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小確幸 is a newly popular word in Taiwan. It supposedly comes from a Japanese novel. Is this right? If so, who was the author, and what was the book? Does anyone have any suggestions for a translation? (I would like translations with some specific basis.) If you are from Taiwan, would you feel this word is appropriate to use? In what context? If you are from mainland China, are you familiar with this word? How widely known or used is it there? Thanks.

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小确幸 is borrowed from Japanese 小確幸, which is created by the Japanese novelist 村上春树 (Haruki Murakami) in his collection of essays ランゲルハンス島の午後 (兰格汉斯岛的午后, Afternoon in the Islets of Langerhans). In Japanese, it means 小さいけれども、確かな幸福, you can translate it as little but certain happiness same as here.

And according to here,

村上春樹の造語「小確幸」(しょうかっこう)は本作品の原題 "A Small, Good Thing" に由来する。

and here (it seems to be a replay to a question from some reader by 村上春树)

そうですね、レイモンド・カーヴァーのいうところの『ささやかだけれど、役にたつこと』を大事にしていきたいですね。僕流にいえば「小確幸」です。

村上春樹拝

【是啊,Raymond Carver所说的这种"a small, good thing", 想要一直珍惜下去呢。用我的话来说就是"小确幸".】

It seems that 小確幸 derived from A Small, Good Thing, which is an award-winning story written by the American short story writer and poet Raymond Clevie Carver Jr., so might translate it as A small, good thing as well.

And according to here (it seems come from a conversation between 村上春树 and his fans), and here (the 2nd comment),

(小確幸は)「しょうかっこう」です。英語ではsmall, solid happinessです。略してSMASOLIHAP「すまそりはっぷ」です。言いにくいですね。やはり日本語の「しょうかっこう」の方がいいな。 【村上朝日堂「スメルジャコフ対織田信長家臣団」】

村上春树 translate it as small, solid happiness by himself, and SMASOLIHAP for short.

And here is a passage from 村上春树, it explains the sense of 小确幸, maybe could help you to understand how to use it:

生活の中に個人的な「小確幸」(小さいけれども、確かな幸福)を見出すためには、多かれ少なかれ自己規制みたいなものが必要とされる。たとえば我慢して激しく運動した後に飲むきりきり冷えたビールみたいなもので、「うーん、そうだ、これだ」と一人で目を閉じて思わずつぶやいてしまうような感興、それがなんといっても「小確幸」の醍醐味である。そしてそういった「小確幸」のない人生なんて、かすかすの砂漠のようなものにすぎないと僕は思うのだけれど。

【要找出生活中自己的小确幸的话,多少需要一些类似自我约束的东西。比如自我忍耐激烈运动之后喝的清凉的冰镇啤酒,一个人闭上眼睛不知不觉地嘟囔出"嗯,对了,就是这个"的感觉,不管怎么说都是小确幸的精髓。而且没有这种小确幸的人生,我觉得不过就是干巴巴的沙漠罢了。】

Reference:
http://www.haruki-m.com/meigen/uzumaki.html
ささやかだけれど、役にたつこと
小确幸
小确幸 原文
村上的“小确幸”和我的“小确幸” / 林少华

  • cc-cedict: sth small that one can find pleasure in (e.g. a cold beer after a hard day, or a serendipitous find in a second-hand store) – user3306356 Jul 19 '15 at 0:50
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    两岸: 微小但確實的幸福。源於日本作家村上春樹的《蘭格斯島的午後‧小確幸》,書中以「小さいけれど確かな幸せ」(「小確幸」即取日文漢字部分而來)形容把洗滌乾淨的內褲捲好並整齊地放入抽屜的滿足感。 – user3306356 Jul 19 '15 at 0:50
  • What is the source for claiming that the phrase was inspired by Carver's short story? Is it used in mainland China at all? It seems you can't turn on a talk show in Taiwan without hearing it five times. – wpt Jul 19 '15 at 2:51
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    Search "Haruki Murakami Carver Small, Good Thing” on line for many English language pages discussing Haruki's friendship with Carver, and Haruki's translation of the story "A Small Good Thing." None that I found discuss Haruki's own use of the phrase. – Colin McLarty Jul 19 '15 at 3:21
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    @wpt I added some additional infomation, which might explain the relationship between 小確幸 and A Small, Good Thing. – songyuanyao Jul 19 '15 at 4:30
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In Taiwan, it was a term related to 文青 (abbr of 文藝青年; literary and artistic youths) bacause it's from the work of Haruki Murakami that is famous in Taiwan. However now it's also a ironic term for those who just persue their own happiness instead of facing the present social problem or being competitive. [eg. http://www.businessweekly.com.tw/KBlogArticle.aspx?ID=8015&pnumber=1 "只要能養活2,300萬人就好!害死台灣的「小確幸」思維" (from Business Weekly)]

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