In Japan, January 31, Aisai no Hi (愛妻の日/Beloved Wife’s Day) is a special day for many married couples. Initiated by the Japan Aisaika Organization (JAO) in 2005, it started as a project to encourage men to express their affection more openly to their wives. The group’s philosophy boils down to “happy wife, happy life” and (if a bit tongue-in-cheek) believes that good marital relations can, in the long run, lead to world peace and environmental improvements. Which segues neatly into this week’s idiom topic: fuufu-enman, a happy marriage.

Fuufu-enman (夫婦円満)

Meaning: Matrimonial happiness, happy marriage, a blissful marriage, happily married

Literal translation and kanji breakdown: Fuufu (夫婦) pairs husband and wife together to represent a married couple, while enman (円満) combines the characters circle/complete (円) and full/satisfy (満) to mean completely harmonious, peaceful and amicable.

Fuufu-enman: The Alternatives

The characters for fuufu-enman aren’t exactly inclusive (even though the expression itself can be). Here are some non-heteronormative alternatives for marital bliss. While these aren’t as commonly used as fuufu-enman, the meaning is essentially the same. 

偕老同穴 Kairodouketsu A happy life partnership, living faithfully together until death

琴瑟相和 Kinshitsu-souwa (also 琴瑟調和 Kinshitsu-chouwa)  A pair of people in a harmonious relationship, being intimate and harmonious 

形影一如 Keiei-ichinyo Being inseparable like a form and its shadow, romantic partners always being together

Fuufu-enman: Related Expressions

  • 家庭円満 Katei-enman household harmony, family happiness
  • 鴛鴦の契 Enou-no-giri having a happy and harmonious relationship
  • おしどり夫婦 Oshidori-fuufu a pair of lovebirds, loving couple, happily married couple
  • 夫婦仲 Fuufu-naka Conjugal relations, conjugal affection
  • 婚姻関係 Konin-kankei Marital relationship, marital relations

Using “fuufu-enman” in a sentence

Fuufu-enman is a common expression and is almost exclusively used in a positive context.

夫婦円満の秘訣の一つは、お互いにリスペクトを持つことです。Fuufu-enman no hiketsu no hitotsu wa, otagai ni risupekto wo motsu koto desu. One of the secrets to a happy marriage is to respect each other.

あの二人はいつもラブラブだね!夫婦円満で何より!Ano futari wa itsumo raburabu dane! Fuufu-enman de naniyori!  Those two are always so lovey-dovey! They seem so happy — that’s great!

結婚当時から、ずっと夫婦円満ですよ。Kekkon touji kara, zutto fuufu-enman desu yo. We’ve been happily married ever since we tied the knot. 

Want more? Follow our weekly Yojijukugo Japanese Idiom series published every Friday. Learn the meaning of “shikuhakku” here, “kikokushushu” here, and “zento-yoyo” here.