What is the origin of the legend of the three wise monkeys 'Hear-No-Evil, See-No-Evil and Speak-No-Evil'?
Question #42970. Asked by gmackematix.
Last updated Aug 23 2016.
Answer has 3 votes
Currently Best Answer
sequoianoir 20 year member
Answer has 3 votes.
Currently voted the best answer.
The monkeys appear in a wooden carving at the seventeenth century Toshogu shrine in Nikko, Japan. The shrine is the mausoleum of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the three monkeys were the guardians of the stables.
In Japanese, the phrase "see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing" is mizaru, kikazaru, iwazaru. The word for monkey (saru or zaru) sounds the same as the verb-ending zaru, so to represent the phrase with the three monkeys in the appropriate poses is a play on words.