Around the Internet, "When you have completed 95 percent of your journey, you are only halfway there" is floating around as a Japanese proverb.

A Google search for Japanese proverb "only halfway there" gives 12,000+ hits and several Instagram-ready quote photos. None of the first 100 hits cite a Japanese source.

What is the actual proverb in Japanese?


I think the standard version is 百里を行く者は九十を半ばとす "Who travels a hundred li calls ninety a half", because this is the original form attested in a Chinese chronicle.

There is another quote from a Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, which says 百里の半ばを九十九里とする "assumes the half of a hundred li to be ninety-nine li".

Either way, I could not find an exact Japanese source that tells the number "95%". And I doubt that it exists.

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