Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Japanese Proverbs


"A concentrated mind will pierce a rock."

"Failure teaches success."

"Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water."

"Fortune and misfortune are like the twisted strands of a rope."

"If you wish to learn the highest ideals, begin with the alphabet."

"The gods only laugh when men pray to them for wealth."

"One good deed is better than fasting at a shrine."

"Too much courtesy is discourtesy."

"A warrior deems life a light thing when compared to honor."

"A long life has many shames."

"The heaviest rains fall on the leaky house."

"The mind is host, the body guest."

"Against reason, no sword will prevail."

"A tiger dies and leaves his skin; a man dies and leaves his name."

"Failure is the source of success."

"Boasting begins where the wisdom stops."

"Books are preserved minds."

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

"He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger."

"He who can see three days ahead will be rich for three thousand years."

"I will master something, then the creativity will come."

"If you wish to learn the highest truth, you must begin with the alphabet."

"He who sees righteousness and does not do it is not brave."

"It is easier to rule a kingdom than to regulate a family."

"If you believe everything you read, better not read."

"It is better to be ignorant than to be mistaken."

"Life is for one generation, a good name is forever."

"The castle is not overthrown by precaution."

"The grief of parting and the agony of separation are the ways of the world."

"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour."

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."

"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends."

"When you have your own children you will understand your obligation to your parents."

"There is no education that can surpass privations."

"Valor and boastfulness never buckle on the same sword."

"Treasures laid up in the mind do not decay."

"Wholeheartedness will pierce a rock."

"Wisdom and virtue are like the two wheels of a cart."

"A bad wife spells a hundred years of bad harvest."

"A child is a neck-shackle for the Three States of Existence."

"A clever hawk hides its talons."

"A bee to a crying face."

"A coin to a cat (Don't offer things to people who are incapable of appreciating them)."

"A devil takes a goblin to wife."

"A dog that walks around will find a stick."

"A crooked top on a crooked kettle."

"A dog will remember a three days' kindness for three years; while a cat will forget three years."

"A difficult task, e. g. removing a person/group from a strong position, or changing established ideas cannot be done quickly. It can be achieved gradually, by small steps, a little at a time."

"A faithful wife does not marry again."

"A faultless person has seven faults; a faulty person forty-eight faults."