Oni ni Kanabō (鬼に金棒 – Adding Wings to a Tiger)

  • Oni ni Kanabō


    When an already strong person or thing becomes stronger by adding something, it can be described as oni ni kanabō (鬼に金棒) in Japanese.

    Since oni (鬼) means “ogre” and kanabō (金棒) means “metal rod,” the literal meaning of oni ni kanabō is “giving a metal rod to an ogre.”
    「鬼」は “ogre”、「金棒」は “metal rod” を意味するので、「鬼に金棒」の文字どおりの意味は “giving a metal rod to an ogre” となります。

    As you can imagine, a strong ogre becomes incredibly strong when he obtains a weapon such as a metal rod.

    The word oni (鬼 – “ogre”) has a vicious image, however, the proverb oni ni kanabō is usually used in a positive sense.

    For example, you can use it in the following way: iro-iro na taikai de yoku yūshō shiteiru tenisu-bu ni, orinpikku keiken no aru kōchi ga funin shite kita. Masani oni ni kanabō da. (いろいろな大会でよく優勝しているテニス部に、オリンピック経験のあるコーチが赴任してきた。まさに鬼に金棒だ。 – meaning “The tennis club, which often wins various tournaments, has a new coach, a former Olympian. This club is going to be incredibly strong.”)

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