CultureEssayEtymologyFoodHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Teki ni Shio wo Okuru (敵に塩を送る – Helping One’s Enemy in Difficulty)

  • Teki ni Shio wo Okuru


    When you help your enemy in trouble or distress, it is called teki ni shio wo okuru (敵に塩を送る) in Japanese.

    Since teki (敵) means “enemy,” shio (塩) means “salt,’ and okuru (送る) means “to send,” the literal meaning of teki ni shio wo okuru is “to send salt to the enemy.”
    「敵」は “enemy”、「塩」は “salt”、「送る」は ‘to send” を意味するので、「敵に塩を送る」の文字どおりの意味は “to send salt to the enemy” となります。

    This phrase was coined from the following anecdote:
    In the Sengoku period (period of warring states in Japan), Kenshin UESUGI sent salt to save people living in his enemy’s (Shingen TAKEDA’s) territory, who were suffering from a shortage of salt due to the economic blockade.

    This phrase teaches us that we should help each other as long as it is not the essential field of the conflict.

    Original sentence