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Comparing and Contrasting Korean and Japanese Animal Proverbs with a Focus on Foxes

  • Journal of Japanese Culture
  • 2017, (74), pp.257-277
  • DOI : 10.21481/jbunka..74.201708.257
  • Publisher : The Japanese Culture Association Of Korea (Jcak)
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Received : July 14, 2017
  • Accepted : August 4, 2017
  • Published : August 31, 2017

HAN TAK CHEOL 1

1동명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In this study, I analyzed Korean and Japanese proverbs about foxes by comparing and contrasting six categories. The findings are the following. Firstly, I found that both countries have many proverbs related to the behavior and habits of foxes. Secondly, the proverbs related to fortune/misfortune are more present than the proverbs pertaining to cunningness in Korea compared to Japan because of the negative image of foxes in Korea. Thirdly, the common proverbs on foxes that both covntries share mostly come from the Chinese classics. Finally, the similarities and differences of fox images in both Korean and Japanese proverbs are summarized. Regarding the similarities, Firstly, the image of foxes is mostly negative. Secondly, foxes are cunning and can harm people by figure- transformation. Thirdly, foxes have a symbolic image of women. And,, Lastly, fox fur is recognized as a valuable goods. First, pertaining to the differences, the sound of fox presents a bad fortune (death) in Korea but a fortune in Japan. Second, Korean proverbs use foxes to look down upon women, but no such proverbs are found in Japan. Third, in Korean proverbs, the food of foxes are rotten meat and chicken; however, in the Japanese proverbs, they are fried tofu and red bean rice.

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