I am having discussions with my Japanese friend about developing a new computer application. I want to suggest to him to not write the code from scratch but to use other libraries as our base. How can I say that?

There are a lot of words about starting. Which is the best suit for my context?

For example:


  • 2
    I think in English we would say "writing code from scratch" rather than "from the beginning". "From the beginning" is often used with rewriting, as in "we have to rewrite this code from the beginning".
    – Lukman
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 8:51
  • 2
    Do Japanese people know the idiom "re-inventing the wheel"?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 13:39
  • 1
    Can someone put a ト between "How" and "translate" in the title?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 13:42
  • @Lukman That's true. Thank you for editing.
    – A-letubby
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 4:55

2 Answers 2


All of 元から, 初めから, 最初から, 端から refer to "the beginning", which all imply it is a beginning of something that is already there. For example, when you talk about a botched marriage using "最初から結婚しなければよかった", you are talking about a marriage that has already happened; it has a beginning.

On the other hand, when you are just about to suggest to your friend about how to start writing the computer application, the application code is not yet there. There is no beginning to refer to. Even in English, we would use "writing from scratch", not "writing from beginning". It would be a different case if you need to rewrite code that already exists. In that case, the code already has "a beginning", thus you can use "rewriting the code from the beginning".

So, how do we say "writing from scratch" in Japanese? One expression you can use is "一から" or even "ゼロから".



I agree with Lukman that the common phrase in Japanese for “from scratch” is 一から, and sometimes ゼロから. I would just like to note that some people use スクラッチから for this meaning. It might be understood as a literal translation, but it seems a little different to me because the loanword スクラッチ is seldom used for the meaning “a mark made on a surface with a pointed object”—implying that replacing the English word “scratch” with the loanword スクラッチ does not really serve the purpose of translation. I personally find the phrase スクラッチから strange, but it is used by some people anyway.

By the way, in model building, some people use the word スクラッチ itself for the meaning “the process of building something from scratch” as in フルスクラッチで作る (build (a model) completely from scratch). This usage seems to arise from the words スクラッチビルド (scratch building) and フルスクラッチビルド (full scratch building).

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