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Hitosujinawa de wa Ikanai (一筋縄ではいかない – Being Never Easy)

  • Hitosujinawa de wa Ikanai


    When a standard way of doing something does not work, it can be described as hitosujinawa de wa ikanai (一筋縄ではいかない) in Japanese.

    Since hito (一) means “one,” suji (筋) is a counter suffix, and nawa (縄) means “rope,” the literal meaning of hitosujinawa (一筋縄) is “one rope.”
    「一」は “one”、「筋」は助数詞、「縄」は “rope” を意味するので、「一筋縄」の文字どおりの意味は “one rope” となります。

    A rope can be used as a simple tool, so hitosujinawa came to mean “a standard way.”

    If you add the negative term ikanai (いかない) and say hitosujinawa de wa ikanai, you can get the above meaning.

    In almost all cases, the word hitosujinawa is used with the negative term.

    Original sentence