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Monday, June 30, 2008

起死回生

きし かいせい
kishi kaisei

Today we're gonna take a look at some of the words and phrases that describe come-backs of all kinds. These are words that I've heard plenty of times, but I always get confused when I try to use them. It's hard to keep track of which ones are right for which situations.

  • よみがえる (yomigaeru) - to be resurrected; resuscitated; renewed; restored; revived; recalled. よみがえる is used in the most literal of senses (Jesus よみがえたed, for example), and for abstract concepts. If you're talking about a renewal of hope, faith, or love, you want to use よみがえる. You can also use it to mean "remembered" or "recalled." 「私の脳によみがえた」 means that something was brought back to your mind, or awakened, whether it be memories of the war, or an old flame.

  • 生き返る (ikikaeru) - to come alive (again), to be brought back from the dead. This one can also be applied literally, but it's the one you want if you want to express the feeling of being refreshed. 生き返る is used in connection with all sorts of non-zombie activities: eating, drinking, getting massages, haircuts...

  • 復活する (fukkatsu suru) - to restore; to revive. 復活 is not applied to once living creatures, and it can be used in the same way as よみがえる if you want to talk about the restoration of hope, but it's mostly used to talk about restoring things like customs, traditions, or laws. It's also the one you want to use to describe the restoration or re-opening of a business or building. (このFight Clubはぶれていたけど、復活した. よかった。)
And now, lets check out today's yoji, 起死回生。

Definition:
死に瀕したもの、滅びかかっているものを再び生き返らせること。もとに戻すこと。
Translations:
1. To bring back from the brink of death.
2. Revival of something dead or near dead.
3. Last second rescue.
4. Recovery from a hopeless situation
5. An unbelievable come-back

This one is most commonly used as a sports metaphor, but there are cases of medical 起死回生, as well as financial ones. You can also find stories about once endangered species featuring this yoji.

Are there any other Japanese words or phrases that you know that relate to returns, revivals, or come-backs?

例文:去年に始まった「日刊四字」と言うサイトはずっとアップデートなし、死にそうだった。しかし、ブレットとニラブの面白いポストのおかげで、起死回生した。
The Daily Yoji website, begun last year, lingered near death without any updates for a long time. But, thanks to Nirav and Brett's interesting posts, the site is back from the brink!

2 comments:

Claytonian said...

私によって「オマエのフクロ」の冗談が起死回生させた。そういえば、オマエのフクロを起死回生させた、昨夜には。

I cause "yo mamma" jokes to be revived from the fringe of humor. Come to think of it, I revived yo momma last night.
--
I'm not sure if one can call another's mother a fukuro to be honest. It may not work.

Amber said...

昨日、たくさん飲みました。今朝,起死回生。