お家芸 (おいえげい, oiegei) is an advanced Japanese word that means “(one’s) forte or adept skills”. It is often used to describe an organisation or country, e.g. anime, manga, and judo are Japan’s お家芸 (strong areas). It is also used to describe someone’s excellent skills, as in “コーナーキックは彼(かれ)のお家芸だ”, meaning “A corner kick is his お家芸 (forte/adept skill).” Sometimes, people use this word to describe something negative as an irony or self-deprecation humour, as shown in the example sentences below. Since this word is highly advanced (even for Japanese people), you will either impress or bewilder Japanese people by using it.
Word Origin and Structure
お家芸 used to indicate profound family crafts that are passed down from generation to generation. The first kanji “家” means “house”, and the second one “芸” means “skills/crafts”. The prefix “お” is added before 家 to make it sound more formal and polite, as in “お金 (お + money)” and “お名前 (お + name)”.
This research topic is the お家芸 (forte) of our laboratory.
A: You’re late again!
B: Yep, this is my お家芸 (adept skill)
Making contradictory statements is the お家芸 (forte) of the Diet member.
Synonyms: 十八番 (see below)
Synonyms in English: forte, strength
Related words and phrases:お (prefix that adds politeness), 家 (house), 芸 (skill)
十八番 (ohako/jūhachiban): ‘Your Best Song to Sing at Karaoke’ in Japanese
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