Denka no Houtou (伝家の宝刀 – A Last Resort)

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    Denka no Houtou

    伝家の宝刀


    A measure of last resort that you use in an emergency is referred to as ‘denka no houtou‘ (伝家の宝刀) in Japanese.
    いざというときに出す、とっておきの切り札のことを、「伝家の宝刀」と言います。

    Den‘ (伝) means “tradition,” ‘ka‘ (家) means “family” or “house,” and the combination ‘denka‘ (伝家) means something that has been passed down in someone’s family for generations.
    「伝」は “tradition”、「家」は “family/house” を意味し、「伝家」で先祖代々その家に伝わることを意味します。

    In addition, ‘hou‘ (宝) means “treasure” and ‘tou‘ (刀) means “sword,” so the literal meaning of ‘denka no houtou’ is “a treasured sword that has been passed down in someone’s family for generations.”
    また、「宝」は “treasure”、「刀」は “sword” を意味するので、「伝家の宝刀」の文字通りの意味は “a treasured sword that has been passed down in someone’s family for generations” となります。

    Since such a sword of the heirloom is a strong weapon used in an emergency, this term came to have its current meaning.
    家宝として代々伝えられてきた刀はいざというときに使う強力な武器であることから、「伝家の宝刀」は現在の意味を持つようになったというわけです。

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