All is Saiou’s Horse in Japanese is 人間万事塞翁が馬 which is read jinkan banji saiou ga uma
Literally jinkan banji saiou ga uma says “All things in the world is saiou’s horse”. This is from a Chinese parable of an old man whose horse runs away. His neighbors agree this is very bad, and Saiou says to wait and see. The next day the horse comes back with another horse. This is good, everyone agrees. Saiou says wait and see. His son, riding the new horse falls and breaks his leg. This is bad, everyone agrees. Saiou says to wait and see. The army comes through forcibly conscripting young men but does not take Saiou’s son because of his broken leg. The meaning then being “inscrutable are the ways of heaven; fortune is unpredictable and changeable”.
The phrase jinkan banji saiou ga uma is composed of the archaic word 人間 (read jinkan) meaning “the world”. Note that this is the same kanji as the modern ningen but read differently and with a different meaning. You will see this read both ways with more and more people using ningen. 万事 (read banji) means “all; everything; all affairs” and Saiou is “old man Sai”. And finally uma. The saying is also shortened to simply saiou ga uma.
Translations You Can Trust: We want you to be as happy with the Japanese translation as you are with Master Takase’s beautiful art. So we have made it easy to confirm the translation for yourself by simply clicking on All is Saiou’s Horse (jinkan banji saiou ga uma) which links to the independent Jeffrey’s Japanese English Dictionary.
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