有言実行 = Execute (a plan): Japanese Term of the Day


I came across this article about Terunofuji but was unsure of how to translate this term:有言実行 (yugen jikko) and translation sites were just giving a bunch of word salad. So, I asked my wife. In English we don’t seem to have a direct translation for this four-character idiom (these idioms are called 四字熟語, yoji jukugo) but it seems it’s close to the way athletes and coaches talk about “execution”. It’s not an empty boast since they have a plan and follow through. These four-character idioms are very important in Japanese. They study them in school growing up and my wife said that in a job interview she was asked what her favorite was – she doesn’t remember the answer.

Basically, the gist of the article was that Terunofuji had a plan to beat four particular strong rikishi: Ichinojo, Takayasu, Takekaze, and Tochinoshin. Since he did it, he was able to execute on his plan and had a successful tournament, capped off with the victory over Hakuho. (Perhaps he should have added Kaisei to that list.)  Anyway, if anyone else has any insight into a good translation for the term 有言実行, it would be nice to get a discussion going in the comment section.

4 thoughts on “有言実行 = Execute (a plan): Japanese Term of the Day

  1. Wasn’t there a story doing the rounds that Terunofuji didn’t try hard against Kaisei due to a severly upset stomach? The gist being he was worried that if he pushed to hard he would… ahem… lose control down below?

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  2. Whoops… I meant to post that on the previous article. I’m in no position to discuss the Japanese language – anything beyond ‘Habia Dori-wa, doko desuka?’ Or ‘biru, nihon onigeishimas’ and I’m lost.

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