January 27, 2009

Let's Yoji: 口誅筆伐

In this new feature, I'm going to start explaining interesting yojijukugo (hereafter to be referred to as yoji) that I find from time to time, hopefully without stepping on the Daily Yoji guys' toes.

口誅筆伐 (kouchuuhitsubatsu) is made of four characters that one doesn't often see together--making it an advanced sucker in my book.

The breakdown on 口誅筆伐
口: speech
誅: death penalty
筆: writing brush
伐: punish
Frequency: Freakin rare
Impressiveness factor: Too rare! Natives will have no idea what this means (so no dice unless you can write it and explain it).
Japanese explanation: 言葉と文章で激しく批判・攻撃すること。
English gloss: through words or writing, harshly criticizing, judging, and attacking.
Part of speech:Noun.

So by words and writing, one condemns another. These days, this compound, when used at all, seems to describe the attacks of the mass media on public figures. So why did I choose to introduce such a hard yoji? Because the thread where I found it had a great picture as seen above, and commentary to go along with it that amused me. But please don't criticize me too harshly for the choice, for any yoji can stimulate a Japanese-studier's brain.

Bonus challenge: Can you use it in a sentence? For that matter, can you find a good example sentence online? Like I said, it's rare...

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