Japanese Proverb: Birth is much, but breeding is more


Photo by Aramand Agasi / Published under Flickr Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Originally published Dec. 15, 2009.

By Greg Beck

Today’s Topic:  諺 / ことわざ / Proverb




This can be translated as “Birth is much, but breeding is more.” Scientifically, it brings to mind the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate.

氏 (in this case read “うじ”) means lineage, and is being unfavorably compared to “育ち”, or upbringing. I think most of us can agree that being raised well means the world. At the same time we can all think of people we can’t stand who’ve been given the world on a silver spoon. *cough* Paris Hilton *cough*

This saying would not really be used in praise of someone raised well, but rather muttered quietly about someone who thought they were gracing you with their presence.