There are a countless number of yojijukugo. There’s a dictionary specializing in yojijukugo which has around 4000 entries, so there’s at least 4000 existing yojijukugo. Here, we’ve picked some of the idomatic yojijukugo we like that are used relatively frequently.
|Suffering from parting with loved ones. One of the eight sufferings in Buddhism.
|Enlightenment. To have a stable and calm heart and mind.
|To ignore what other people say.
|To endure hardships for a purpose. Derives from Chinese literature.
|One encouter is a once in a lifetime experience. Therefore, you should cherish your encounters with others.
|To make up one’s mind and take part in something.
|Good deeds done in the past will result in good results. Bad deeds done will result in bad results. One of the fundamental ideologies of Buddhism. Derives from Buddhist scripture.
|Equal in meaning to the English metaphor, “to catch two birds with one stone”. 一石(Isseki) means “one stone” while 二鳥(Nichou) means “two birds”. So, when translated literally, it would be, “one stone, two birds”.
|To dedicate everything to achieve something. To try hard.
|To ask oneself and to answer oneself.
|Even the most successful people will eventually weaken and die. This yojijukugo is famously used in the Heike Monogatari, a war chronicle from the Kamakura Period.
|Revival from the brink of death.
|The most bizarre and creative. It is often used positively to describe how incredible an idea is.
|An undisturbed, calm mind.
|To concentrate on one thing so much that you forget yourself.
|To adapt accooording to one’s circumstances.
|To work hard (often to learn something).
|To have no allies and be surrounded by enemies. It derives from an excerpt from the Shiji, a Chinese text covering the history of ancient China. In the excerpt, general Xiang Yu of the Chu is surrounded by a Han army and hears songs of the Chu being sung from the direction of the Han. From this, Xiang Yu thinks that even his troops have surrendered to the Han and despairs.
Shimen-soka is used to describe a situation in which one has no allies and is surrounded by enemies.
|A state of being sincere and having a strong heart and mind.
|Nothing in this world lasts forever. Everything in this world must change eventually. This is one of the fundamental ideologies of Buddhism and is often used to describe the shortness of a human’s life. The yojijukugo derives from the Buddhist text, Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra. It is also used in the Heike Monogatari, a war chronicle from the Kamakura Period.