Minoru hodo Atama no Aagaru Inaho Kana

[Japanese Idioms by Flashcards]


The mature rice plant lowers its head.

(Maturity brings humility and respect for others.)

For the Japanese, moss is something to be admired. Associated with beauty, moss grows on rocks and in pathways of old temples in places like Kyoto. Yet the stone that continues to tumble will never have moss. So this expression is often used to admonish others to stay put, to continue on in the same job. Ironically, this expression is also used by some Japanese to mean the very opposite, i.e., the meaning understood by Americans: keep moving or you’ll get old.

Sample text:
(Style: written/informal)

A: Kondo irashita Tayama fukushachoo ne, rippana katarashii wa nee. Mooshibun nai hitogara tte uwasa yo.
B: Soo na n da. Sore ni tottemo kenkyode, ibatteiru tokoro 
ga mattaku nai hito rashii ne.
A: “Minoru hodo atama no sagaru inaho kana” tte 
kotowaza ga pittari no kata yo.

A: 今度いらした田山副社長たやまふくしゃちょうね、立派りっぱな方らしいわねえ。申し分ない人柄ってうわさよ。
B: そうなんだ。それにとっても謙虚けんきょでいばっているところが全くない人らしいね。

A: You know the new vice-president Tayama. I hear he’s a wonderful person. They say his personality is just ideal.
B: I agree. Besides, he seems to be humble and never 
A: He’s the type that perfectly fits the proverb, “The 
mature rice plant lowers its head.”

Japanese Idioms

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