Zyakkan (弱冠 – Tender Age)

  • Zyakkan


    When expressing a “20 year-old boy” or a “young person,” you can use the term zyakkan (弱冠).

    Zyakkan was derived from a system in Zhou.

    In the past in China, a 20 year-old boy was called 弱, which means young; then he celebrated his coming of age and wore a 冠, which means a crown.

    Therefore, zyakkan (弱冠) originally meant a 20 year-old boy, but these days it is usually used to mean a young person.

    For example, you can say 彼は弱冠18歳で世界記録を出した (Kare wa zyakkan 18-sai de sekaikiroku wo dashita – He got a world record at only 18 years old) or 彼女は弱冠30歳で教授になった (Kanojo wa zyakkan 30-sai de kyoju ni natta – She became a professor at the age of mere 30).

    There is the other Japanese term 若干, which has the same reading as 弱冠, but note that the meaning is quite different — zyakkan (若干) means that the amount of something is small.

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