15+ Japanese Sayings & Proverbs. Part 5 (Success Version)

Welcome back to Part 5 of Sayings & Proverbs!

Read part 4 here.

Today’s a special topic! You’ll learn Japanese proverbs and sayings about success. And before we start, so you know, the Japanese word and kanji (symbol) for success are:

Kanji: 成功
Hiragana: せいこう
Pronunciation: Seikou

You’re going to see it all over this article. This a great way to learn Japanese. A great way to get motivated. And get some insight into famous Japanese proverbs as well. Let’s start with the sayings first.

1. Repeated failures lead to success.

  • 失敗を繰り返すことで、成功に至る。
  • Shippai wo kurikaesu koto de, seikou ni itaru.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

Everyone hopes to get it right on the first try. The truth is, you need to try, fail, try, fail and try again and again til you get good at something. Especially the Japanese language.

2. It’s more important to not fail than to succeed.

  • 成功する事よりも、失敗しない事の方が重要だ。
  • Seikou suru koto yori mo, shippai shinai koto no hou ga juuyou da.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

In case you really don’t wait to fail – as in quit. That is true “failure.”

3. You’ll get better as time goes by!

  • だんだん上手になってくるよ!
  • Dan dan jouzu ni natte kuru yo!

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

Everybody wonders how people get so talented and skilled. It’s just time and work.

4. That’s enough for me to keep going!

  • それだけで頑張れます!
  • Sore dake de ganbaremasu!

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

Sometimes, all you need is a coffee to keep going. Great saying to know in Japanese.

5. I’ll do my best to find my dreams and goals.

  • しっかりとした目標、夢見つけて負けずに頑張ろ。
  • Shikkari to shita mejirushi, yume mitsukete makezuni ganbarou.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

For those of you that didn’t set their goals and dreams. Well, if anything, you should be learning Japanese – that should be your goal and dream. But yeah, choose something. It won’t come to you because… see #56.

6. You create your own opportunities.

  • チャンスは自分で作るもの。
  • Chansu wa jibun de tsukuru mono.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

Things won’t come to you. You have to go to them. Want to learn Japanese, you’ll need create the opportunity to get better by studying. You need to get up. You need to go. Or, you can choose to sit here and not create opportunities.

7. People learn from their mistakes.

  • 人は失敗から学ぶ。
  • Hito wa shippai kara manabu.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

That’s one thing books can’t teach us. They can tell us facts and instructions. But it’s by us doing, practicing and making mistakes is when we learn what to do and “not” to do.

8. Don’t be swayed by those around you! Believe in yourself!

  • 周りに流されるな!己を信じろ!
  • Mawari ni nagasareru na! Onore wo shinjiro!

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

Not everyone has your best interests in mind. Even parents and friends often do not despite thinking that they do.

9. “Stay positive”

  • 前向きにね。
  • Mae muki ni ne.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

And of course, this one. A good phrase to know in Japanese and to use when you’re down.

The above are just sayings. Here are some actual proverbs:

10. He who runs after two hares will catch neither.

  • 二兎追うもの一兎も得ず。
  • Nito ou mono itto mo ezu.

If you try doing two things at once, you’ll fail both of them. In this case, you cannot catch two rabbits at once. Choose one. Focus on it. Choose one thing for now. Focus on becoming really good at it.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

11. The sum of the year is on New Year’s day.

  • 一年の計は元旦にあり。
  • Ichinen no kei wa gantan ni ari.
  • Meaning: Preparation and planning are the foundations of success.

The translation is “The sum of the year is on New Year’s day.”

What’s the connection between the literal translation and the meaning?

Well, if you worked at something for 365 days of the year, you’ve been preparing and improving all year round. That builds up. That way, on the next New Year’s Day, your ability/skill the sum of your hard work from the past year.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com
12. To rush is good.

  • 善は急げ。
  • Zen wa isoge.
  • Meaning: “It is good to hurry” or “strike while the iron’s hot.”

Sure, rushing all the time isn’t always good, but when an opportunity presents itself – you better grab it. It’s zen to rush.

Linguajunkie.com Japanese Proverbs
13. Haste makes waste.

  • 急がば回れ。
  • Isogaba maware
  • Meaning: Haste makes waste.

So, the translation is: “If you rush, you’ll go around in circles.”

A bit contradictory given the previous proverb, right? Well, not all rushing and busyness is necessary. Most of the time, people make themselves busy with useless things… instead of focusing on what’s important.

Besides, if you rush through your work, you won’t be doing a good job.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

14.  Failure is the stepping stone to success.

  • 失敗は成功のもと
  • Shippai wa seikou no moto
  • Meaning: Failure is the stepping stone to success

The literal translation is “Failure is the origin/foundation of success.” You get the point. In other words, failure teaches us what actions should we change in order to achieve success.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

15. Even Buddhist teachings scrolls have brush slips.

  • 弘法にも筆の誤り。
  • Koubou ni mo fude no ayamari.
  • Meaning: Even the greatest expert or master sometimes fails.

The literal translation is: Even Buddhist teaching scrolls/scripts have some brush slips.

Anyone can make a mistake. Nobody’s perfect. This is another Japanese proverb variation for “everyone makes mistakes.” And in this case, it’s the Buddhist scrolls that have brush slips and errors.

Japanese success quotes by Linguajunkie.com

And that’s it!

What are your favorite Japanese proverbs about success?

Or do you have any favorite success quotes in general?

What else belongs on this list? I’ll read all of your answers.

Leave me a comment below!

Other lessons you will absolutely love:

– The Main Junkie

P.S. I highly recommend this for Japanese learners. If you REALLY want to learn to Japanese with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning!


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