Three Great Pleasures of Men: Drinking, Gambling, and Girls

In Japan, the phrase "drinking, gambling, and girls" has been around since ancient times, symbolizing the 'Three Great Pleasures of Men.' It is used to depict men indulging in these pleasures to their fullest extent.

Japanese culture has a rich tradition of unique expressions, and the phrase "drinking, gambling, and girls" is one such unique idiom. It represents the three major delights of men, namely 'drinking,' 'gambling,' and 'girls,' and it is also used to signify men making the most out of their pleasures.

Let's delve into what each of these terms specifically denotes:


Literally interpreted, "drinking" refers to the act of consuming large quantities of alcohol. It's a form of enjoyment for men to use their leisure time drinking at various venues such as snack bars, girl's bars, cabaret clubs, and other nightlife establishments. It serves as a way to deepen communication in social gatherings and is also a form of stress relief.


The term "gambling" refers to playing games of chance for monetary stakes. This includes games or sports where money or other items of value are bet. During the Edo period, dice games, card games like Hanafuda, and Go were popular. Today, due to legal restrictions, money games are controlled. However, public betting such as horse racing, cycling, boat racing, and auto racing are still legal, and through these activities, the act of 'gambling' continues.


"Girls" refers to spending money to gain the company or services of women. This practice dates back to the Edo period, when red-light districts existed. Nowadays, this practice is provided by various adult entertainment businesses such as 'pinsaro,' 'fashion health,' 'delivery health,' and 'soaplands.' It essentially implies spending money to engage in intimate encounters with women.


During the Edo period in Japan, the saying "don't carry over the money you earned in the evening" was popular. This proverb represented a mentality to spend all the money earned within the same day, depicting a lifestyle of immediate expenditure following earnings. This lifestyle was prompted by the frequent fires at the time and the unpredictability of when possessions could be lost. In the absence of today's financial institutions, spending money was an integral part of life.

This approach has been carried over to modern times, and the phrase "drinking, gambling, and girls" now symbolizes how men spend their earnings. In other words, the concept of enjoying drinks, gambling, and the company of women by spending the day's earnings still holds a strong place in today's Japanese society.