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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.



釣った魚は餌をやらない
[つったさかなはえさをやらない/tsutta sakana wa esa o yaranai] There is no need to feed a fish once it has been caught. (i.e.: after you have hooked a man/woman, you can take him/her for granted).

妻は下より選ぶべし、友は上より選ぶべし
[つまはしたよりえらぶべし、ともはうえよりえらぶべし, tsuma wa shita yori erabubeshi, tomo wa ue yori erabu beshi] choose a wife from a lower station in life, and friends from a higher station in life.

釣り落とした魚は大きい
[つりおとしたうおはおおきい, tsuri-otoshita uo wa ookii] the fish that got away was the biggest.


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