Do you know this Yojijukugo, Four-character idiom : Ichinen-hokki(一念発起)?





In daily life, Yojijukugo, four-character idiom is very useful to write and make a conversation.

Each Yojijukugo has different meanings that come from our culture and history.

Do you know some of them?


Today, I’m introducing a four-character idiom; Ichinen-hokki (一念発起).

Do you know what it means?

For example, the yojijukugo is used in the following situation.


A: I did very badly on today’s exam. You?

B: Neither do I. I’m very worried about my future, and I think I need to study harder.

B: I have decided to mend my ways and study harder! I won’t play any more!

A: Oh, you have Ichinen-hokki(一念発起)!

(Next day)

B: Hey, did you study well yesterday?

A: well….

B: Well, good luck.


The idiom Ichinen-hokki(一念発起)is one of the most widely-known Yojijukugo, so some of you may know the meaning.


I’m explaining the detailed meaning of the four-character idiom, how to use, examples and the word origin.

I’m sure you will feel like using the idiom!



1. The meaning and the origin of Ichinen-hokki(一念発起)


The four-character idiom means to reform one’s way to think, and make his mind for the purpose of achieving something.


Ichinen(一念) means to believe strongly, and Hokki(発起) means to decide and to start doing something.


The Yojijukugo originally comes from Buddhism, which means that one reforms himself and decide to enter a Buddhist monastery.

Ichinen(一念) stems from the Buddist word Ichinen-tenni-tsuuzu(一念天に通ず), which has a similar meaning with the English proverb “Care and diligence brings you luck.”



2. The way to use Ichinen-hokki(一念発起) and the examples

Firstly, let’s see the way to use the useful four-character idiom!


You can utilize the Yojijukugo when you have

(1) decided to set a goal and make every efforts to achieve it,

(2) altered your ways to think and swear to achieve something,

or (3) made your mind to be dedicate to things you would like to achieve.


Then, I made some examples for you!


* 10年以上勤めた会社を辞め、一念発起してカフェを開店した。

(I quitted a company for which I worked for more than 10 years, made my mind and I opened my own coffee shop.)


* 遊び惚けていた彼は、一念発起して勉強し、志望大学に合格した。

( He, who had spent all of his time in idle amusement, reformed himself and started studying hard, and finally passed the entrance exam to the university in which he wanted to go.)


Here, you can find that the Yojijukugo 一念発起(ichinen-hokki) is used when someone determines to do something challenging.


The four-character idiom has several synonyms, such as, 一念発心(ichinen-hosshin), 一心発起(Isshin-hokki), and 感奮興起(kanpun-kouki).



How was it?

Yojijukugo, four-character idioms are so common that many people use it in daily conversation.

However, once you know their meanings and origins, you may feel it’s new for you.


I hope you enjoy using the idiom 一念発起(ichinen-hokki)!