Zento Tanan (前途多難 – Many Difficulties in Future), Zento Yōyō (前途洋々 – Bright Future)

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    Zento Tanan, Zento Yōyō

    前途多難 / 前途洋々


    To explain that there are many difficulties ahead, you can use the Japanese idiom zento tanan (前途多難).
    これから先に多くの困難が待ち構えているさまを、「前途多難」といいます。

    Since zen (前) means “forward,” to (途) means “on the way,” ta (多) means “many,” and nan (難) means “difficulty,” zento tanan literally means “there are many difficulties on the way forward.”
    「前」は “forward”、「途」は “midway”、「多」は “many”、「難」は “difficulty” を意味するので、「前途多難」は文字どおり “there are many difficulties on the way forward” ということです。

    On the other hand, to explain a bright and hopeful future, you can use the Japanese idiom zento yōyō (前途洋々).
    一方、将来の見通しが明るく希望に満ちているさまを、「前途洋々」といいます。

    Yo (洋) means “sea” or “spreading water,” and by adding the character 々 (meaning repetition of the previous character), it becomes yōyō (洋々), which means “water is full and spreading endlessly” or “hopeful.”
    「洋」は「海」や「水が広がるさま」を意味し、直前の字の繰り返しを意味する「々」をつけて「洋々」とすることで、「水が満ちて限りなく広がっているさま」や「希望に満ちたさま」の意味になるというわけです。

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