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

vol.11

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.

Touhon-Seisou [ to run all over the place ]

Touhon-Seisou

"tou"=east "hon"=here and there, all over the place "sei"=west "sou"=to run

The way of combining the kanji for this four-character-idiom is an unusual case. In many cases four-character-idioms are consisted of two two-character vocabularies or four individual kanji. However, this is a rearrangement of the kanji used in two separate
vocabularies “touzai” and “honsou”.
As explained in the earlier series, “touzai” means east to west, hence all over Japan (because the land of Japan is stretched east to west) and derived to a term indicating a vast stretch. “Honsou” means to run around everywhere or to scramble for, so that things will turn out all right.

 
Futou-fukutsu [ never giving up, hardiness ]

Futou-fukutsu

"fu"=a character meaning negation (no, never, not) "tou"=to be bent, to be beaten
"fu"=(no, never, not) "kutsu"=to give in, to despair

Futou” means not to be daunted or flinched when facing difficulties, and “fukutsu” also means not to give in and to persist in one’s belief. By bringing together synonyms the term reinforces its meaning of hardiness.

 
Ichijitsu-Senshuu [ to long for, to miss so much ]

Ichijitsu-Senshuu

"ichi"=one "jitsu"=day "sen"=one thousand, thousands of "shuu"=autumn

Ichijitsu” means a day and “senshuu” means a thousand autumns. This idiom well depicts the strong sentiment of longing, describing that when you don’t see someone you love for just one day it feels as though you haven’t seen him/her for many many years. “Senshu” in literal terms means one thousand autumns but is rather used to describe many days or a very long time. The use of the season autumn is believed to come from the idea that autumn is the season of sentiments and melancholy, for leaves fall and things become bare.

 
Dokusho-hyappen [ to read thoroughly/ carefully over and over ]

Dokusho-hyappen

"doku"=to read "sho"=books, documents "hyaku"=one hundred, hundreds of
"hen"=(pen) every corner

Dokusho” means to read books and “hyappen” means to read one hundred times therefore to read every line and lines between the lines. This idiom teaches that if you read the same thing many times from every letter (character) to letter, you will naturally understand what you did not before. In short, it warns excursive reading and tells the importance of perusal.

 
Ichiroku-shoubu [ gamble ]

Ichiroku-shoubu

"ichi"=one "roku"=six "shou"=to win, victory "bu"=to lose, defeat

Ichiroku” indicates the numbers 1 and 6 on a dice, and since they’re on the opposite side it means the two opposite sides/ faces of a matter. “Shoubu” means a (one-on-one) fight/ duel or a roll, so “ichiroku-shoubu” means to have a match or rather to try one’s luck betting either 1 or 6, namely win or lose. Also, because the result will be either one out of two the term is used to describe an adventurous, fifty-fifty matter or event dependent on pure luck.

 
NEXT

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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