Japanese Proverb: Still waters run deep


By Greg Beck

Today’s Topic: 諺 / ことわざ / Proverb

Kanji: 深水程静かなり

Kana: ふかみずほどしずかなり

Translation: Still waters run deep.

This month’s proverb is a classic in both Japanese and English.

Although I went with the English equivalent, rather than a direct translation, I like the Japanese way of saying it better. Not just because “Japanese sounds cool,” but because the actual meaning translates to “The deeper the water, the quieter.” This is because English and Japanese both use the metaphor that something “deep” is more meaningful. And over the years this saying has been expressed much more explicitly and in many ways, from “The more you know the less you say” to the (probably faux-Confucian) version, “The fool chatters, while the wise man listens.” At any rate, I’ll shut up now.

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


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