CultureEssayEtymologyHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionUncorrected

Ashi wo Arau (Wash One’s Feet)

  • Today, I will talk about the Japanese idiom “ashi wo arau.”


    The literal meaning is “to wash one’s feet,” and it expresses “to quit crime or evil jobs.”

    It’s thought that this idiom comes from Buddhism.
    文字通りの意味は “to wash one’s feet” ですが、「悪事や悪い仕事をやめる」ことを表します。

    In Buddhism, Buddhist priests walk around with their bare feet for ascetic training.

    After they return back to temples, they wash their dirty feet for purifying spirits of evil thought in a secular world, then

    From this fact, “ashi wo arau” (to wash one’s feet) came to mean “to quit bad things.”

    There is another theory about the etymology, which comes from that Jesus Christ washed his disciple’s feet, but it lacks credibility because the unspoken meaning is different.

    Original sentence