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

vol. 22

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.

少数精鋭 [ elitism ]


"shou" = few
"suu" = number
"sei" = accuracy, precision
"ei" = sharp

shousuu” (pronounced like the English words “show+sue”) is a word meaning “few” or “a small number” and “seiei” is a group of selected soldiers with strong and sharp force, or to have such. As a whole, this four-kanji-idiom describes a group of people who are few in number but elite in quality, which can be a larger threat than a larger group of random members.

波乱万丈 [ eventful, stormy ]


"ha" = wave
"ran" = disorder
"ban" = ten thousand = innumerous
"jou"= length, strength

haran” which literally is a wave of disorder, denotes any kind of dispute, problems, hardships, fights and so on. “banjo”, ten thousand “jo” (measure), means extremely high or deep. All together, “haran-banjo” is used as a metaphor for a stormy and eventful life/course like high waves crushing in the storm.

公明正大 [ fair and square ]


"kou " = public
"mei " = bright, light
"sei " = right, fair, correct
"dai " = big, grande

koumei” is to be fair and not personal, to have no corruption, deception or fraud. “seidai” is to have a dignified attitude or appearance as well as to be righteous. As a whole, this idiom describes a person who does not mingle personal interests with public affairs, acts righteously with correct decisions and has a dignified attitude.

博学多才 [ erudite and talented ]


"haku " = wide, a wide range of
"gaku " = learning, studies
"ta " = many
"sai " = talent

hakugaku” is used for a person who has abundant knowledge on a wide range of fields or to be so, and “tasai” means to have all kinds of talents. Therefore the idiom describes a person who has deep knowledge in versatile fields and is talented in many aspects.

斬新奇抜 [ novel and eccentric ]


" zan " = to slash, to cut
"shin " = new
" ki " = odd, weird
" batsu " = to pull out, to surpass/stand out

zanshin” is often used for innovative ideas that is completely different from and incomparable to the existent common sense. “kibatsu” is also another word used to describe things or people that are extremely odd or eccentric by common standards. By combining these two words, the idiom strengthens its meaning of freshness and innovative-ness, expressing things and ideas that no common person would come up with.


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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