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How to say "open Pandora's box" in Japanese?

Ex.:

When I asked Jane about her problems, I didn't know I had opened Pandora's box.

What kind of Pandora's box do we open if we decide not arrest people who have committed a crime?

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1 Answer

up vote 10 down vote accepted

パンドラの箱を開ける

Sorry if you expected something cooler. You can say this in Japanese and be understood, however the norm might be to phrase it in a more direct way.

http://eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=Pandora%27s+box&ref=sa

If you want a more Japanese equivalent, this entry from the link above has a few alternatives:

open a Pandora's box

パンドラの箱を開ける、厄介な問題を引き起こす、災いを呼ぶ、収拾のつかない事態を引き起こす

It's possible that there are other Japanese idioms that capture this same meaning that I don't know about. You'll also be totally fine avoiding the idiomatic use and just saying it directly (so for example talk about how you made Jane upset or whatever problem happened as a result of asking about her problems).

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Indeed, that's a little bit more literal than I expected :D Thanks though! –  Philip Seyfi Feb 28 '13 at 0:37
1  
good answer, but that's totally not what was asked lolz. it's an idiom, no one cares what the literal meaning is. it's the idiomatic meaning which needs translation, something along the lines, I guess, of "initiating something which we will imminently regret". –  taylor Feb 28 '13 at 1:46
5  
The idiom is used as-is the same way in Japanese so I figured that would be enough to be understood. If your problem is with a lack of an explanation then I'll go ahead and add one (lolz) –  ssb Feb 28 '13 at 2:01
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