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?


3 Answers 3


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. Commented Feb 9, 2016 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. Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 18:03
  • I know that one :) I shall investigate further thank you Commented Feb 10, 2016 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. Commented Feb 22, 2016 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

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