I just heard the term 「口ばっか大臣」in『荒ぶる季節の乙女どもよ』. Story


It seems another similar term「口だけ大臣」is also in use. I may be under the wrong impression they were idiomatic phrases. Are these terms idiomatic? If they are where did these terms come from? Who were the terms first used to talk about?

Twitter has a lot of similar tags pointing to 安倍晋三 (examples: 1, 2), which is understandable since he is the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history and the most recent ex-prime minister. But some online articles seem to point to 西村康稔.

But if this is just an idiosyncratic expression, why does she say 「大臣」? Is it a (obscure) historical reference?

  • To me, these expressions seem readily understood on their own. (Granted, it does seem baffling why anyone would assert about themselves 私は口ばっか大臣だったの.) For me, asking for the etymology here seems no different from asking the etymology of "all talk". When I ask about etymologies it's because at face value they don't appear to make sense. The hope is that the etymology would clarifies how the meaning comes about. But in this case, I'm at a loss for what the etymology would clarify. Perhaps it's just me but could you perhaps explain what you're hoping to better understand via the etymology?
    – A.Ellett
    Jan 28 '21 at 14:17
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    @A.Ellett I think it's the 大臣 part that's confusing them. 口だけ is easy to understand on its own, but what it has to do with ministers is opaque
    – Angelos
    Jan 28 '21 at 15:14
  • @Angelos I hadn't thought of that part. Thank you. This question makes a lot better sense now.
    – A.Ellett
    Jan 28 '21 at 15:22
  • @A.Ellett It's exactly like the phrase "Monday morning quarterback". If you are not an American speaker, you'd be scratching your head wondering where in the world "quarterback" comes from when you hear that idiomatic expression the first time. For expressions like "Monday morning quarterback" and 「口ばっか大臣」, their definitions have to be etymology-based.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jan 28 '21 at 20:00
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    Oh, so 口ばっか大臣 in this case describe a person who is/was not a 大臣 at all, and that's the main motivation for this question? If so, it's an idiosyncratic expression, but not an (established) idiomatic expression, as far as I know. Maybe some information about this particular utterance would be helpful after all.
    – goldbrick
    Jan 28 '21 at 21:14

~大臣 is sometimes used as a humorous metaphor for someone in charge of something in a group. Perhaps quite a few Japanese people have heard the phrase 掃除大臣 (a pun on 総理大臣), who is someone in a family/office who is in charge of cleaning. But this is a recurring joke at most, and I don't call it an idiom. As for 口ばっか大臣, it is instantly understandable as a joke (politicians are often 口ばっか), but it is just an idiosyncratic expression, as goldbrick said in his comment.

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