Sunday, February 16, 2014

10 Colors

Although they may not come up super frequently, Japanese expressions and sayings can be fun to learn. One of the first ones I remember learning is 一石二鳥 (いっせきにちょう) - "two birds with one stone." That's also a good example of 四字(熟語)- an expression made up of four kanji. There are tons of these yoji.

If you're familiar with the expression それぞれ, which can be used to mean "to each his own," then here's another yoji for you:


1, 2, 3...close enough.
If you've studied some basic kanji, you should be able to recognize these ones and maybe glean the meaning to be found here. 十人十色 (じゅうにんといろ)is made up of:

十 - 10
人 - people
十 - 10 (again)
色 - color

So 10 people, 10 colors. 10 people each have their own color. Each individual has his own likes and preferences. To each his own.

Alc: 十人十色


  1. That's really interesting! Do you know why the second '10' is pronounced differently?

  2. Hey Ali, thanks! That's a good question. 「じゅう」 is the 音読み reading for 「十」, to match up with 「にん」 as the 音読み reading of 「人」. Likewise 「と」 and 「いろ」 (for 「色」) are both 訓読み. So each compound within the yoji is staying consistent with its type of reading, to why おん and くん are mixed, I'm not sure. =)

  3. Here in New York, we would amend it to "10 people, 12 colors", since we say "3 people, 4 opinions".

  4. Ahh, interesting! I've never heard that, but will file it away.