For the much-needed Instagram caption in Japanese or that one-liner to fill up that space in the Japanese Birthday Card you are planning to give to your Japanese friend, why not go with the Best Japanese Quotes in English and Japanese captions?
If you ever plan to Study in Japan or Work in Japan, or if you have a Japanese significant other or best friend, these famous Japanese proverbs in English and quotes will definitely help you in times when you need them or well, you want to sound smart.
Here, we are going to share 12 of our favorite Japanese Sayings and that we think you should know too!
12 Must-Know Japanese Sayings
- Saru mo ki kara ochiru (猿も木から落ちる)
Translation: Even monkeys fall from trees.
What this Japanese proverb is trying to say is that even the best of us fall down sometimes. For instance, monkeys are exceptionally good at climbing trees because it’s their second nature and yet, sometimes they fall. But when they fall, they always get back up, which is what we should do too even when we fail or make mistakes.
- Chansu wa jibun de tsukuru mono (チャンスは自分で作るもの。)
Translation: You create your own opportunities.
Not all the good things in life will come to you if you just stay idle. You need to go out there and make something for yourself.
- Kaeru no ko wa kaeru (蛙の子は蛙)
Translation: Child of a frog is a frog.
The equivalent of this famous Japanese proverb is “Like father, like son”. More often than not, the apples don’t fall far from the tree. Some children take after their father physically, some in their mannerisms, and some in their (the fathers’) footsteps.
- Nito o oumono wa itto o mo ezu (二兎を追う者は一兎をも得ず)
Translation: One who chases after 2 rabbits will not even catch one.
What this proverb is trying to say is that sometimes, when you try to do two or more things at once, you will not get the best outcome.
- Mae muki ni ne (前向きにね。)
Translation: Stay positive.
We live in a dog-eat-dog world and it is not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. However, even under the dark clouds, as long as we stay positive, we will definitely see the clear blue skies soon enough.
- Koketsu ni hairazunba koji o ezu (虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず)
Translation: If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.
In life, if you don’t take big risks, you will have a hard time succeeding at anything.
- Ame futte ji katamaru (雨降って地固まる)
Translation: After rain, comes fair weather.
This is another way of saying “After a storm comes a calm.” You may be having the worst day of your life, a chaotic day. But wait for it to pass because the calm will definitely come and you will be able to breathe peacefully again.
- Shippai wa seikou no moto (失敗は成功のもと)
Translation: Failure is the origin/foundation of success.
If you fail once, get back up. If you fail 10 times, get back up. Failure is what will take you to the top because, in every failure, there is a lesson to be learned.
- Dan dan jouzu ni natte kuru yo! (だんだん上手になってくるよ！)
Translation: You’ll get better as time goes by!
Like William Shakespeare once said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” you can achieve greatness or in other words, upskill yourself too, with time and dedication of course!
- Hito no furi mite waga furi naose (人のふり見てわがふり直せ)
Translation: Watch others’ behavior and correct your own behavior.
This is equivalent to the English proverb ‘One man’s fault is another’s lesson.’ observe those around you and learn from them.
- Ku areba raku ari (苦あれば楽あり)
Translation: There are hardships and also there are pleasures.
Sometimes in life, to get the good stuff, we need to go through hurdles and turbulence. Without pain, we do not gain.
- Shoshin wasuru bekarazu (初心忘るべからず)
Translation: Should not forget our original intention.
Always remember why you are there when you get there. In other words, it may take you several tries to master something because of a particular reason. Do let the trophies and prizes sway your true intentions.