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Yojijukugo ---  Four-Character-Idiom
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Yojijukugo ---  Four-Character-Idiom


Yojijukugo is a Japanese idiom consisted of four kanji. Many are based on the ideas of Chinese traditions or classical texts.

In other words, you can also say that yojijukugo is a piece of art, of building up four kanji with individual meanings into one phrase with one meaning. As compared to the number of characters the information they carry is so much bigger, and because it can help smoothening communication between people who know the word yojijukugo is often used for promo words. There are even some new yojijukugo invented by copywriters.

I sometimes see non-Japanese people with yojijukugo tatoos, but there are some that makes me wonder if they really know the meaning.
So here, I will introduce you some yojijukugo that have good meanings and good appearance.

Keisetsu no Kou [To Study Diligently]

Keisetsu no Kou

"kei" =fireflies " setsu" =snow "no"=of (conjunction) "kou"=success, achievement

”Keisetsu” means to gather light from fireflies during summer nights and moonlight reflecting against snow during winter nights. The conjunction takes “keisetsu” a step forward making it mean “by its (/such) light” and the last kanji “success / achievement” denotes success. What it means all together is, to study diligently even in poor environment and eventually achieve great goals. This idiom was created in the days before electricity.

Hyakka-Ryouran [Riot of Flowers]


"hyaku"=one hundred "ka"=flower(s) "ryou" "ran"=to become out of order, to get disorganized

”Hyakka” literally translates into one hundred flowers but here means hundreds of flowers. “Ryouran” means to be disorganized or get out from a neat order, however not in a messy manner but rather gorgeously. Thus this four-character-idiom describes situations in which a number of vivid flowers blooming wildly, but is used for human beings as well to describe many skilled, smart, talented and/or beautiful people gathering up in one place at once.

Heion-Buji [As Peaceful As Can Be]


"hei"=flat, fair, peaceful "on"=calm, tranquil
"bu"=no, none (denail) "ji"=thing, case, happening, incident

”Heion” is an independent two-character-word consisted of the kanji with the meanings “flat (and not bumpy” and “calm” denoting peacefulness. “Buji” is somewhat of a synonym to “heion” meaning “nothing” in the sense of no bad happenings, things, illnesses or incidents. When the two come together the idiom strengthens its meaning of peace.

Sessa-Takuma [Discipiline Through Friendship and Rivalry]


"setsu"=to cut "sa"= to scrape roughly
"taku"=ball (precious stone), to form into a good shape by rollin "ma"=to polish (smoothly)

”Sessa” is to cut and scrape gems, stones, rocks and bones into a different (better) shape, hence means to improve or form personality. “Takuma” too, has a similar meaning of polishing up a precious stone into something more gorgeous, thus improve in studies, skills and mental (spiritual) strength. By combining the two phrases the idiom not only reinforces the mere meaning of “improving the inside by hard discipline” but also obtains the meaning of improving studies / skills / personal strength through discipline and competition among good friends and rivals.

Bishu-Kakou [Goregous Feast]


"bi"=beautiful "shu"=drink (alcohol) "ka"=good, excellent "kou"=side dish (to go with drinks)

”Bishu” does not only mean wonderful drink in terms of taste but also in terms of appearance such as color and gloss. “Kakou” is a side/main dish that goes perfectly well with such drink. All together, this idiom describes an excellent feast.


I'd like to continue introducing you yojijukugo with good meanings and cool appearance.
Or if you have any questions, like, "what does my tatoo really mean?", don't hesitate to give us an e-mail :-)

Of course, we still welcome those who want to have their names converted in kanji. Just e-mail to samurai@jmode.co.jp


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