CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Hari no Mushiro (針のむしろ – Bed of Nails)

  • Hari no Mushiro


    A bed of nails or a difficult situation with no rest at all is sometimes described as hari no mushiro (針のむしろ) in Japanese.

    Since hari (針) means “needle” and mushiro (むしろ) means “matting,” the literal meaning of hari no mushiro is “matting of needles.”
    「針」は “needle”、「むしろ」は “matting” を意味するので、「針のむしろ」の文字どおりの意味は “matting of needles” となります。

    This phrase now has the above meaning because it is too painful to sit on a matting with needles embedded in it.

    The adverb mushiro (むしろ/寧ろ), meaning “rather” or “instead,” has the same sound as the noun mushiro (むしろ/筵) in hari no mushiro, but these two are irrelevant.

    Original sentence