I want to write a short quote to hang up on my wall.
It is about respecting yourself and never finding excuses or allowing yourself to slack. In other words, to properly take care of yourself and not ridicule it (in every literal and metaphorical way).

How can this kind of self-respect be best translated in Japanese?
I believe [不敬]{ふけい} or [軽蔑]{けいべつ} do not correctly capture the meaning I am looking for in this case.

  • 1
    How about just がんばれ! It's not so much about slacking or self-respect, but it is a way of encouraging someone to push forward and do whatever hard work is necessary.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 12, 2021 at 19:02
  • @A.Ellett Sure, it is a way of raising one's spirit. Unfortunately, I am trying to find a word to match this kind of sentence for example: Don't ever disrespect yourself.
    – Lae
    Oct 12, 2021 at 19:09
  • 1
    I'll be curious to see what the native speakers have to say. To me, it just seems that this is more an American/Western way of thinking about things and the Japanese approach is more along the lines of がんばれ. But, I'm just one opinion. I'm interested to see what other sorts of responses you get.
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 12, 2021 at 19:14
  • 1
    Typically, when a Japanese thinks of 'hanging a quote', then s/he would look for 四字熟語. It could be a word, usually made of two kanjis (e.g. 忍耐 - patience). If it is longer, then a line of poetry may be possible. I think it is rather rare to use a phrase for things like these.
    – sundowner
    Oct 13, 2021 at 2:08
  • 1
    @Lae If you're going with "Don't ever disrespect yourself" then I'd use "卑下{ひげ}", so "自分を卑下するな" or something like that.
    – Skye-AT
    Oct 13, 2021 at 2:16

3 Answers 3


Maybe 堕落 .

We do say:

  • 堕落する
  • 堕落した
  • 堕落するな

We don't say:

  • 堕落る
  • 堕落い


Not to be confused with 脱落 .

Here's why...

Your question is:

Which is the best way to translate "disrespect" in this context?

So you want a Japanese word which expresses the state of disrespecting (i.e. not complying to) your values. That means, we must begin by translating the state of going against your values: "finding excuses and allowing oneself to slack".

If I focus on the "finding excuses" part, I can't think of a word that describes such state, except for the straightforward 言い訳する人 (person who finds excuses). Focusing on "allowing himself to slack" gave me the word 怠け者 (lazy person).

Combining the two, we at least get 言い訳するな、怠け者になるな (No excuses, don't be a slacker) but that's not really creative and doesn't answer you question so let's dig deeper.

What happens when you find excuses and slack off? You lower your value. Use case can be 己の価値を下げるな (don't lower your (my) value).

What happens when you lower your value? You lower yourself down to a point expressed in Japanese as 堕落 (corrupt, degraded, etc.). This may allow the "state of disrespecting oneself until a point one has reached its lower limit" to be translated as 堕落した状態。

I hope the above answered the question partially, if not completely. Next, on to your purpose:

I want to write a short quote to hang up on my wall.

There's always a 4-kanji set for anything (四字熟語). I have gathered some examples that possibly depict the "disrespectful state" you wish to express. Apparently simple search didn't yield translations and synonyms so I have provided simple translations.

  • 放恣佚楽 Live one's life doing whatever it wants
  • 放蕩三昧 All about sex, drink, enjoying life
  • 酔生夢死 Live a dull non-productive life
  • 曠日弥久 Wasting years being non-productive
  • 腐敗堕落 Spoiled and 堕落
  • 飽食終日 Living the entire day in gluttony

They sound like an awesome life, but are basically used in a negative manner, kind of like the seven sins.

  • The 4-kanji sets are very interesting. I had a hard time finding translations for some online. Also, I think 堕落 is a great answer! How would you convert it into a verb? Would 堕落する work?
    – Lae
    Oct 13, 2021 at 16:36
  • 1
    Hey sorry about the translation for 四字熟語, hope my edit helps in answering your additional comments.
    – dungarian
    Oct 14, 2021 at 0:04

What about something like 自分【じぶん】に誇【ほこ】りを持【も】て! or even the simpler 誇【ほこ】りを持【も】て! ?

This translates to "have pride in yourself" or "have pride".

  • Very uplifting quote and a great answer. I believe this was not meeting the "disrespect" aspect of my question. I wish I could have explained it better. Regardless, I am sure writing this one.
    – Lae
    Oct 13, 2021 at 16:45

This quote from Miyamoto Musashi fits this bill very well. I having been living by this for the past few months:


It is frequently translated as, "You may abandon your body, but you must preserve your honor."

Perhaps a more literal translation would be, "Even if you throw away your body, do not throw away your honor."

Breakdown: 身【み】を Body + (Indicator of direct subject or otherwise recipient of verb)

捨【す】てて Throwing away, abandoning, leaving, deserting, resigning

も Also, too, even if

名利【みょうり】は Fame and fortune (lit. name + benefit/profit) + (topic marker)

捨【す】てず Not throwing away, not abandoning, etc.

If you are looking to stray shortly from your path, I am not a native speaker, but, I would go with 軽蔑【けいべつ】.

  • 2
    Wasn't that 身を捨ても名利は捨て? Therefore your "Perhaps a more literal translation would be..." doesn't make sense. And I believe it'd be translated more like "Even if I sacrifice my body, I will never sacrifice my honor.". I feel that it's just preference though.
    – Skye-AT
    Oct 13, 2021 at 2:06
  • @aguijonazo thanks for correcting the furigana on 名利
    – Daishi
    Oct 13, 2021 at 12:42
  • ja.wikisource.org/wiki/%E7%8D%A8%E8%A1%8C%E9%81%93 Look before you leap next time. Please never edit my posts again.
    – wanwandrew
    Oct 13, 2021 at 15:09
  • @wanwandrew you're saying you think it's 身を捨ても名利はすて? Also answers are always collaborative essentially, so people will be able to edit your posts.
    – Leebo
    Oct 13, 2021 at 15:18
  • 2
    @wanwandrew again, you are saying that they have edited the quote incorrectly? I don't see why editing it would be a problem otherwise.
    – Leebo
    Oct 14, 2021 at 0:05

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