Talk:Three wise monkeys

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More info[edit]

Does anybody know about Shuomen Kongo, Sarutahiko, Vadjra, or Koshin? Ben T/C 07:12, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

Hi, most of the information you are looking for you can find in —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:13, 21 April 2007

Thanks, that site is interesting, but may not be reliable; it doesn't give its own sources, and admits that some evidence (e.g. African occurrences) is not explained by its main thesis. - Fayenatic london (talk) 21:25, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Webmaster of advises that:
"... the site was never intended as a scientific study.
It is a homepage for collectors of No Evil Monkeys and it contains information to the best of my knowledge.
That knowledge is based on:
  1. over 30 years of collecting the No Evils (my collection includes more than 3'000 different items)
  2. more than 15 years actively searching for information about the origin and meaning of the 3 monkeys
  3. exchange of information with fellow collectors
  4. information from all kinds of sources, including several contacts in Japan."
Fayenatic london (talk) 14:18, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


The 'Meaning of the proverb' paragraph would gain at being developed a bit; First off, the concept of 'evil' is very different from the christian one ; Second, there are other interpretations, for instance, one from Wei Wu Wei, in 'Open Secret' : The practice of meditation is represented by the three monkeys, who cover their eyes, ears and mouths so as to avoid the phenomenal world. The practice of non-meditation is ceasing to be the see-er, hearer or speaker while eyes, ears and mouths are fulfilling their function in daily life. --Guillaume Rava. (talk) 22:57, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I removed the bullet in this section that claimed that in Japan the monkeys represent the golden rule. I did this because the 2 sources that were referenced do not make any such claim and are not knowledgable authorities on the subject matter. One source is an op-ed about local politics (no authoritative) and claims that "in the orient" the monkeys represent the golden rule (doesn't back claim of bullet). The other source is also an opinion about local politics.Jmattthew (talk) 01:47, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Merging proposal[edit]

It has been proposed this article should be merged with See No Evil Hear No Evil Speak No Evil. If there are no arguments for a merger I will remove the tag. Ben T/C 03:49, August 22, 2005 (UTC)

Merging seems like a good idea--the monkeys don't really exist except as a visual representation of the phrase. There is quite a bit of overlap between the two articles. Nareek 10:56, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

I support the merger proposal, for the reasons given above by Nareek. Fayenatic london 19:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Support the merge - dealing with one and the same thing. Madmedea 00:22, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Support -The preceding unsigned comment was added by at 06:52 on 23 January 2007.

LOL @ the 'fourth monkey'. Perhaps the fifth should be holding his head in his hand in a gesture of frustration.. 'think no evil' ^^'

I suggest we should add: Mahatma gandhi of India popularised the Three monkeys. They always adored his study.

k.s. parthasarathy, Bangalore, India:

Misspelling of Keisai Eisen's name[edit]


Trivia section of epic proportions[edit]

The trivia section has overgrown the article itself. I find it to have no merit and suggest removing it completely. Is that OK? nullie 01:21, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that it had outgrown the article itself, but I suggest reinstating it as a separate article rather than losing it altogether. I would have added another... Fayenatic london 19:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Now done: The three wise monkeys in popular culture. - Fayenatic london (talk) 12:38, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

So whatever happened to the trivia section ? Guillaume Rava. (talk) 22:46, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

It was deleted. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The three wise monkeys in popular culture. If you are interested, there is an old copy here. [1] - Fayenatic (talk) 22:32, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Mikazaru, Mazaru[edit]

What is the origin of the names Mikazaru (=hear) and Mazaru (=speak), when the Japanese proverb uses the standard readings of kikazaru and iwazaru for the respective kanji? The Japanese given after Mazaru- 言わ猿, is also incorrect. Are these English usage names? I couldn't get many relevant hits on Japanese Google searching for the terms, but plenty of references via English Google.

Actually, there's only one hit in Japanese (this blog), which is a restaurant review of a noodle bar in Germany, and the author wonders the same thing- why their names are "Mikazaru, Mazaru" when they should be "Kikazaru, Iwazaru". The number of English hits for Mikazaru/Mazaru seem to confirm the acceptance of those names outside Japan though. --DrHacky 18:03, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

