CultureEssayHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Uso mo Houben

  • Today I will talk about the Japanese proverb “uso mo houben.”


    “Uso mo houben” means that sometimes you need to tell a lie for the attainment of your purpose.

    Here, “uso” means “a lie,” and “houben” means a way to lead a person closer to enlightenment in Buddhism.

    It is said that this proverb comes from the following parable called “sansha kataku” in Buddhist scriptures.

    Once upon a time, an old man’s mansion was on fire.

    Children who were playing in the mansion didn’t notice the fire, and they didn’t go outside despite the persuasion of the old man.

    Then the old man said “a sheep carriage, a deer carriage, and a cow carriage that you wanted are outside of this house,” and led the children out.

    Original sentence