Kankodori (閑古鳥 – Cuckoo)

  • Kankodori


    In my post yesterday, I explained that cuckoos are not very auspicious in Japan.

    A cuckoo is sometimes called kankodori (閑古鳥) in Japanese.

    Since kan (閑) means “quiet,” ko (古) means “old,” and tori/dori (鳥) means “bird,” the literal meaning of kankodori is a quiet old bird.
    「閑」は “quiet”、「古」は “old”、「鳥」は “bird” を意味するので、「閑古鳥」の文字どおりの意味は “quiet old bird” となります。

    In addition, by adding naku (鳴く – meaning “call”) to that, it becomes the idiom, kankodori ga naku (閑古鳥が鳴く – “a cuckoo calls”).
    また、”call” を意味する「鳴く」をつけると、「閑古鳥が鳴く」という慣用句になります。

    Cuckoos’ calls echo lonely in mountains far from town, giving a sad impression.

    Because of this, the phrase kankodori ga naku became an idiom to describe a quiet store that is not prosperous.

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