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I think I've come across the Japanese version of this teaching in the Bible as a saying (proverb?) but I'm having a hard time recalling and searching it.

The key takeaway in the parable is:

One can see small object [mote] in another's eye but is unable to see the large beam of wood in one's own.

which basically points a finger at the hypocrisy of noticing other people's small flaws (in the metaphor, the mote) while blatantly disregarding one's larger shortcomings (in the metaphor, the beam), and how this is bad.

The Japanese Wikipedia entry on this parable, ちりと梁, does not mention any Japanese expression for this idea, or I failed to see it.

Is there any Japanese saying, proverb or idiom relating to this?

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  • I’m voting to close this question because it does not directly address the Japanese language.
    – istrasci
    Sep 5, 2023 at 15:05
  • "The Japanese wikipedia of the parable (ちりと梁) do not mention any (or I failed to see)." I don't understand. ちり pretty literally translates "mote" (i.e., a speck of dust) and 梁 is definitely the same thing as a beam (in the sense that it was meant in English; i.e., a long, structural piece of wood used in architecture). Also: "parable" and "proverb" do not mean the same thing in English. Sep 5, 2023 at 17:25
  • @istrasci this similar question has been well received here. Really, the question strikes me as a question akin to asking about the meaning of a word. Idioms and proverbs are vocabulary, too. If anything, the question could be regarded as a translation request (though I think it would be a stretch), but I do see it as a question addressing Japanese language.
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 5, 2023 at 21:45
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    @KarlKnechtel I edited the question to add context. I think OP is asking if there's an idiom, proverb or parable in Japanese that has the same meaning as the metaphor of "motes and beams", but they are not asking about direct translation of "motes and beams".
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 5, 2023 at 22:11
  • Thank you for the edits and sorry for my bad English. I'm asking this question since mentioning simply ちりと梁 hardly express anything to a Japanese (most of them are not Christians anyway :) ), so I wonder if there're other familiar ways of saying.
    – KenIchi
    Sep 6, 2023 at 5:09

2 Answers 2

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Off the top of my head:

「[目糞]{めくそ}[鼻糞]{はなくそ}を笑う」

「人のふり見て[我]{わ}がふり直せ」

「[猿]{さる}の[尻]{しり}笑い」

「五十歩百歩」/「五十歩をもって百歩を笑う」


Similar/related proverbs on the net:

「[蠣]{かき}が[鼻垂]{はなた}れを笑う」

「[腐]{くさ}れ[柿]{がき}が[熟柿]{じゅくし}を笑う」

「[障子]{しょうじ}の[破]{わ}れ目から隣の障子の破れ目を笑う」

「不身持ちの儒者が医者の不養生を[謗]{そし}る」

「[蝙蝠]{こうもり}が[燕]{つばめ}を笑う」

☝後半は私には馴染みがないです

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    Thank you, I think 目糞鼻糞を笑う was the one I've come across. (どんだけことわざがあるのが思わなかったw)
    – KenIchi
    Sep 6, 2023 at 6:27
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For what is worth, I've found two related expressions at Jisho.org:

  1. 人のことを言う means "to find fault with other people rather than oneself" or "(for the pot) to call the kettle black" (English idiom).
  2. 棚に上げる means "to shut one's eyes to (one's own faults, etc.)".

Do they ring a bell? I think both expressions point to the same idea as the parable of the mote and the beam.

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