CultureEssayEtymologyHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Hobo wo Kamu (To Bite a Belly Button)

  • Hobo wo Kamu


    Today I will talk about the idiom “hozo wo kamu.”

    “Hozo” means “a belly button” (“hozo” is commonly said as “heso” in Japan), “kamu” means “to bite”, and “hozo wo kamu” describes to bitterly regret or to cry over split milk.

    This idiom comes from the fact that even if you try to bite your belly button, your mouth would never reach it.

    It has been confirmed that this idiom had been used in ancient Chinese stories during the Chunqiu period.

    By the way, although both “heso” and “hozo” have the same meaning “a belly button” and the same kanji character “臍”, “heso wo kamu” is regarded as a wrong usage.

    Original sentence