The origin is User:JSweit8573, and it is incorrect. I will fix it. Bendono 05:49, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so sure it is incorrect though- there were a number of Google hits supporting the usage in English (at least not in Japanese), including things like trivia questions and the above-mentioned German noodle bar. I couldn't find a reliable source, but these names must be based on something. Perhaps it was the old Japanese usage which modern Japanese has forgotten, or there was an early mistranslation. Perhaps User:Fayenatic_london, who put in the inline note asserting these names could provide their source. We might need to have the opening para say something like "They are called Mi/Kika/Iwazaru in Japanese, although Western sources sometimes call them Mi/Mika/Mazaru." --DrHacky 07:45, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Then a reliable resource will need to be quoted. The Japanese resources are clear on issue. The only difference historically was how 言わざる was written: 言はざる. This is just a historical spelling and not worth mentioning. Early quotes for the proverb start to appear c. 1650 (吾吟我集). Bendono 08:03, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I just merged the pages as I found them (this article and "see no evil..."). Looking at the characters now, it seems that the first set are Chinese and the second set are Japanese (including Chinese Kanji) for the same thing, so they do not explain or support the Western names. I will ask a collector. - Fayenatic london (talk) 08:31, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
I think a Google search is sufficient to demonstrate that the alternate usage exists in the West. A reliable academic citation would be needed to _explain_ the usage or indicate its entry into English, but is still desirable for completeness' sake as well as for my own curiosity. BTW- The source I gave above from the Japanese blogger shows the usage in Germany, so saying "in English" is not entirely accurate. Mind you, I would not say either set of names is widely known, in my experience (for what that's worth), despite the notoriety of the "3 wise monkeys" themselves, so I have no idea why these trivia quiz writers keep using the alternative usage. --DrHacky 15:49, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. If the alternative names really are valid, then a reliable source should be easy to quote. Neologisms are to be avoided. Without a reliable resource, who is to say that the information was not merely invented for Wikipedia and spread from there? It certainly would not be the first time to happen. Contested content without a reliable source may be removed. Before that happens, I think it is fair to give time for someone to provide that source. Bendono 16:58, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
The Google search gives evidence of usage pre-dating the April 2007 change that you identified above. Also, what was wrong with stating "the West" to include Germany (given the original example above)?[2] As for the origin of the variant names, the collector I referred to is busy but says he will reply later. Meanwhile, if the page doesn't acknowledge the variants, then new editors will go on changing the names in this article, as they were doing before you removed my inline note. - Fayenatic london (talk) 17:29, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Please review WP:V and WP:RS and possibly even WP:NEO. A Google search is not a reliable source. You said that you merged the information from elsewhere, prior to April 2007, so the search itself really does not mean very much. I used to live in the "the West", and these monkeys had the same names as in Japanese. If a source is quoted, perhaps a more appropriate description can be provided. If editors continue to add variants, then they must have a resource; hopefully someone can share that. Searching in Google Scholar, for example, for Mikazaru does not produce any results. The content does not seem right and is contested. Just provide a reliable source, as per Wikipedia policy, and then there will be no problems. Bendono 21:27, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Looking through the results on the (deleted) Google search, I see what you mean. The sites are nearly all blogs and such like. The oldest source I have found so far is The Tribune, largest-selling daily of north India, July 26 2003 [3], quoting both the correct Japanese proverb and the variant names for the monkeys. This newspaper appears not to be a tabloid, although the web column "Do You Know" might not be its most reliably-researched section. - Fayenatic london (talk) 22:26, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I noticed that link as well. As a resource, it is not very convincing, nor does it provide any more data than is already in the article. For all we know, Gaurav Sood (who "compiled" the information) may have merely copied the information from Wikipedia back in 2003; he, too, does not provide any resources. Ideally a resource should comply with WP:PSTS. There's no immediate hurry. Lets give it a few weeks and see if any fruitful comes up. Bendono 23:55, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Sources? You wants sources? I'll gives ya sources. Your mention of Google Scholar reminded me I hadn't tried Google Books yet, and it came up with a handful of useful hits- (Google Books results). The most reliable would be The Origins of English Words, which however is dated 2006. The oldest is a mention in American Co Mason Official Bulletin of the American Federation of Human Rightsfrom 1928, giving the usage a long vintage. "The Trivia Encyclopedia" from 1974 also gets a hit, but no previews are available, and I'd bet that's the source for all our trivia masters. Unfortunately, none of these yet explain the difference in usage. --DrHacky 03:50, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. While they do not give any further details, they are verifiable and should suffice. Feel free to cite then as you deem appropriate. Bendono 04:11, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Looking at the wiki article for The Trivia Encyclopedia seems to support my speculation that it is the source for the modern popularity of the alternate usage, and possibly that the terms were deliberately misrepresented (although based on earlier usage). I have no idea how one would prove this speculation though, unless it's by personally asking each blogger and trivia writer on the google search what their source was. It seems to be the more popular reference using "Mika/Mazaru", despite there being heaps of references earlier than it using the Japanese "Kika/Iwazaru" names (Google Book search). --DrHacky 05:28, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
That sounds likely. As we are speculating here, I wouldn't be surprised if the variants started with an English-speaker misreading his own notes, as Iwa- could look like Ma-, and the arch of a scribbled K- could look like M-; but this is unprovable. Anyway, good editing -- I'm glad you joined the work on this page! Fayenatic london (talk) 13:00, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
A bit late into the discussion, but I was going to suggest the same possible explanation as Fayenatic did - I can imagine 'Iw' being misread as 'M' TomorrowTime (talk) 13:00, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I briefly partook in this discussion (although indirectly) when I made an edit on 00:36, 25 June 2007‎ regarding the English transcription. While I do find the present phrasing of "In English, the monkeys' names are often given as Mizaru,[2] Mikazaru,[3] and Mazaru,[4] but the last two names were corrupted from the Japanese originals.[5][6]" better than before, I believe it could still benefit from a modification. While I understand and appreciate the authors' intent to acknowledge the use of Mikazaru and Mazaru, these are quite possibly typos and I believe efforts should be made to not perpetuate these mistakes. Furthermore, these transcriptions are not used in Japan in any English-language literature or publications. I believe a more accurate balance could be struck by modifying to "Outside of Japan, the monkeys' names are sometimes given as Mizaru,[2] Mikazaru,[3] and Mazaru,[4]; the last two names being corrupted from the Japanese originals.[5][6]" The changes include: 1) "outside of Japan" which is more accurate than "In English", and I suspect closer to the intent of the previous authors. 2) Changed "...often given as..." to "...sometimes given as..." since the term "often" may mislead the reader to believe the incorrect transcriptions are preferable. The names, outside of Japan, are also often given by the correct transcription, so the term "often" is misleading. I will delay an edit for a week so that the previous authors can consider this suggestion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Swleman (talkcontribs)

