Fall down seven times; stand up eight

July 18, 2011, 08:51 AM posted in I Have a Question

Hi, everybody.

There is English saying "Fall down seven
times; stand up eight" (meaning is that you shouldn’t despair if smth goes wrong).

It's said that it has Japanese or Chinese roots. What do you think about it?

How the Chinese saying sounds?

Why 7 and 8 numbers are used?

Why 7 used in meaning “to fall” and 8 in meaning to “stand up”?


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July 18, 2011, 09:28 AM

There are a lot of Chinese sayings with 7 and 8 in them.

七零八落, 乱七八糟, 夾七夾八, 杂七杂八, 横七竖八 etc.

I had it explained to me that the 7 and 8 just represents "a lot".

But I too have never really seen any truly satisfying explanation (for example, why not use 8 and 9?).


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July 18, 2011, 01:38 PM

I see... all these sentences should be translated in special CHENGYU dictionaries as I understand. If translate them "as is" - they have no sense.

So ... as I understand there is no any meaning of using 7 and 8, like 3 and 4... 


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July 18, 2011, 02:07 PM

孔子说: 跌倒七次站起来八次


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July 19, 2011, 07:14 AM

Does anybody know why 8 considered to be "happy" number in China?

Asked familiar chineses - they just made some proposals but seems that really nobody knows.

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July 20, 2011, 04:50 PM

Hi, 七転び八起き nana-korobi ya-oki is Japanese. I didn't think that was an English saying. It means 1) an indomitable spirit, and also 2) that life is all about vicissitudes. I'm not certain but I believe this is one of ours, not one of the many Chinese sayings or chengyus that became part of Japanese.
I did read a Japanese blog about a visit to the temple and hearing a monk talk about the saying, addressing why there are eight times getting up when there are only seven falling downs. The first of the eight 起き, the monk said, is the first time ever we stand on our own feet as babies, with the help of and under the loving watch of our parents and others. Then throughout our lives we will take falls, pick ourselves up and stand again, again and again.

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It is indeed Japanese according to wikipedia :


Heres a couple more I liked:


* Saru mo ki kara ochiru.

* Literally: Even monkeys fall from trees.


* Baka wa shinanakya naoranai.

* Literally: Unless an idiot dies, he won't be cured.

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Hi zhenlijiang and RJ

Long time no see. The best-known version of this kind in China perhaps should be "三起三落" (or 三落三起), which literally means "stand up three times, fall down three times". This usually refers to the turbulent life of 邓小平 (Deng Xiaoping), who was a great political leader of the PRC in the 20th century. See you again.

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CHANGYE !! 就是。。好久不见啊!看见你就让我很开心。你最近怎么样朋友?

ps. hopefully this is very apt, this saying, if we just tweak it a little:

disappear twice, reappear 3 times, hehe :)

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Hi Changye,

Nice to see you back!

I guess 三落三起 comes originally from 三俯三起 and 三臥三起 (prostration 俯卧).

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In Buddhism, the kowtow (叩头) is often performed in groups of three.


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Hey Changye~~! And Patty. Long time no see indeed.

So but I'm not mistaken am I, that 七転び八起き is not Chinese in origin?

Do drop by more often!

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August 05, 2011, 07:39 AM

Long time wasn't here, thanks for comments. Was glad to read thought "first time ever we stand on our own feet as babies", I also came to the same conclusion.