neck

(Yes, 取 supposedly means “take” because it refers to taking a defeated enemy’s ear as a trophy in battle. So… appropriate?) 鬼の首を取ったよう (Oni no kubi wo totta you; “As if having taken an oni’s head”) Definition: Triumphant or boastful, especially … Continue reading

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The topical commentary almost writes itself

鬼の空念仏 ((O)ni no sora-nenbutsu; “An oni‘s empty prayers”) Definition: A cruel and cold-hearted person putting on a show of benevolence, compassion, or charity. A bad person behaving uncharacteristically well. Like a demon making making a big show out of praying, … Continue reading

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They’ll let you have next Tuesday, though

来年の事を言えば鬼が笑う (Rainen no koto wo ieba oni ga warau; “Oni laugh when you talk about next year”) Definition: Nobody can accurately predict the future, so there’s no use in trying to say what’s going to be happening next year. People … Continue reading

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Ninety-nine problems and also another problem

When I first encountered this compound, I pictured it as a quaint conga line of traditional Japanese bakemono. Now all I can see is [redacted topical political comment]. 百鬼夜行 hya-.kki.ya.kou OR gyou Literally: hundred – oni (often translated “demon” or … Continue reading

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Not All Bad

Continuing last week’s oni theme: 渡る世間に鬼は無し (Wataru seken ni oni wa nashi; “Across the world, there are no demons.”) Definition: Nobody in the whole world is an oni – i.e. a purely malicious being. “There is kindness to be found … Continue reading

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Strength to the Strong with a Stick

Another selection from the Iroha Karuta: I’ve found a site that has not just the Edo set, but the Kyoto and Osaka sets as well, so expect to see more of these as they catch my fancy. 鬼に金棒 (Oni ni … Continue reading

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