Nihongo no Benkyou

By Alexis Franks

Today’s Topic: Japanese proverb
Japanese: 日本の諺
Kana:  にほんのことわざ

Japanese: 三人寄れば文殊の知恵。
Romaji: Sannin yoreba Monju no chie.
Literal meaning: If three people gather, it`s Monju`s wisdom.
Closest English equivalent: Two heads are better than one.


Japanese: 三人
Kana: さんにん
English: three people

Japanese: 寄る
Kana: よる
English: to gather

Japanese: 文殊
Kana: もんじゅ
English: Monju (Buddhist bodhisattva)

Japanese: 知恵
Kana: ちえ
English: wisdom


  • N.1 + の + N.2  =  N.1’s N.2
  • V + え + ば =  if V


Mahayana Buddhism’s Monju Bosatsu is also called the Guardian of Buddhist Law. He is considered to be the wisest of the bodhisattva. In Japan, Monju is often depicted riding a shishi (mythical lion). In his left hand he holds the Sutra of Wisdom and in his right he holds a sword that he uses to cut through illusion. Many Japanese students ask Monju’s help in passing their school examinations.