CultureEssayEtymologyHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiUncorrected

Daijōbu (大丈夫 – It’s Okay) Part 2

  • Previously, I introduced you to the Japanese term 大丈夫 (daijōbu), which is often used as the meaning of “it’s okay” or “no problem.”

    大丈夫 Part 2

    以前私は “it’s okay” や “no problem” の意味でよく使われる「大丈夫」という日本語を紹介しました。

    Today I’d like to talk about its etymology.

    大 (dai) means “big,” 丈 (jō) means a unit of length based on a height of an adult male, and 夫 (bu/fu) means “man.”
    「大」は “big,” 「丈」は成人男性の身長を基準とした長さの単位、「夫」は “man” を意味します。

    In the past in China, adult men were called 丈夫, and especially fully grown men were called 大丈夫.

    After this term was brought to Japan, the meaning of fully grown men was extended to other meanings; “it’s strong,” “it’s okay,” and “no problem.”

    Incidentally, the length of 1 丈 was about 1.8 meters in those days in China, but now it is about 3 meters.
    ちなみに、1 丈 は当時の中国では約 1.8 m でしたが、今では 約 3 m となっています。

    Original sentence