“A child is a parent’s mirror” – Japanese Proverb

1. Text

Main piece: The informant shared a Japanese proverb that goes: “A child is a parent’s mirror”.

2. Context

Relationship to the piece:

Informant: “This one I heard it from my mom”



“I think it’s both [good and bad]”

“like if a child is nasty, then the parent is nasty”

“but if the child is well mannered usually the parent is too”

3. Analysis

This Japanese proverb is similar to proverbs in other cultures like the Korean proverb “If you plant beans you get beans” and the North American proverb “an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. This common comparison between parent and children across various cultures shows that people often judge parents by their children and vice versa. It also suggests that a child’s upbringing is very influential to their character. It seems to suggest that the parent-child bond is very strong and is difficult to break from. However, these proverbs come from traditional and conservative views of how families are structured and do not serve to explain all families. Therefore, the idea that children reflect their parents is not absolute but a cautionary message to parents raising children and children growing under the shadow of their parents to be better versions of themselves or break away from the mistakes or flaws of their parents.