Japanese proverbs with Pleasant-level kanji

Here are some proverbs you can read with kanji from the first 10 levels.

Readings and meanings are blurred so you can try reading and understanding them before revealing them. It worth noting, though, that some of them use classical / literary grammar, which may be unfamiliar to even intermediate learners.

This list isn’t exhaustive. I might post more later.


Meaning: perseverance prevails; three years on a (cold) stone (will make the stone warm)​


Meaning: if you do a favor for somebody, you will get a return favor; if a fish is friendly toward water, water will be kind to the fish too; mutual back-scratching​
Note: this one has a reading for 魚 that isn’t taught on WK
Note: 魚心 can be used independently of this proverb as a reference to it


Meaning: No child understands how much they are loved by their parents


Meaning: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
Note: this uses a meaning and reading for 里 not taught on WK
Note: a 里 is an old Japanese unit of distance roughly equal to 2.5 miles or 4 km, but 千里 is used to mean “a really long distance” and not necessarily anything specific


Meaning: Time is money
Note: WK teaches the word for money with the honorific お, but here it’s used without it


Meaning: not giving up; keeping at it until one succeeds; falling seven times, getting up eight times​
Note: 転 is a level 10 kanji, but the word 転ぶ, where this reading is taught, is in level 12


Meaning: what happens twice will happen thrice


Meaning: good talkers make good listeners


These are neat! Thank you for sharing them and choosing such WK beginner friendly ones!


Amazing, thank you for sharing!

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Thanks for this post! This was really interesting. I only know I’ve seen/heard らず before. But, they all makes sense! :slight_smile:

I get the feeling that I have seen the り reading. But, only in the recent levels, so from some vocab. I’ll see if I can remember which. ^^

Edit: Here it is. In the 40s we get taught this reading. https://www.wanikani.com/vocabulary/郷里


I didn’t know who OP was for way more than a second


Thank you, this was really cool!


Meaning: some things are better left unsaid; silence is golden


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