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

vol. 20

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.

wafuusaiu [ mild repremand ]


"wa" = harmony, harmonious, tranquil, Japanese
"fuu" = wind, style
"sai" = thin, fine
"u" = rain

The word “wafuu” usually describes anything that is Japanese or is in Japanese style, but here it has the other literal meaning which is “gentle breeze”. “sai’u” with the kanji of thin rain expresses drizzle, so with all the kanji put together it means, “gentle breeze and soft rain”. Generally, the idiom is used to describe a peaceful and calm attitude or means to improve one’s faults or to correct one’s mistakes. 

sunzenshakuma [little good, large evil]


"sun " = one sun (= 3.03cm)
"zen" = good deeds
"shaku" = one shaku (= ten sun = 30.3cm = approx. 1ft.)
"ma"= evil spirits, ill behavior

issun” (one sun) points to anything that is little in size or amount, and as compared to it “isshaku” (one shaku) means anything that is large or a lot. Therefore, “sunzen” means “a little bit of good deeds” and “shakuma” is “a lot of bad deeds”. As a whole, it describes a situation in which the world is full of bad things and only little good, or anything good faces a lot of hardships and is difficult to achieve.

hengenjizai [Protean]


"hen " = transformation, change
"gen" = vision, illusion
"ji" = self, free, freely
"zai" = existence, to be

Hengen” means to transform like an illusion, that is to appear and disappear very quickly, and “jizai” means to be as one likes to be, have things become as one wishes to be or such state. By bringing together these two separate words, the idiom obtains the meaning of “transforming oneself as s/he wishes”, “to freely appear and disappear”, or “to transform freely in various forms”.

sokketsusokudan [prompt decision]


"soku " = immediately
"ketsu " = to decide
"soku " = immediately
"dan " = decision, judgment

The combinations of the first two kanji “sokketsu” and the latter two “sokudan” both have similar meanings, “to decide right on the spot” with perhaps only the slight difference in the latter one with the nuance of  “making the correct decision”. As a whole, it means to not miss the right timing and chances and to make quick decisions.

tsuuteishitsuu [reflection and preparation]


"tsu " = pain, to hurt
"tei " = stable, to stabilize, to pacify
"shi " = to think, to feel, thoughts
" tsuu " = pain, to hurt

tsuutei” means the pain to calm down or to be relieved from pain, and “shitsuu” means to think about the pain. In other words, this idiom means to look back the pain after it has been relieved i.e., to reflect upon the failure or mistake and to prepare for later.


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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