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

vol.9

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.

Iki-Tougou [get along like pigs in a blanket]

Iki-Tougou

"I"=thoughts, intention "ki"=feelings "tou"=to match "gou"=to match

"Iki" originally means an eager attitude or a pose to do something, but can be used more casually to simply indicate feelings or intentions. Both kanji for "tougou" mean to perfectly match and hence the word means 'to feel identified with'. It literally means that the ways of thinking of two or more people match perfectly, and thus means to get along very well.

 
Ungai-Souten [Never despair]

Ungai-Souten

"Un"=clouds "gai"=outside "sou"=blue, clear blue "ten"=sky, heaven

The literal meaning of this idiom is "on the other side of the clouds spreads clear blue sky" and at a glance it seems as though it is merely a picturesque description.
However, what it really is, is a metaphor between the sky and human life. 'A day with thick clouds may be gloomy and heavy but beyond the clouds there is always the blue sky' means that 'no matter how many hardships you may have now, there is always great things waiting for you after you overcome obstacles' and eventually means "never despair".

 
Kokon-Tozai [of all ages and countries/ cultures]

Kokon-Tozai

"ko"=ancient "kon"=today, now "tou"=east "zai"=west

This idiom creates meanings by bringing together kanji with opposite meanings.
"Kokon" means from the ancient times till today, and "tozai" means from east to west, especially because Japan is a country spread east-west as much as it is north-south. Thus this yojijukugo means all times all places.

 
Shikon-Shousai [the perfect businessperson]

Shikon-Shousai

"shi"=warrior "kon"=spirit "shou"=merchant "sai"=talent

"Shikon" is the warrior's spirit and "shousai" is the merchant's talent. "Shikon-shousai" means to have both these qualities, and is regarded as the core spirit of a successful businessperson.

 
Menmoku-Isshin [to completely renew oneself]

Menmoku-Isshin

"men"=face "moku"=eye(s) "ichi"=one "shin"=new

The meanings of each kanji are totally disintegrated, but they make sense if you combine them into two-character-idioms. "Menmoku" means your outer face i.e., your public face and reputation, your social face. "Isshin" means to completely renew everything, so by combining these two words the idiom take on a meaning of "completely renewing oneself to improve public image/ reputation".

 
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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