We all know there is no such thing as a miracle cure for our ailments, but sometimes small changes bring about big changes. Use the expression kouka-tekimen to describe something that is instantly and visibly effective.
Meaning: Be immediately effective, bring instant relief, give instant results, be extremely effective.
Literal translation and kanji breakdown: Kouka (効果) combines the characters for efficacy and achieve to give us result, effects and general effectiveness. Tekimen uses the character teki (覿), which means eyes but also a display of something and is paired with men (面), meaning face. Together, this means an immediate result that appears right before your eyes.
Kouka-tekimen: The Origins
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer on where and when this expression first appeared, but Yukio Mishima uses it in his 1949 novel, Confessions of a Mask.
「代用品も使い馴れると、使い心地のわるいものではないからね。ことにこいつは効果覿面の睡眠剤だからね。」 (Mishima, Confessions of a Mask)
Meredith Weatherby’s 1958 translation:
“Even a substitute is not unpleasant once you get used to it, especially when you find it to be such an instantly effective sleeping draught.” (Mishima, p.174)
Kouka-tekimen: Related Expressions
天罰覿面 Tenbatsu-tekimen The certainty of divine punishment, swift is Heaven’s vengeance
因果覿面 Inga-tekimen The swiftness of retributive justice
効果抜群 Kouka-batsugun Extremely effective, overwhelmingly effective
即効性がある Sokkousei ga aru It has immediate efficacy
Using “kouka-tekimen” in a sentence
Used more in spoken language than written, kouka-tekimen is often used in relation to medicinal effectiveness.
この薬は思ったより効果覿面だった。Kono kusuri wa omotta yori kouka-tekimen datta. This medicine was more effective than I thought.
週に３回ジムに行くことと食事制限を組み合わせたら、ダイエットに効果覿面だった。Shu ni sankai gym ni iku koto to shokuji seigen wo kumiawasetara, diet ni kouka-tekimen datta. The combination of going to the gym three times a week and dieting worked wonders for my weight loss.
頑張ったらボーナスを弾むという約束を社員とした。その約束は、やる気を引き出すのに効果覿面だった。 Gambattara bonus wo hazumu to iu yakusoku wo shain to shita. Sono yakusoku wa, yaruki wo hikidasu no ni kouka-tekimen datta. I made a promise to my employees that I would give them a bonus if they worked hard. The promise was an extraordinary motivator.