Want to know some Japanese sayings about family?
You got it. In the past, we covered:
But today, let’s talk about Japanese family quotes and proverbs.
In Japanese, family is “kazoku (家族),” and today…
….I’ll quickly run you through 1) the sayings, 2) the pronunciations (if you’re learning Japanese), and 3) the explanations for each one.
So, let’s jump in.
1) 氏より育ち。How you grow up is more important than blood
- Uji yori sodachi
In this saying, there is an emphasis on how it doesn’t matter what blood or household you come from. It’s saying, “nurture over nature.” The difference between people comes from their upbringing and education. This can be an uplifting saying because it gives hope for future change and growth.
2) 泣く子は育つ。Babies that cry grow
- Nakuko wa sodatsu
This is a useful Japanese saying for new parents. When babies cry a lot it can be very worrisome. You might start to think that the baby is in pain or unhappy. However, it’s good to remember that crying is a way of communicating. Crying means that they are in good health and will grow up strong.
3) 腹が立つなら親を思いだせ。Remember your parents when you get angry
- Hara ga tatsu nara oya o omoi dase
If you’re about to do something reckless, this saying can be a great reminder to remember how your parents would react. Thinking about how your parents might feel can stop you from acting out in anger.
4) 父の恩は山よりも高く、母の恩は海よりも深し。What you owe your father is higher than the mountain, what you owe your mother is deeper than the ocean
- Chichi no on wa yama yori mo takaku, haha no on wa umi yori mo fukashi
This is a great saying about your family because children often forget how much their parents have sacrificed for them. This phrase beautifully relates the mountains and ocean to what you owe your parents. Whenever you can, you should show your parents appreciation for everything that they’ve done.
5) 笑う門には福来る。 Good things come to families that laugh
- Warau kado ni wa fuku kitaru
It has been said that even forced laughter can actually make us happy. In this Japanese saying, it emphasizes how families that laugh together will eventually find luck and happiness. If families are laughing together, they have the mental space to be able to enjoy life and support each other.
6) 子は鎹 A child is like a nail
- Ko wa kasugai
Kasugai means a nail that holds together wood in Japanese. This saying is a metaphor on how children can bind together their parents. Having children can make a couple’s bond stronger even during hard times.
7) いつまでもあると思うな親と金。 Don’t think you’ll have your parents or money forever
- Itsumade mo aru to omou na oya to kane
This saying is meant for children to learn how to become self-sufficient from an early age. As time passes, your parents will eventually pass away. If you use money, it will eventually run out. Remembering that nothing is permanent is an important part of becoming an adult.
8) 親思う心にまさる親心。Parental feelings are stronger than what the child feels for parents
- Oya omou kokoro ni masaru oya gokoro.
This Japanese saying is about how a parent’s feeling for their child will always be stronger than the child’s feelings for parents. Parents love their children unconditionally from the moment they are born. When kids grow up, they tend to distance themselves as adults and won’t rely so much on their parents. Although kids will still care for the parents, it won’t be as strong as the parent.
9) 血で血を洗う。Washing blood with blood
- Chi de chi o arau
In this saying, it is referring to the situation when family members fight with each other. Even though you would normally wash blood away with water, washing it with blood would make it more dirty. In this way, the saying highlights how fighting with family can often be worse than fights with other people.
10) 姉女房は身代の薬。An older wife is medicine for the husband
- Ane nyoubou wa shindai no kusuri
This is an old saying that talks about how an older wife could be great for managing the household and caring for the husband. As you can see, the saying highlights traditional Japanese values where a wife is expected to stay at home while a husband is working. In modern times, this could simply mean that an older wife has more experience and can help to lead the family.
11) 子は三界の首枷。A child is like a choker
- Ko wa sangai no kubi kase
Having a child can be both a gift and a curse. In this saying, it talks about how having a kid can be like a choker in your past, present, and future. No matter what, you will be tied down by feelings for the child during your entire life. There is no way to break the connection that is made when you have a child.
12) 親に目なし。Parents have no eyes
- Oya ni me nashi
This Japanese saying is about how parents can’t look at their child without being biased. Your own child will always seem better than others. It also means that when a child misbehaves, the parent will not realize that the child has done something bad. Instead of scolding the child, the parent might try to blame others for their actions.
13) 福は無為に行ず。Happiness can’t be forced
- Fuku wa mui ni shouzu.
If you want happiness for your family, it’s important to take a step back. This saying is about how you can’t force happiness. If you try to have too much, you won’t find anything. Instead, happiness comes from those who wait for it to happen naturally.
Now, you know some interesting Japanese quotes and proverbs about family.
If you want to remember these phrases, print out this page.
If you have a favorite Japanese phrase, leave a comment.
I read ’em all.
– The Main Lingua Junkie