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Japanese Proverbs





The Japanese language is filled with proverbs of all sorts, many from classical references from ancient Chinese to modern versions of English proverbs, all used in every aspect of the language. Whether you are traveling to Japan for fun or on business, or are living there, you'll find proverbs indispensible to understanding and using the daily language. Browse below to find the ones you want or simply explore the many possible ways to express yourself in Japanese.



名馬に癖あり
[めいばにくせあり, meiba ni kuse ari] there is no such thing as perfection (lit.: a famous horse still has faults)

名物にうまいものなし
[めいぶつにうまいものなし, meibutsu ni umai mono nashi] reality is often different from reputation

目糞鼻糞を笑う
[めくそはなくそをわらう, mekuso hanakuso o warau] the pot calling the kettle black (Lit.: eye scum (mucous) laughing at nose scum (snot, mucous). Indicates that the defect the former points out and enjoys in the latter is shared by both to the same or similar degree.)

目くら蛇におじず
[めくらへびにおじず, mekura hebi ni ojizu] the blind do not know to fear snakes

目くら蛇ものにおじず
[めくらへびものにおじず, mekura-hebi mono ni ojizu)] a blind snake fears nothing

飯の上のはいのよう
[めしのうえのはいのよう, meshi no ue no hai no you] a persistent annoyance (lit.: like a fly on rice)

目の中に入れても痛くない
[めのなかにいれてもいたくない, me no naka ni iretemo itakunai] even though he gets in my eyes, it does not hurt (this expresses great love for a child)

目の寄る所へ玉が寄る
[めのよるところへたまがよる, me no yoru tokoro e tama ga yoru] like draws like; birds of a feather flock together (lit.: where the eyes go, the eyeballs go too)


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