Japanese Idiom: Hold Someone’s Drum

Photo Credit: hank_rhoads

Photo Credit: hank_rhoads

I’m sure you’re familiar with the English idiom “to beat one’s own drum”, and at first inspection I thought this Japanese idiom was the same thing. But while there’s some similarities, the results are much different.

Taiko o motsu – 太鼓を持つ (たいこをもつ)

Meaning – To hold someone’s drum

This Japanese idioms means that you’re flattering someone by holding their drum while the make a bunch of noise. So you can see it has a lot of similarities to banging your own drum except you’re letting the other person do it and even helping them. Perhaps, since the Japanese taiko drums could be large and heavy, you’d be going out of your way to suck up to the person by letting them use you as a glorified drum stand :)

Here’s an example sentence from the book 2001 Japanese and English Idioms:

Kanojo wa joushi no taiko o motte, tokubetsu taigu o ukete imsau.


She’s getting special treatment by holder her bosses’ drum.

So have fun with that new idiom :D

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