21 Motivational Idioms/Quotes From Japan About Love & life
Idioms are a daily part of everyone’s lives no matter what region they live in. These Japanese idioms/quotes about love and life will motivate you exceptionally and you can even bring them out in your everyday conversations.
Anime has played a huge role in Japanese culture becoming famous worldwide especially among younger generation.
If you are someone who loves to watch anime when bored, you must have heard some of these Japanese idioms.
These Japanese proverbs are called ことわざ (kotowaza). They can come in straight-forward sayings or be as philosophical as one of Uncle Iroh’s from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Idioms/quotes from Japan about life & love you can share on your social
One who chases after two hares won’t catch even one.
Meaning: If you try to do two things at once, you will fail at both.
A frog in a well does not know the great sea.
Meaning: People make judgments based on their own limited experiences without having knowledge of the world outside of those experiences.
Not knowing is Buddha
Meaning: Japanese way of saying “Ignorance is bliss.” Sometimes, ignoring something that you have no control over will give you more peace.
Spilt water will not return to the tray.
Meaning: Just like, “No use crying over spilled milk,” only water seems like way less of a significant loss than milk.
Continuing on is power
Meaning: Winners are those who don’t give up during hard times. Pushing through obstacles is what makes you brave.
Fall seven times, get up eight.
Meaning: Just like the quote above, take failure as an opportunity to learn and never give up.
3 years on a stone
Meaning: If you stay consistent and stick with it through hard times, eventually things will change. That’s the meaning behind this Japanese proverb.
Adversity builds character
Meaning: Just like the English proverb “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “the calm after the storm”.
Sometimes harder times are necessary for building a stronger person.
Sake shows true feelings.
Meaning: The word 本心 (honshin) means “true heart” or “true feelings.” So this phrase means that what’s said while drinking is often how a person truly feels.
Two bodies, same heart.
Meaning: Just how we say, “two bodies, one soul”.
Heart to heart
Meaning: This yojijukugo phrase means “heart to heart” or to share your true heart’s emotions when you connect with someone else.
12. 磯 の アワビ
An abalone on the shore or unrequited love
Meaning: Abalone is a type of marine snail, and they are extremely rare. This is about a man who dives in the sea looking for abalone and is in a one-sided romance.
So, this phrase came to mean “unrequited love.”
Love and a cough cannot be hidden.
Meaning: It’s pretty obvious. You can’t hide a cough no matter how much you want to. Just like that, you cannot hide true love.
There’s no medicine for falling in love.
Meaning: It means there’s nothing that can fix love-sickness. How beautiful!
Not seeing is a flower
Meaning: It means ‘Reality is never as good as imagination’.
The idea is, you can picture how beautiful the flower will be when it blooms. But often your imagination builds up the beauty of this flower to an unreal extent and the reality doesn’t compare.
The beauties of nature.
Meaning: This one is really interesting and one of my favourite idioms from Japan. The kanji each represent one beautiful aspect of nature:
- 花: “Flower”
- 鳥: “Bird”
- 風: “Wind”
- 月: *Moon”
Together, it represents the beauty of everything around us. A gentle reminder of enjoying mother nature.
Dumplings over flowers or substance over style
Meaning: Someone who would prefer a practical gift over a beautiful one. They would prefer a gift with some use rather than a gift that’s just for show.
There are even bugs that eat knotweed.
Meaning: Another way of saying, “There’s no accounting for taste” or “to each his own.”
And FYI, Japanese knotweed is one of the world’s worst invasive species.
Work of self, obtainment of self.
Meaning: Similar to “you get what you give,” only the Japanese version sounds way more satisfying and relevant for self-discipline.
Meeting person always separated.
Meaning: This one simply means that every meeting must end in a parting.
One life, one encounter.
Meaning: Every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Reminds us to cherish every moment as it will only happen once.
That was all about idioms/quotes from Japan for love and life that we found motivational and interesting. Which one is your favourite?