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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.



雀の千声より鶴の一声
[すずめのせんごえよりつるのひとごえ, suzume no sengoue yori tsuru no hitogoe] better one cry of a crane than a thousand chirps from sparrows (i.e.: one word from a wise man is better than a thousand from a fool)

脛に傷持てば笹原走る
[すねにきずもてばささはらはしる, sune ni kizu moteba sasahara hashiru] a man with a guilty conscience will seek cover

全て剣を取る者は剣に手滅ぶなり
[すべてつるぎをとるものはつるぎにてほろぶなり, subete tsurugi o toru mono wa tsurugi ni tehorobu nari] all that take the sword will be destroyed by the sword (the Japanese version of Matthew 26:52)

住めば都
[すめばみやこ, sumeba miyako] a man’s home is his castle (lit.: if you live there, it is the capital)


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