Order of Monkeys[edit]

I note that many places (including a current example illustration) reverse the first two. Any explanation on this? Is it a recent corruption? (talk) 13:26, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Removing unrelated link[edit]

I'm removing the link to (note nr.4), supposedly explaining the link between the three monkeys and the italian term "omertà". The link leads to an online newspaper openly supporting a political party (Lega Nord) and the specific article doesn't deal with the three monkeys at all, just with some alleged links between mafia and left wing italian parties. The "non vedo, non sento, non parlo" maxim is actually used in the article, but I think it's a rather poor motivation to use that as a reference. It's rather clear to me that whoever linked that page had a purpose other than those that should exist on Wikipedia. On a side note, I'm changing the expression "local code of silence", which I think gives the wrong idea about a behaviour that's neither "local" nor perceived as a "code of honor" by most of italian society, today "omertà" is considered rather something that's to be discouraged, even in the same regions where it was felt as an actual code of honor in the past.


Currently the article is titled "Three wise monkeys", yet in the lead sentence they are called "Three Wise Monkeys". The rest of the article is inconsistent. Judging from Google results, usage varies. I am personally agnostic, but the article should be internally consistent. Does anyone have any strong feelings on which style we should go with? (talk) 02:23, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Very well, since no one has an expressed an opinion, I have requested a move to "Three Wise Monkeys". (talk) 12:28, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I think this would be incorrect, see WP:TITLEFORMAT; this was accepted at the capitalised page Talk: Three Wise Monkeys. Instead, I will change the text in the article accordingly. Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency. – Fayenatic (talk) 12:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)


The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus to move, plus current title does no harm to WP whether Three wise monkeys is sometimes considered a proper noun or not Mike Cline (talk) 03:11, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Three wise monkeysThree Wise Monkeys

  • Capitalisation consistency; see comments at Talk:Three wise monkeys#Capitalisation (talk) 12:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, see WP:TITLEFORMAT. I will change the uppercase instances to lowercase in the article text instead. – Fayenatic (talk) 12:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Well, I am not terribly fussed either way, but you may be missing the point. Many people treat this as a proper name, hence capitalise it. See this, for example. I think this is a reasonable position to take. (talk) 12:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
    • I was going by the above statement in September that "usage varies". I suppose it should depend on whether a clear majority of people treat it as a proper name. The chart that you kindly linked to (thanks, by the way – I had never seen that feature before!) indicates that present usage is evenly split, but that historically a majority have not capitalised the phrase as a proper noun. – Fayenatic (talk) 22:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

GTA V Trailer Reference.[edit]

The new trailer references this, should it be added? (near the end) David1544 (talk) 00:49, 17 November 2012 (UTC)