Hiniku (皮肉 – Sarcasn/Irony)

  • Hiniku


    I heard that English has many sarcasm and irony.

    Sarcasm and irony are called hiniku (皮肉) in Japanese.
    “Sarcasm” や “irony” は日本語で「皮肉」と言われます。

    Hi (皮) means “skin” and niku (肉) means “flesh,” so the literal meaning of hiniku is “skin and flesh.”
    「皮」は “skin,” 「肉」は “flesh” を意味するので、「皮肉」の文字通りの意味は “skin and flesh” となります。

    This word came from the Buddhist term hiniku-kotsuzui (皮肉骨髄), which was used by Daruma Daishi (the founder of a Buddhist sect) to evaluate his desciples.

    Kotsu (骨 – bone) and zui (髄 – marrow) imply “essential understanding,” whereas hi (皮 – skin) and niku (肉 – flesh) imply “surface understanding.”

    Since hi and niku was a critical evaluation, hiniku came to have its current meaning.

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