いっ とう りょう だん
i ttou ryou dan
Super early post, cause I'll have NO time today during or after work!
Today’s definition is odd if you look at the kanji independently: one, sword, both, and failure. But 一刀 can be read as “one blow of the sword” and 両断 is a bisection.
1. To cut cleanly in half with a single stroke of the sword.
2. To act decisively and powerfully
3. To cut the Gordian knot
4. To divide things into categories of black and white for the purposes of making a decision
I actually learned this one in its literal sense during a post-Obon barbecue last August. I was invited to play suika-wari with a group of Japanese men, which is exactly like bashing a pinata, except that instead of using a pinata, you use a watermelon, and instead of hanging it in a tree, you put it on the floor, and instead of it being filled with candy, it’s just a watermelon. Anyway, when it was my turn to swing blindly at it with a broom stick, I got all dramatic and brought my “sword” straight down, quite coincidentally, into the exact center of the watermelon. When I took off my blindfold, it had been halved as cleanly as one can possibly halve a watermelon with a broomstick, and both sides of it were still standing upright.
But it’s also used (outside of melon-thwacking and manga) for making sweeping decisions and slice-y actions. I’d be tempted to say that you could use it as “to cut through the red tape,” but I don’t think that happens here…
The picture is 言葉遊び (a play on words). It’s a literal sword-blow and a call to action to stop the rampant use of steroids in the world of competitive kendo.
I was worried about a lot of things, but in the end I stopped stressing out and decided once and for all to move to Japan.