Do you know the meaning of the idiom? : 美人薄命

Many of you may think that it’s very useful in daily conversation to use proverbs, four-character idioms, when you speak in Japanese.

Each of them has a different meaning and origin.

How many do you know?


Today, I’m introducing a famous Japanese four-character idiom “美人薄命 (Bijin-hakumei).”

Do you know what it means, and how it is used?


I’m telling you the meaning and the origin of the Japanese four-character idiom, and the way it is used.

I hope you have fun using it!



1. The meaning and the origin of the four-character idiom “美人薄命(bijin-hakumei)”



The four-character idiom “美人薄命(bijin-hakumei)” means, that a beautiful person (usually a woman) is often in an unhappy situation.


Each character has the following meaning;


* 美(bi) : beautiful

* 人(jin) : person

* 薄(haku) : thin, small amount, short, etc.

* 命(mei) : life



Sometimes the four character idiom “美人薄命” is written as “佳人薄命(kajin-hakumei)” and it also has the same meaning with “美人薄命.”


We don’t know exactly where the four-character idiom came from.

It is said that the idiom dates back to the late 10C to the early 12C, the era of Sou(宋) in China, a poet named Soshoku (蘇軾) made a poem, and possibly the idiom

was a part of a poem he wrote.



2. The way to use the four-character idiom “美人薄命”



You can use the four-character idiom “美人薄命” when you want to;


* to give someone an example that shows that a beautiful woman can’t live happily because of her beauty

* to tell someone things about a beautiful woman who is sickly

* explain things about a woman, who you know is so beautiful that she stands out in her environment, which results in her having a lot of troubles and leading a life with ups and downs.
Here, I give you some examples.


* クラス一の美人である彼女は、男性関係のトラブルによく遭い、美人薄命だ。
She has a life like “美人薄命,” because her beauty brings her a lot of troubles about men.


* 美人女優にはスキャンダルは付き物で、美人薄命なのかもしれない。
A beautiful actress has a “美人薄命” life, because she gets caught up in a scandal so often.


* ストーカーに殺されるなんて、美人薄命とはよく言うが恐ろしい世の中だ。
A woman was killed by a stalker. Though it’s frequently said that a beautiful woman has an unhappy life, our society is in a horribe situation.
In general, a woman who often gets caught up in a bad accident or often become ill is described as “美人薄命.”



3. The synonyms of the four-character idiom “美人薄命”



There are some synonyms of “美人薄命.”


I give you some of them.


* 紅顔薄命(kougan-hakumei)

* 才子多病(saishi-tabyou)

* 佳人薄命(kajin-hakumei)


才子(saishi)means a man who is talented.
In the past, a lot of talented people tended to be ill often, and the idiom “才子多病” was made.




How was it?

Maybe some of you may feel easy to describe what you feel, using widely-used Japanese proverbs and idioms, and also they sometimes work effectively when you want to tell someone exactly what you think in Japanese.


I hope you find something interesting in things what you know today, and have fun using it!