I came across the idiom 「門を同じくして戸を異にす」 recently and was wondering what it means. I tried looking it up online, but there are very few places where it is explained.

Is there a cultural meaning behind this idiom? And if possible, is there anywhere that I can find out more about it?


1 Answer 1


Meaning: Those of the same clan/house (門) go through different doors (戸). The idea is that different members of the same family will not necessarily have the same talents. This idiom is also similarly applied to situations like students of the same teacher; members of the same organization; etc.

Origins: It's the Japanese reading (書き下し文) of the older Chinese 「同門而異戸」, from 揚子's 法言, which was first published in 9 CE.

The somewhat irregular grammar also stems from that era of forcibly rendering Chinese text into a Japanese word order.

  • Just to confirm, what's the correct reading of 異にす in this context? Is it ことにす?
    – jogloran
    Jul 16, 2022 at 18:26
  • 2
    Yes, it is ことにす Jul 16, 2022 at 21:48
  • Ooo thanks for the help! Definitely understand it better. But just curious, where did this idiom come about? Is there a cultural story behind it? Like maybe houses in Japan last time were build to house several houses or something?
    – John Watts
    Jul 23, 2022 at 1:41

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