I don’t remember which 四字熟語 (yojijukugo, four-kanji idiom) I first encountered when embarking on my study of Japanese, but I certainly remember the feeling of panic — how the heck was I supposed to read this?

For new Japanese learners (and, depending on the complexity of the character, even some old hats), trying to parse four kanji grouped together, when there’s nary a hiragana or katakana to provide context in sight, can be daunting.

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