If you've ever been impressed by Japanese convenience stores, you may never have heard of the term yorozuya. This term is used to refer to stores that sell everything, or the willingness to offer, sell or do everything for money.
The word yorozuya [万屋] refers to stores that sell everything, or people who do all kinds of services. Yorozuya sometimes refers to someone who knows everything. It can refer to a person who does everything broadly and superficially, that is, a generalist.
You may have heard of yorozuya through the anime Gintama, which refers to your company that performs any service for money. What is the connection of the stores that sell everything with the anime Gintama?
Yorozuya - Japanese Warehouse
There are many stores in Japan called “Yorozuya”Mainly in remote regions and in the fields. In areas with a small population, it is difficult to establish specialized stores because there is no demand, so we find the stores yorozuya.
It is usually a tiny supermarket or liquor and candy store that usually sells other products. In the countryside, there can be literally “stores of everything”, from fresh food to stationery, but there are some that sell everything.
Yorozuya can be considered an old version of a konbini. In fact, these convenience store franchises that also sell everything, have replaced yorozuya with each passing year, leaving only those in remote places.
In the past, it was also called Banji or Banya. In Okinawa, it's called Machiya. Its English equivalent is General Store, which indicates its broad and superficial meaning. The closest we find in Portuguese is the term warehouse, but I can't say if it is an appropriate translation.
The meaning of the Word Yorozuya
“Yorozuya”Is written with the character of 10,000 [万]. A generic term for shops in front of the station and on the corners where various groceries and various products of the day are sold. You could say that it was the predecessor of today's convenience stores.
In real life the word is written only with the ideograms [万屋] where the 10,000 can be translated as “all“. In the anime Gintama, the ideogram of thing [事] to literally mean “Shop of 10,000 businesses” [万事屋].
The ideogram added in the anime [事] does not change the pronunciation or reading of the word, but adds the sense of business, matter, thing or service. Even in the anime Gintama, Kagura refers to the predecessor name banjiya.
In the Gintama anime, yorozuya also went into extinction after the Joui Wars, leaving only that of Gintama. The same is true in real life, where convenience stores have replaced these generic stores, with few remaining.
Jack-of-all-trades - A stick for every job
Yorozura also refers to a popular English term Jack-of-all-traders that can be translated as stick-to-all-work. The full expression is jack of all trades, master of none, whose meaning is “does a little bit of everything, but nothing right”.
It is a figure of speech used to refer to a person who has been involved in many skills, rather than gaining experience by focusing on one. It looks a lot like me, lol!
In short, the word yorozuya it can refer to stores that sell everything, daily necessities, warehouse or variety store, as well as a person who knows a little about everything. Did you know these little Japanese stores?