Tag Archives: political commentary

“Under a dictatorship, a nation ceases to exist.”

-Wole Soyinka 残酷非道 zan.koku.hi.dou Literally: remainder – cruel / unjust – un- – road / morals Alternately: Unconscionable cruelty. Inhuman brutality. Notes: We’ve seen this before.

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just the Worst

(Somehow I lined this up yesterday but utterly forgot to actually post it on schedule. My deepest apologies for any inconvenience!) 婬虐暴戻 in.gyaku.bou.rei Literally: uncontrolled / licentious – oppress – violence – revert Alternately: Crude, lecherous, boorish, cruel, violent, and … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fair of skin, unfair of… other things

色の白いは七難隠す (Iro no shiroi wa shichinan kakusu; “White skin hides many flaws.”) Definition: There’s all sorts of baggage here! This kotowaza is literally saying that if a woman’s skin is sufficiently pale, then that alone makes her so beautiful that … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does this ring any bells?

Not for those who refuse to hear! 耳を掩い*て鐘を盗む (Mimi wo ooite kane wo nusumu; “To cover one’s ears and steal a bell”) *See Notes for an important comment on pronunciation! Definition: When you think you’ve hidden something – usually something … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In loco?

心神耗弱 shin.shin.kou.jaku Literally: heart – soul – decrease – weak Alternately: Decreased mental capacity. Having lost the ability to judge right and wrong and act accordingly. This is actually a legal and medical term indicating diminished responsibility: that someone cannot … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

All times as one, and now

夷険一節 i.ken.i-.ssetsu Literally: barbarian/flatten* – steep/dangerous – one – joint/section/occasion Alternately: You should stand firm to your principles regardless of whether things are calm and easy, or dangerous and hard. Don’t sell out your values, no matter the circumstances. Notes: … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Debate Club has fewer rules than Fight Club

喧々諤々 ken.ken.gaku.gaku Literally: noisy – [doubling mark] – outspoken – [doubling mark] Alternately: A furious uproar; large numbers of people voicing their opinion without restraint or consideration for others. Notes: Naturally, this may be written with repeated characters instead of … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The evillest nom

飼い犬に手を噛まれる (Kaiinu ni te wo kamareru; “Bitten on the hand by your pet dog”) Definition: To be betrayed or harmed in some way by someone you had deeply cared for, or taken care of on a regular basis. (In other … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

See also: obstruction of justice

証拠隠滅 shou.ko.in.metsu Literally: proof – foothold / based on – conceal – destroy Alternately: Destruction, suppression, or concealment of evidence. This phrase may be used metaphorically, but is most commonly encountered as actual criminal-justice jargon. Notes: Some legal contexts may … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not even jackalopes, please

怪力乱神を語らず (Kairyoku ranshin wo katarazu; “Speaking not of spirits and demons”) Definition: A wise person does not indulge in talking about irrational or unreasonable things; a great person does not dabble in conspiracy or superstition. When you make an assertion, … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment