Manaita no Ue no Koi

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


carp on the cutting board

(doomed, in the hands of God, at the mercy of fate)

This fatalistic expression is used when one feels helpless to control one’s immediate destiny. The foreboding overtone comes from the knowledge of what inevitably befalls a fish laid out on a cutting board.

Sample text:
(Style: spoken/casual/A=female, B=male)

A: Murata-san ne, shakkin ga kasanatte toosan sunzen na n da te. Ato wa ginkoo no dekata shidai to you koto rashii wa.
B: Soreja marukkiri manaita no ue no koi janai ka. Shinseki ka shiriai no tsute de doonika naranai no ka ne.

A: 村田さんね、借金しゃっきんがかさなって倒産寸前とうさんすんぜんなんだって。あとは銀行の出方次第ということらしいわ。
B: それじゃまるっきりまな板の上の鯉じゃないか。親戚しんせきか知り合いのつてでどうにかならないのかね。

A: I hear that Mr. Murata is in great debt and is on the verge of bankruptcy. It all seems to depend on the bank now.
B: He’s doomed then. Can’t his relatives and friends do something about it?

Japanese Idioms

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