Is there an equivalent expression in Japanese for "strike while the iron is hot"?

I've seen a few questions on here with phrases and their equivalents. Does anybody know of a site where these are collated?


There is an exact Japanese equivalent to "Strike while the iron is hot," that is "鉄は熱いうちに打て." I don't know whether this proverb had existed before we knew English version, or is just a translation of "Strike while the iron is hot."

  • Oh! Pretty much identical. Feb 9 '16 at 10:00
  • 1
    @VictorySaber There are lots of direct translations (calques?) of English idioms in Japanese. Another common one is 一石二鳥 (killing two birds with one stone). I think most of them entered the language in the Meiji period, but I haven't really researched it. Feb 9 '16 at 18:03
  • I know that one :) I shall investigate further thank you Feb 10 '16 at 9:11
  • Both Daijirin and Daijisen list this as a direct translation of the English saying. I'm not sure if there is any equivalent native kotowaza. Feb 22 '16 at 7:41

It is 「[鉄]{てつ}は[熱]{あつ}いうちに[打]{う}て」 and every Japanese-speaker would be familiar with this saying.

English to Japanese: http://www.wa.commufa.jp/~anknak/ (Click where it says 「英語ことわざのABC順分類」)


There are a couple of equivalents listed on WWWJDIC. I cannot vouch that these are any common though.

「鉄は熱いうちに[鍛えよ]{きたえよ}」, a variant of the 打て version

「[善]{ぜん}は[急げ]{いそげ}」 make hay while the sun shines

「[奇貨居くべし]{きかおくべし}」 if you find something rare, buy it (i.e. don't let an opportunity slip)

「[幸運]{こううん}の[女神]{めがみ}は[前髪]{まえがみ}しかない」 opportunity only knocks once, lit. the goddess of good fortune has no hair except on her forehead

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.