CultureEssayHistoryIdiomJapanese traditionKanjiProverbUncorrected

Issho Kenmei / Isshō Kenmei (一所懸命と一生懸命 – With All One’s Might)

  • Issho Kenmei / Isshō Kenmei


    The four-character idioms issho kenmei (一所懸命) and isshō kenmei (一生懸命) are both used to describe engaging in something seriously with all one’s might.

    Since i/ichi (一) means “one,” sho (所) means “place,” and kenmei (懸命) means “with all one’s might,” the literal meaning of issho kenmei is “with all one’s might in one place.”
    「一」は “one”、「所」は “”、「懸命」は “” を意味するので、「一所懸命」の文字どおりの意味は “” となります。

    This idiom was derived from the fact that samurai defended a single territory with their lives.

    Later, shō (生 – meaning “life”) came to be used instead of sho, leading to the idiom isshō kenmei.
    その後、「所」の代わりに “life” を意味する「生」を使い、「一生懸命」とも言われるようになりました。

    In recent years, the term issho (一生 – meaning “a lifetime”) is more familiar than issho (一所 – meaning “one place” ), so isshō kenmei is used more often than issho kenmei.
    「一所」よりも “lifetime” を意味する「一生」のほうが馴染みのある単語であるため、最近は「一生懸命」が使われることが多くなってきているようです。

    Original sentence