CultureEssayHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionProverbUncorrected

Kōya no Shirobakama (紺屋の白袴 – The Shoemaker’s Children Go Barefoor)

  • Kōya no Shirobakama


    People who are so busy working on others that they have no time to do their own business are sometimes described as kōya no shirobakama (紺屋の白袴) in Japanese.

    Kōya (紺屋) was used in the Edo period to refer to a dyer.

    In addition, shiro (白) means “white,” and bakama/hakama (袴) is a type of traditional Japanese skirt, so the literal meaning of kōya no shirobakama is “a dyer’s white hakama.”
    また、「白」は “white”、「袴」は日本の伝統的な衣類であるため、「紺屋の白袴」の文字どおりの意味は “a dyer’s white hakama” となります。

    In other words, it means that a dyer is so busy dying other people’s clothes that they do not even have the time to dye their own hakama.

    Please try to use your time not only for others but also for yourself.

    Original sentence