CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Nicchimo Sacchimo Ikanai

  • Today I will talk about the phrase “nicchimo sacchimo ikanai”.


    “Nicchimo sacchimo ikanai” means that something/someone is completely pinned down.

    This phrase comes from an abacus term “nshin-mo sanshin-mo”.

    “Nishin” means “two divided by two”, “sanshin” means “three divided by three”, and both of them can be calculated without remainder.

    From these terms, “nishin-mo sanshin-mo ikanai” (both nishin and sanshin can’t go well) came to express that a number can’t be divided by 2 and 3, then it came to mean that a calculation with abacus doesn’t go well.

    Furthermore it came to mean that business doesn’t go well, finally it came to mean the meaning mentioned at the beginning.

    Original sentence