EssayIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Kusattemo Tai (腐っても鯛 – A Good Horse Becomes Never a Jade)

  • Kusattemo Tai


    Truly excellent things or people would not lose their original value, even if they got somewhat worse.

    To express such a fact, you can use the Japanese proverb ‘kusattemo tai’ (腐っても鯛).

    ‘Kusaru’ (腐る) means “to rot,” ‘temo’ (ても) means “but,” and ‘tai’ (鯛) means “red sea bream.”
    「腐る」は “to rot,” 「ても」は逆接の接続詞、「鯛」は “red sea bream” を意味します。

    Therefore, the literal meaning of kusattemo tai is “It rotted, but it’s a red sea bream.”
    すなわち「腐っても鯛」の文字通りの意味は、”It rotted, but it’s red sea bream” です。

    Since read sea bream has a good look and a good taste, it is treated as a lucky item in Japan.

    Kusattemo tai is a kind of compliments, but using the verb kusaru (腐る – to rot) to someone is rude, so please be careful when you use it.

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