Okay, today's yoji is a special-bonus-hyper-super yoji. Why? Well, it's ridiculously rare. The yoji databank we link to has no mention of it, and rikaichan breaks down and starts crying if you hover your cursor over it. As such, finding information was especially difficult, but it became more worth it the more I knew.
For some background on how I even found out about this yoji, I was digging around online with a few different searches hoping to get some wartime expressions that found their way into every day language. This is common with yojis since a many of them come from China's Warring States Period, which is long and well-documented. Unsurprisingly, I found a few expressions we've already covered here, but took pause when I found this one. Rabbit die dog boil? The more strange the literal translation, the better the actual meaning. So without further ado...
1. Outliving one's usefulness.
2. Only using something or someone as long as they are useful.
The examples nestled in the definition are both excellent. The first is the idea of going on a hunting trip and, what do you know, you kill all the rabbits in the area. So now what are you going to do with those hunting dogs? Easy - boil `em and eat `em! The second example is not much better, and cites examples of wartime vets getting killed in times of peace after they are no longer needed. Good times!
The source on this one is an old book called "韓非子" that records a bunch of ideology from the Warring States period. I wish I could have found more information on how it was used, but most Japanese sources I found stopped at that book title. The really interesting thing is how often searching for this yielded Korean websites, which I cannot yet pin on racism or it being an expression with some Korean roots (which I initially thought when seeing the book's title). For the past few days my Korean friend has mysteriously gone MIA, which is inconvenient, as he has not yet outlived his usefulness...but maybe he knows what will happen after I grill him about this yoji...
First thing tomorrow, I'm going to quiz my fellow workers on this yoji. You all do the same, so we can see if this only exists in rare texts or you can get away with saying it without looking like you're just making stuff up.
Bonus edit: My friend popped up online first thing in the morning, and we had a nice little yoji-related chat. It turns out that A. he knew the yoji I was talking about, and B. Koreans study 四字熟語 and other Chinese in junior high and high school the same way English speakers might study Latin. That revelation aside, even though he did know it, he admitted soon after that it's rare even in Korea, and all the teachers I'd asked today had never seen this yoji. So, a word of warning - if you do use this yoji, be prepared to explain the origin, and then to explain why you are SO AWESOME.
(hint - it's the DY)
In the world of horse racing, an injury is as good as death. Having outlived their usefulness, they die for their troubles.