Do laundry while demon is away? ~Introducing Japanese Proverbs, Kotowaza vol.5

Japanese proverbs, kotowaza

Minasan Ohayō gozaimasu!
Can you guess what is “Do laundry while demon is away”?

Let’s find it now!
I’ll show you 5 Japanese proverbs in this blog. Let’s get started!

Introducing 5 Japanese proverbs, vol.5 Video



kotowaza hyozan no ikkaku

Romaji: hyōzan no ikkaku

Word: hyōzan (氷山)= iceberg, ikkaku (一角)=tip, corner

Direct translation: Tip of the iceberg

Meaning: The small perceptible part of a much larger situation or problem that remains hidden.
The same Kotowaza as English one. 🙂

Example: Oh, you found a cockroach? They must be over 100 at least. What you found was just “hyōzan no ikkaku” dayo!



toki wa kanenari

Romaji: toki wa kane nari

Word: toki (時)= time,  kane (金) =money, gold

Direct translation: Time is money

Meaning: The same Kotowaza as English one. 🙂  Time is a valuable resource, therefore it’s better to do things as quickly as possible.

Example: Isoide! Hurry up! “toki wa kane nari” dayo!



warau kado niwa

Romaji: Warau kado niwa fuku kitaru

Word: warau (笑う)= smile/laugh,  kado (門)= gate,   fuku(福)= fortune, happiness,  kitaru (来たる)<-kuru”come”

Direct translation: Happiness comes to the smiling gate

Equivalent English expressions: Fortune comes in by a merry gate.   Laughter is the key to happiness

Example: Smile, and happiness will come to you. “Warau kado niwa fuku kitaru” dayo!
If you want to be happy, smile! because fortune comes to the people who looks happy.



oni no inuma ni sentaku kotowaza

Romaji: oni no inu ma ni sentaku

Word: oni (鬼)= demon, goblin,   inu (居ぬ)<- inai= absent,   ma (間) = while, during, moment,   sentaku (洗濯)=washing clothes

Direct translation: Washing clothes while the demon is away

Equivalent English Proverb: When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Example: Scary mother is on a trip tonight! Let’s enjoy ourself now! oni no inu ma ni sentaku♪ 


(ながいものには まかれろ)

nagai mono niwa makarero

Romaji: nagai mono niwa makarero

Word: nagai mono (長い物)=long thing -the meaning is “powerful, authority”,   makarero (巻かれろ)=let them roll you

Direct translation: For the long thing, let it roll you

Meaning: If you can’t beat them, join them.  Bow to the authority.  You can’t fight city hall.

Example: No.. you can’t fight them. They are too strong. Why don’t you become their friend? “nagai mono niwa makarero“dayo.


How was it? Dō deshita ka?
Do you have your favorite Kotowaza?
Hope you enjoyed the 5 Japanese proverbs introduced this time!



Find out the 10 most famous Japanese proverbs!


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