Aug 10, 2006

Kotowaza of the day: Techniques in PR, pt. 1

Japanese:
餓鬼の断食、悪女の賢者ぶり

Romanized:
Gaki no danjiki, akujo no kenjaburi

Meaning of Japanese:
The fasting of a starved devil, the affected wisdom of a wicked woman

English equivalent:
Don't make a virtue of necessity

6 Comments:

At 8/13/2006 3:45 AM, Blogger Safety Neal said...

What an interesting Kotowaza. I'm not sure I understand it, tho. Can you use it in a paragraph?

 
At 8/13/2006 2:07 PM, Blogger Mun Mun said...

Is this like when your cat accidentally falls off the couch and has a look on its face as if to say, "I meant to do that."

 
At 8/14/2006 11:34 PM, Blogger eBohn said...

Safety-
Yours is the first comment here regarding the opacity of this kotowaza, but certainly not the only such feedback I received. I had a couple messages in my inbox asking for clarification, and one kind person without a computer even took the extra time to post me a hand-written letter requesting some explanation.

Oh! What's that? Was I praising the letter writer (ignoring the unlikelihood that SHe would have seen the kotowaza without a computer)? Was I making a virtue of that poor soul's necessity?

To be honest, the second half of this kotowaza has me baffled, but I think that's the gist of the first half. The "devil" is being starved, Tantalus-like, in the afterlife - we should not credit him with whatever virtues we associate with fasting.

Mun-
That's funny. I wish it meant that... this kotowaza might have a much wider appeal then. I guess if you award your cat a trophy for such acrobatics it might fit. ;-)

 
At 8/15/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger Mun Mun said...

I wonder if praising the affected wisdom of a wicked woman would sound something like, "She sure knows how to nurse a hangover!" Or mayhe it's like, "Wow, she killed three people. She must be deep."

 
At 2/21/2008 2:38 PM, Blogger Whitworth said...

naww, seems like a more severe version of the Proverb "a foolish women destroys her house with her own hands", or better yet and much more elegant than "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." (or any ornery woman, whether scorned or not, IM!HO)

 
At 11/09/2008 6:40 PM, Blogger Sean M said...

Great site.

I agree with eBohn regarding the first half. Although it may also mean a "devil" in the figurative sense of someone who is completely immoral (and therefore, incapable of a moral act such as fasting).

As for the second part, it's got me stumped. 賢者ぶり in addition to "affected wisdom", may also have the connotation of high virtue or wisdom (in a moral sense). 悪女 can also mean "ugly" woman. The combination could mean that an ugly woman cannot claim to be moral or wise by virtue of the fact that she has little opportunity for deviant behavior.

(Yes, this is a long bow to draw).

 

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