CultureEssayIdiomJapanese traditionUncorrected

A Tanuki’s (Raccoon Dog’s) Sleep

  • Today, I will write about a Japanese proverb “a tanuki’s sleep (tanuki neiri).”


    “A tanuki’s sleep” is to pretend to be asleep when you feel bad.

    The tanuki (raccoon dog) is a very timid animal, and pretends to be asleep (or loses consciousness) when it senses danger.

    Since the figure looks like a pretended sleep that deceives humans, we made the proverb “a tanuki’s sleep.”

    For the same reason, there is an expression “play possum” that means “a pretended sleep” in English.

    Also, there is another expression “a fox’s sleep.”
    同様の理由で、英語では「play possum (フクロネズミを演じる)」という表現があります。

    The reason is because foxes are sly and it’s thought that they deceive humans.
    また、英語では「a fox’s sleep (狐の眠り)」とも言います。

    By the way, I heard that there are little expressions like them except English and Japanese.

    Original sentence