Laughing Devils: a Japanese saying about the comedy of prediction

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There’s a saying in English: “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans.”
Seems like the same thing to me…


Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

(But with devils.)

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“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans is also a common aphorism


Ja; mach nur einen Plan
sei nur ein großes Licht!
Und mach dann noch´nen zweiten Plan
gehn tun sie beide nicht.

– Bertolt Brecht, Das Lied von der Unzulänglichkeit

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I thought of that one too! Actually in Yiddish I think it’s “A mentsh trakht, un got lakht.”
A “mentsh” is a human being. A “man” (or “mann” if you will) is a husband.
Which works too!

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An interesting thing to note is that “Oni” doesn’t refer to a single devil figure as in western cultures, but a class of supernatural beings noted for being particularly cruel. So… if an oni is laughing, you can bet that the humor is not going to be to your liking.

Here’s a link with the basic idea:

One of my friends has an almost phobia of blacksmithing tongs because bad kids are punished (in fairytales) by Oni ripping their tongues out with tongs. I was always a little jealous that Oni got to have tetsubo (which as an adult, I’d still love to have for shits and giggles).


Similar sentiment if not similar way of saying it:

Issun saki wa yami

“Two inches ahead is darkness”

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