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This Year’s Japanese Original Four-Word Phrase

Posted December. 10, 2004 22:42,   


“Sama Sama Sama Sama” converted from “Yong-sama,” a title of honor for Korean actor Bae Young-joon as called by his Japanese fans, was selected as this year’s “original four-word Japanese phrase.”

In the Japanese language, “yon” means number four, which sounds similar to “yong.” Repeating “sama” four times, Japanese fans coined the phrase.

Sumitomo Life Insurance, a Japanese insurance company, after having invited the public to join in a contest for the best original four-word Japanese phrases reflecting the prevailing state of society this year, announced 10 outstanding works and 40 winning pieces on Friday. “Sama Sama Sama Sama” was among the outstanding works with recognition that the phrase was a brilliant conception to visualize the “Yong-sama” fever which has shaken the entire Japanese society.

Hyung-June Park lovesong@donga.com