Japanese Proverbs

A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle.

Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.

Art is the illusion of spontaneity.

Let what is past flow away downstream.

Adversity is the foundation of virtue.

You can know ten things by learning one.

Ten men, ten minds.

When you’re thirsty it’s too late to think about digging a well.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Gossip about a person and his shadow will appear.

There are no national frontiers to learning.

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s why there is an eraser on every pencil.

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

Better to be a crystal and to be broken, than to be a tile upon the housetop.

One kind word can warm three winter months.

A round egg can be made square according to how you cut it; words would be harsh according to how you speak them.

If you wait, there will come nectar – like fair weather.

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

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

Proof rather than argument.

Time flies like an arrow.

Life is for one generation; a good name is forever.

An ant hole may collapse an embankment.

Respect old people, and be gentle with children.

Books are preserved minds.

You can’t see the whole sky through a bamboo tube.

When someone is really hungry, then there is no such thing as “bad food.”

It is better to not read at all than to believe everything you read.

Cold tea and cold rice are tolerable; cold looks and cold words aren’t.

Truth often comes out of a joke.

It is better to write down something once than read it ten times.

To know and to act are one and the same.

One who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.

Some people like to make of life a garden, and to walk only within its paths.

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

Without oars, you cannot cross in a boat.

The inarticulate speak longest.

Who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one.

If you understand everything, you must be misinformed.

We are no more than candles burning in the wind.

Virtue is not knowing but doing.

Money grows on the tree of persistence.

It is the same life whether we spend it crying or laughing.

The day you decide to do it is your lucky day.

Fortune will call at the smiling gate.

To endure what is unendurable is true endurance.

The tongue is but three inches long, yet it can kill a man six feet high.

If you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to correct it.

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive disenchanted.

Beginning is easy – Continuing is hard.

With the first glass a man drinks wine, with the second glass the wine drinks the wine, with the third glass the wine drinks the man.

Do you need proof of God? Does one light a torch to see the sun?

One cannot quarrel without an opponent.

The person who admits ignorance shows it once; the one who tries to hide it shows it often.

The heart is the most essential human quality.

Instead of worrying, a strong man wears a smile.

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

Control your emotion or it will control you.

You can only endure the weaknesses of others by knowing your own.

Poor is the person who does not know when he has had enough.

Old people are everyone’s treasures.

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