Let's share 諺 Japanese Proverbs

What’s your favourite 諺 kotowaza? Let’s share!

Not sure which (if any) of these qualify as proverbs, but here are some expressions I like

失敗は成功のもと, failure is the basis of success
頭の片隅に置いておく, put in a corner of one’s head (remember something for later)
恩を売る, sell kindness (do something just so one can get a favor in return)
一昨日来やがれ, come the day before yesterday (never come here again)


This list would be remiss without an appearance of the following:

歯が立たない、when one’s best efforts are insufficient to alter situation

and a personal favorite, although I don’t know if this qualifies for the list:

雨が降ろうが槍が降ろうが, come hell or high water

参考: ミニ版慣用句ことわざすいすい暗記

hope to add more soon!


一昨日来やがれ, come the day before yesterday (never come here again)

Isn’t that the common one used to fire someone in Japan??


Even monkeys fall from trees.


The weak are meat, and the strong eat. Or, Survival of the fittest


I’ve seen this one as well and I thought it was really funny :slight_smile: You’re very determined if not even spears falling from the sky will deter you!

I have no idea, it seems way too rude to be commonly used so I would guess not? Do you have any reason to believe this to be the case?


It’s no use squeezing your butt cheeks after you fart! (Paraphrased of course)


@Iwasneverhere @ZengoTim

And now to embarrass myself:

HOw do y’all blur out the text like that? If you dane to bestow the knowledge upon me :sweat_smile:

Time to pay toll!:


【読み】 せんりのみちもいっぽから
【意味】 千里の道も一歩からとは、どんなに大きな事業でも、まず手近なところから着実に努力を重ねていけば成功するという教え。

My explanation: A long journey is made one step at a time.


:curly_loop: @Wonkat13 Should that be a rule of the thread; that in order to comment, regardless of the content or intent of the comment, it must contain/include 諺 to be posted to the thread? Kind of like 諺 as an entry fee if nothing else?

Well if that’s the case then


Fall seven times, stand up eight

You can do it by clicking on the gear icon at the very end of the bar thingy when you go to compose a message. It’s labeled options, and the blur spoiler is the middle option. Once you click on it you can write the spoiler in between this ->[spoiler]Here[ /spoiler] But there won’t be a space between “[” and " /".

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:smile_cat: 有り難う!


Oh yea :sweat_smile:

a painting/ picture of mochi. Inedible mochi or an inedible treat. Something purposeless and/or useless



When in Rome, do as the Romans do

蟷螂の斧 (とうろうのおの)

to bite off more than you can chew, go up against something/someone without considering the fact that you probably don’t have a chance

亜!:bowing_man:僕の誤字でごめん! I got really sloppy there :sweat_smile:


The peach and chestnut tree take three years to bear fruit, plums take eight.

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本日は 左団扇で暮らす:smile: I’ve been kicking back

to live with a fan in your hand / to live carefree

Hello Dears,

I found this proverb : “If you understand everything, you must be misinformed”
and they say it is Japanese Can anyone help me find the Japanese text :blush:

I was in Japan in April, WaniKani helped so much to get around! I was surprised at how much I understood, reading and listening.

I used to say this often to the Japanese, since they complemented me a lot on my language skills, especially when someone was trying to learn a language as well. And they loved to hear it!!

けいぞくは、力なり (けいぞくは、ちからなり)。 - Preserverance will become your power.

Some people even finished my phrase when I started saying it. Proverbs are a great way to meet people!

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I asked one of my hellotalk correspondents and it doesn’t actually seem to be of Japanese origin.

She’d never heard of it, and she also found a blog post to much the same effect (a Japanese person who found a bunch of supposedly Japanese quotes on an english quote site, many of which he was unsure that they actually exist)

Interestingly, googling for the quote in Swedish, I instead run into pages claiming it is a Chinese proverb :slight_smile:

EDIT: rewrote, because I misunderstood my correspondent’s explanation.

For the curious, said blog post is here: ●電子マガジン(7-23) | 楽天・日記 by はやし浩司 - 楽天ブログ

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Two personal favourites and a link between them…

会者定離 - those who meet must part. I had a situation recently that felt like this would happen. Thankfully, the following came to pass instead:

起死回生 - to wake from death and return to life, or to recover from a hopeless situation.

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