Jugemu

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Jugemu (寿?) is a Japanese folktale and is one of the most famous stories in rakugo, a form of Japanese spoken entertainment. It has a simple storyline, with the most humorous part being the repetition of a ridiculously long name. It is often used in training sessions for Rakugo entertainers.

Plot[edit]

In the tale, a couple could not think of a suitable name for their newborn baby boy, and so the father went to the temple and asked the chief priest to think of an auspicious name. The priest suggested several names, beginning with Jugemu. The father could not decide which name he preferred and, therefore, gave the baby all of the names. One day, Jugemu fell into a lake, and his parents barely arrived in time to save him as everyone who had to pass along the news had to spend a lot of time reciting his entire name.

Jugemu's full name is:

Jugemu Jugemu
Gokō-no surikire
Kaijarisuigyo-no
Suigyōmatsu Unraimatsu Fūraimatsu
Kuunerutokoro-ni Sumutokoro
Yaburakōji-no burakōji
Paipopaipo Paipo-no-shūringan
Shūringan-no Gūrindai
Gūrindai-no Ponpokopī-no Ponpokonā-no
Chōkyūmei-no Chōsuke
寿限無、寿限無
五劫の擦り切れ
海砂利水魚の
水行末 雲来末 風来末
食う寝る処に住む処
やぶら小路の藪柑子
パイポパイポ パイポのシューリンガン
シューリンガンのグーリンダイ
グーリンダイのポンポコピーのポンポコナーの
長久命の長助

Interpretation[edit]

Jugemu
Literally "limitless life".
Go kō no surikire
Literally "five (totaling 20 billion years) of rubbing off (the rock)". In Japanese legend, a heavenly maiden will visit the human world every three thousand years, leaving friction marks on a rock with her dress. It takes five or five times 4 billion years to split up the rock with the rubbing. The priest blesses the child to live that long.
Kaijari suigyo
Literally "gravels in the sea and fish in water". The number of gravels and fish in the world is supposed to represent the number of the child's luck and fortune.
Suigyōmatsu
Literally "where water eventually goes". Because water is free to go anywhere, the child is blessed with boundless well-being wherever he goes.
Unraimatsu
Literally "where clouds originally come". Because clouds come from anywhere, this is similar to the above.
Fūraimatsu
Literally "where wind originally comes". Similar to the above.
Kuunerutokoro
Literally "places to eat and sleep". It is fortunate to be free from hunger and shelterlessness.
Sumutokoro
Literally "places to live". Same as above.
Yaburakōji-no burakōji
Literally "Ardisia japonica bushes in Yabura Trail". The plant's modern Japanese name is yabukōji, also known as spearflower, and it is considered to be imbued with energy year-round. "Yabura" has no obvious meaning but may be from yabukōji shortened with the pluralizing ra.
Paipo, Shūringan, Gūrindai, Ponpokopī, Ponpokonā
These are fictitious names of a kingdom and the royal family in ancient China. Paipo was a rich and peaceful kingdom, where King Shūringan and his queen Gūrindai reigned. They gave birth to Princess Ponpokopī and Princess Ponpokonā, and all of them enjoyed longevity. These names, while not sounding particularly Chinese, sound foreign even to Japanese, and can be seen as satirical towards the complexity of classical Chinese names.
Chōkyūmei
Literally "long and lasting life".
Chōsuke
Literally "blessed for a long time".

Cultural references[edit]

The recitation from memory of these names is a feature of the NHK children's TV program Nihongo de Asobo ("Let's play with Japanese").

The story of Tikki Tikki Tembo, a popular American children's story published under the auspices of being a retelling of a Chinese folktale, is much more similar to Jugemu than anything in Chinese culture and its sources may have been directly copied from a Jugemu account.

Lakitu, the cloud-riding turtle-dropping enemy character of the Super Mario Bros. video game series is called Jugemu in Japanese versions of the game. In a similar reference, the eggs Lakitu drop, which turn into Spinies, are referred to as Paipo in Japan, despite having no specific name in English.[1]

Jugemu (#40) is a colossal underground monster appearing to be only a tiny twig with a single leaf on the surface in the video game Star Ocean: Blue Sphere.

"Jugemu-jugemu gokōnosurikire sammy-davis broilerchicken" is the chant Sasami uses to turn into Pretty Sammy in the Japanese anime Magical Girl Pretty Sammy.

The nameless "Scar" character in the manga Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reveals he shares his name with Jugemu in a yonkoma; his nameless opponent "Wrath" then reveals he also shares the name. They continue saying it while preparing for battle, until "Scar" bites his tongue.

A monkey with a similar name appears in several episodes of Gintama'.

Jugemu's full name is recited in the lyrics of Nippon Egao Hyakkei, the ending theme to Joshiraku, which is an anime about a troupe of female rakugo performers.

Lucy from Servant x Service also shares the similar fate as Jugemu (having a long name).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

"寿限無". 古典落語109. Retrieved 17 January 2012.