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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.

Zen’in-Zenka [you reap what you sow]


"zen"=good / goodness
"zen"=good / goodness

This one means exactly what each kanji says. “Zen’in” means good cause(s) and “zenka” good results. This means that if you do good, you will always receive good.

Ryousai-Kembo [good wife, wise mother]


"ryou"=good "sai"=wife
"ken(m)"=wise "bo"=mother

Ryousai” is good wife and “kembo” is wise mother. To be a good wife to her husband, and a wise, thoughtful mother to her children. This phrase was used frequently to point to an ideal woman figure in the mid 20th century especially pre-war, and continues to be so today although not as strongly.

Kyushi-Isshou [hairbreadth escape]


"kyu"=nine "shi"=death "
"=one" shou"=life / to live

The number nine many times do not only mean “nine” but also means “nine out of ten”, in another word “almost all”. So here, “kyushi” or “nine deaths” means a situation in which you have hardly any chances to survive. “Isshou” usually means “all your life” but here it is referred to as the opposite to “kyushi”, which makes it mean “one out of ten” – to survive in a situation with very low possibility. All together, this idiom means to escape a very dangerous situation where you have extremely low chances to survive.

Tesshin-Sekichou [strong-minded]


"tetsu"=iron "shin"=heart / mind (kokoro) "seki"=stone "chou"=guts

Tesshin” means an iron heart (not the heart that pumps blood but the heart where emotions and senses are), in other words a strong mind. “Sekichou” too, literally means stone-hard guts but what it really points to is strong will. All together, “Tesshin-Sekichou” means a strong, committed mind that is unaffected by outside influences.

Gaisei-no-Sai [extraordinary wit]


"gai"=lid "sei"=world, society"no"=of (conjunction) "sai"=talent, wit, intelligence

Gaisei”, which its literal meaning is “to put a lid over the world” means here “as to cover the entire world”. “No” as appeared in several idioms in the past, means “of” and “sai” means talent, wit or intelligence. Thus, it means “an extraordinary wit” or “a person with world’s most excellent wit”.


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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