Kotowaza Japanese proverbs

(ねこ)小判(こばん)
Cast Pearls to a Swine

  • Japanese: ねこ に こばん neko ni koban
  • Literal: Give money to a cat
  • English Equivalent: To cast pearls before swine
  • Notes: 猫に neko ni (give) to a cat [に shows direction]; A 小判 koban was an oval gold coin used during the Edo period; 豚に真珠 buta ni shinju Pearls to a pig, from the Bible, is also used often and means basically the same thing.
example sentence

宝石(ほうせき)興味(きょうみ)のない(ひと)にダイヤモンドをあげても、(ねこ)小判(こばん)だ。
houseki ni kyoumi no nai hito ni daiyamondo o agetemo, neko ni koban da.
For someone who has no interest in precious stones, even giving him a diamond would be casting pearls before swine.

Vocabulary

宝石 houseki—precious stones, gems
興味のない人 kyoumi no nai hito—a person not interested in…
ダイヤモンド daiyamondo—diamond
あげても agete mo—even if (you give him a diamond)

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