CultureEssayIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Kyūso Neko wo Kamu (窮鼠猫を噛む – A Cornered Mouse Bites a Cat)

  • Kyūso Neko wo Kamu


    When the weak are pushed into a desperate situation, they may fight back against the strong with all their might.

    The proverb kyūso neko wo kamu (窮鼠猫を噛む) describes such a situation.

    Since kyūso (窮鼠) means “cornered mouse,” neko (猫) means “cat,” and kamu (噛む) means “to bite,” the literal meaning of this proverb is “a cornered mouse bites a cat.”
    「窮鼠」は「追い詰められて逃げ場を失ったねずみ」、「猫」は “cat”、「噛む」は “to bite” を意味するので、「窮鼠猫を噛む」の文字どおりの意味は “” となります。

    Even when there is a difference in strength, as between a cat and a mouse, the mouse might defeat the cat if it becomes desperate in a critical situation.

    In other words, this proverb contains two lessons: “Do not give up even if your opponent is strong” and “Do not guard down even if your opponent is weak.”

    Original sentence