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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.

[to be in high spirits]


"ki"=heart, mind, feeling, air
"shou"=to crash, to hit
"ten"=heaven, sky

Iki” is the will, strong commitment or energy to do something or to get started with something, and “shouten” literally meaning “to hit the sky” describes a situation in which something is so full of energy or force as if it is shooting and crashing into the sky. All together “Iki-Shoten” means a will so strong that it can hit the sky.

[unique and secret]


"gai"=out of
"shutsu"=to go/let out

Mongai” means outside the gate hence outside the house, but it used to point to not only houses but also schools/styles, self or a group of people so it means “outside of the set boundary”. The third kanji “fu” denies the following kanji “shutsu” which is “to go/let out” and thus means to prohibit something from going out. As a whole the idiom means to prohibit something to get out from the “mon”, for instance, secretly keeping and not letting a precious piece of artwork out of the house, or to keep an arcanum inside the school.

[full of deep emotion]


"kan "=sense
"gai"= grief / sorrow
"mu"= no / none
"ryou"= to measure / quantity

The kanji for “kangai” make the word sound sorrowful but it can mean to be deeply moved or heartily. “Muryou” means impossible to measure, so together this idiom means to be filled with immeasurably deep emotion.

[struggling against for vengeance]


"ga"= to lie down
"shin"= firewood
"shou"= to lick
"tan"= liver

There is a story in old Chinese history that a person whose father was killed by his enemy slept on firewood to arouse his determination for revenge, and he did in the end (“gashin”). Then the defeated hung liver in the room and licked it to remember and to engrave the humiliation of being defeated and re-gained victory over the other (“shoutan”). By combining two ideas that are similar in meanings, the idiom reinforces the meaning of sustained determination and perseverance.

[world’s morality and people’s heart]


"se"= the world
"dou"= the way
"jin"= people / human being
"shin"= heart / mind (kokoro)

The literal translation for “sedou” would be “the way of the world” but here it means the morality in the world. “Jinshin” as the kanji say, means people’s hearts (kokoro). As a whole, it teaches the relationship between the morality in the world and the human’s hearts to keep that morality.


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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