Home Languages Articles Links Downloads About Contact



Other Topics

bulletTranslation prices
bulletMachine translation
bulletHarry Potter
bulletTranslation quotes

Free website Translation Service



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.

[ろーまはいちにちにしてならず, roma wa ichinichi ni shite narazu] Rome was not built in a day (lit.: Rome was not made in one day; n.b.: taken from the English version of this old proverb)

[ろうしょうふじょうはよのならい, roushou fujou wa yo no narai] uncertainty is the way of the world for young and old alike (i.e.: death can come to anyone at any age)

[ろうせずしてなにものかをえん, rou sezu shite nani mono o en] without working what can a person get? there is no such thing as a free lunch (i.e.: work is what everyone should do)

[ろうそくはみをへらしてひとをてらす, rousoku wa mi o herashite hito o terasu] a candle lights others and consumes itself (i.e.: great men will devote themselves to helping others selflessly)

[ろかいがのうてふねでわたれぬ, rokai ga noute fune de watarenu] without oars you cannot cross water in a boat (n.b.: "rokai" refers to two kinds of oars, hence all resources are needed to cross water)

[ろかいのたたぬうみもなし, rokai no tatanu umi mo nashi] there is no sea in which oars are not put to use (n.b.: "rokai" refers to two different kinds of oars, hence all resources are needed when at sea)

[ろくじゅうのてならい, rokujuuu no te-narai] it is never too late to learn; it is never to late to start (lit.: to study calligraphy at age sixty)

[ろさんねんさおしちねん, ro san-nen sao shichi-nen] three years to learn to manage an oar, seven years for the pole (i.e.: propellling a junk or other pole-driven boat takes time to learn to do)

[ろんごよみのろんごしらず, rongo yomi no rongo shirazu] a learned fool; folly and learning often dwell together (lit.: one who reads the Analects of Confucius but has no understanding of them; n.b.: also a comment on the limits of rote memorization in true learning)

[ろんよりしょうこ, ron yori shouko] the proof of the pudding is in the eating (lit.: proof rather than argument; i.e.: theory and debate are interesting and even useful, but experience is what ultimately counts)

Back to Japanese.top