A place one goes to solve a problem when they are stuck.
kake komi dera
  • でら
  • Buddhist temple

でら is used to describe a place you might go to when you have a problem and are stuck figuring out how to handle it. Like many words it has a very interesting etymology.

In the Edo period, wives could not easily divorce their husbands while husbands could very easily divorce their wives. The only way to file for divorce from the wife’s end was to submit a letter of divorce to one of two Buddhist temples, either at Toukeiji (とうけい) in Kanagawa prefecture or (Mantokuji) まんとく in Gunma prefecture. Only two places in all of Japan!

It was very tough task because those wives had to travel alone by themselves without internet or public transportation. Some of them eve had their husbands chase after them, causing them to literally run into these temples that were referred to as でら, or refuge temples. As long as the wife arrived at either of the two temples, they were safe from their husbands and the divorces could proceed.

Although でら has a rather ugly history of sexism, nowadays the word itself has a positive connotation of “to be pulled out of a pinch”. Therefore, we often still see it used in advertisements, such as for services or lessons.

Example Sentences
  • romysensei.comはわたしほんがくしゅうでらだ。

    Romysensei.com is where I usually go when I’m stuck in my Japanese learning.

  • けっこんそうだんじょおおくの30だいどくしんしゃでらとなっている。

    The marriage agency is where many single 30’s go to find partners (because they have difficulties doing so in other places).