Precedent phenomenon is a linguistic phenomenon where some words—like famous people's names (especially of historical and political figures), titles of books or movies—are used not to indicate these people, books or movies, but as a reference to well-known events or facts connected to them.

I'll try to give some examples in English to be more understandable:

  1. Yesteday I met a girl in the city centre, she was a real Marilyn Monroe!

    Here it doesn't mean somebody met that woman named Marilyn Monroe, but a girl who was as beautiful as she and probably looked alike. So this name here links to the image of Marilyn Monroe, not to the person itself.

  2. It was a Ninth Wave at sea this weekend and it was impossible to swim.

    In this sentence "Ninth Wave" refers to the painting of Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky with the same title. (The Great Wave off Kanagawa can be the same example.) It means that the weather was very stormy and there were great waves.

Does this type (titles of paintings) of precedent phenomena exist in the Japanese language? Could you give some examples?

  • Do young generation use the phrase "She was a real Marilyn Monroe!" ? Mar 20, 2016 at 15:36
  • Unfortunately, though I answered, I can see 1 vote to close. Perhaps it is better for you to clarify further.
    – user7644
    Mar 20, 2016 at 18:14
  • @YuuichiTam It does sound rather old-fashioned, doesn't it?
    – user1478
    Mar 22, 2016 at 3:29
  • @snailboat Yes, I think so. Mar 22, 2016 at 5:02

2 Answers 2


I am not sure if I am correctly understanding your question or your intention, but if I am correct, for example,

Imagine, if I am now watching Mt. Fuji while driving on Route 1 (which connects Nagoya and Tokyo).

I might say,

「おおまさしく富嶽三六景{ふがくさんじゅうろっけい}のようだ」(Wow, Mt.Fuji is exactly like 富嶽三六景{ふがくさんじゅうろっけい})

富嶽三六景{ふがくさんじゅうろっけい}, as you can see in the linked page, is the painting by Hokusai Katsushika

I hope this answers your question^^.


My answer would be "NO".

Such a phrase in Japanese has to be accompanied by まるで...のようだ "[is] so much like ..." but that's not what you're looking for, is that? Of course you may find several examples in literature but they are not a part of standard Japanese.

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