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Proverbs & Phrases

Welcome to the proverbs and phrases page. Like other languages, Japanese has code words (proverbs, idioms and phrasal verbs) that are used in everyday business. These are just a few of the many.
Proverbs & Phrases
English Phrases Romaji Japanese Phrases Comment
Descending from Heaven Ama kudari 天下り Leaving a high-level government job and getting a high-paying job in a private company is one example of this term.
Facade vs. reality Tatemae / Honne 建前 本音 Tatemae is the facade you put up to hide your true intentions whereas Honne is your true intention which you reveal after you won the deal. Used in business.
Keeping the team together Batsu Keeping the group together. Other batsu’s are “Zaibatsu”, keeping the company in one family. “Gakubatsu”, graduates from the same school. “Keibatsu”, upper-class families marrying into the same social class.
Looking for a weak spot Ashimoto wo miru 足元を見る Looking for a weakness in business and businessmen.
Oiling your way through life Abura o uru 油を売る To get a good job that pays well where you don’t have to work hard.
Oiling your way through life Toyama no kusuri 富山の薬 To get a good job that pays well where you don’t have to work hard.
The spirit of Japan Yamato Damashii 大和魂 The fighting spirit of Japan.
The Vertical Society Tate Shakai 縦社会 The class system in Japan.
Working like bees Baribari バリバリ A busy manner in which Japanese people are expected to work.