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

vol.13

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.

Ikki-Tousen [host in himself]

Ikki-Tousen

"ichi "=on ki=person, person on a horse "tou"=correspond "sen"=thousand

”Ikki” is a person or a set of a person and a horse, and “tousen” means worth one thousand. By combining these two words, the phrase as a whole describes a single person who can fight equally or surpass an enemy of one thousand. In short, the idiom is used to express figuratively someone who has outstanding skills or ability to do something.

 
Tsuukai-Muhi [absolute pleasantness]

Tsuukai-Muhi

"tsu(u)"=to hurt, pain "kai"=pleasure, briskness, (ecstasy)
"mu"=none, no oth "hi" to compare, comparison

”Tsukai” is a word consisted of two kanji with opposite meanings, and it describes a state in which you have a superb pleasure/ refreshing feeling that even pain could become pleasure. “Muhi” means “nothing can be compared to”, and with these together it becomes a phrase describing absolute refreshment and pleasantness.
 
Fuurin-Kazan [to act appropriately accordingly to the situation]

Fuurin-Kazan

"fu"=wind "rin"=woods "ka"=fire "zan"=mountain

The original line of this four-character-idiom comes from a battle strategy from centuries ago and goes as follows: as swift as the wind, as quiet as the woods, as fierce as the fire, as strong as the mountain. The sentence goes on as an action agenda for victory in war/ battles, basically telling that the key to victory is to rightly judge the situation and take appropriate action at the right time. Four kanji symbolizing the phrase are taken out and combined for this idiom.
 
Gasshou-Renkou [clever tactics/ calculation]

Gasshou-Renkou

"gou (ga)"=agreement, concordance, coalescence "shou (ju)"=longitudinal, vertical
"ren"=coalition, cooperation "kou"=transversal, sideways, horizontal

An idiom which appeared as a finish blow in the fifth episode of ChamaTama (webmanga on Japan Mode Jchannel). In the manga, it is used to describe vertical and horizontal slashes at the same time, but the true meaning of the idiom is to combine powers to conquer the whole, as the first two mean “to come together longitudinally (north-south)” and the latter two, “to cooperate transversally (east-west)”. In another word, it denotes a strategy of reading the sway of things and cooperating/ separating depending on the situation of interests. It can also mean careful and claver calculation as in foreign diplomacy. To put it in modern terms, M&A.
 
Waki-Aiai [to be in great happiness and harmony]

Waki-Aiai

"wa"=harmony "ki"=feelings, heart/mind
"ai"=to be happy/ satisfied/ mild (ai) (same as the previous kanji)

"Waki" describes a happy mood or an atmosphere and "aiai" as well. As explained in Koshitantan and Yoyuushakushaku in the previous entrees, the last kanji of this idiom duplicates the meaning of kanji right before. Therefore, this idiom can be said that it is a collection of four kanji that almost mean the same, emphasizing the happiness and pleasantness of the word and thus situation.

 
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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