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Jugemu (寿限無/じゅげむ) is a famous rakugo story, a form of Japanese spoken entertainment. It has a simple story, with the most humorous part being the repetition of a ridiculously long name. It is often used in training for rakugo entertainers.
A couple could not think of a suitable name for their newborn son. The father went to the local temple and asked the chief priest to think of an auspicious name. The priest suggested "Jugemu" (寿限無), and several other names. The father could not decide which name he preferred, and therefore, gave the baby all of the names.
Jugemu's full name is:
Jugemu Jugemu (寿限無 寿限無)
Gokō-no Surikire (五劫の擦り切れ)
Suigyōmatsu Unraimatsu Fūraimatsu (水行末 雲来末 風来末)
Kuunerutokoro-ni Sumutokoro (食う寝る処に住む処)
Yaburakōji-no Burakōji (やぶら柑子のぶら柑子)
Paipopaipo Paipo-no Shūringan (パイポパイポ パイポのシューリンガン)
Shūringan-no Gūrindai (シューリンガンのグーリンダイ)
Gūrindai-no Ponpokopii-no Ponpokonā-no (グーリンダイのポンポコピーのポンポコナーの)
Chōkyūmei-no Chōsuke (長久命の長助)
(the NHK Nihongo de asobō version, partially replaced with kanji)
In one version of the tale, Jugemu got into a fight with a friend one day, and the friend suffered a large bump on his head. In protest, he went crying to Jugemu's parents. However, due to the amount of time it took to recite his name, by the time he finished, the bump on his head had already healed.
Another version states that Jugemu fell into a well and drowned; everyone who had to pass along the news spent a lot of time reciting his entire name. In yet another variant, Jugemu fell into a lake, and his parents barely arrived in time to save him.
Interpretation of Jugemu's name
Each part of Jugemu's name that the priest had suggested has an auspicious meaning:
- "limitless life".
- Gokō-no Surikire
- "five kō of rubbing off (the rock)". In Japanese Buddhist lore, a heavenly maiden would visit the human world once in every three thousand years, leaving friction marks on a huge rock with her dress. Eventually, the rock would wear down to nothing in the span of one kō, or 4 billion (4×109) years. The priest thus blesses the child to live at least 20 billion (2×1010) years, essentially for eternity.
- "gravel in the sea and fish in water". The amount of gravel and number of fish in the world is meant to represent the degree of the child's luck and fortune.
- "where water eventually goes". Because water is free to go anywhere, the child is blessed with boundless well-being wherever he goes.
- "where clouds originally come". Because clouds come from anywhere, this is similar to the above.
- "where wind originally comes". Similar to the above.
- "places to eat and sleep". It is fortunate to have both food and shelter at any time.
- "places to live". Same as above.
- Yaburakōji-no burakōji
- "Ardisia japonica (marlberry) bushes in Yabura Trail". The plant's modern Japanese name is yabukōji, and it is considered to be imbued with energy year-round. Yabura has no inherent meaning, but is inferred to be yabukōji with the pluralizing –ra suffix.
- Paipo, Shūringan, Gūrindai, Ponpokopii, Ponpokonā
- These are invented names of a kingdom and royal family in Ancient China. Paipo was a rich and peaceful kingdom, where King Shūringan and Queen Gūrindai reigned. They gave birth to Princess Ponpokopii and Princess Ponpokonā, and all of them enjoyed longevity.
- "long and lasting life".
- "blessed for a long time".
Japanese folklore studies classify "Jugemu" as a variant of tale type The Child with a Long Name. In the English speaking world, children's literature of this type is known by the titles "Tikki Tikki Tembo" and "Nicki Nicki Tembo".
An early version of this type is "Yoku kara shizumu fuchi" ('Sunk down the waters for greed'), in a book of jokes published in 1703, created by rakugo comedian Yonezawa Hikohachi. In it, a stepmother renames her sons. The stepson whom she hates is given a short name Nyozegamo, and her precious own son given a long Anokutarasambyakusambodai. One day, Nyozegamo falls into a river, but people swiftly rescue him. Another day, the mother's own son is swept by the river. She cries "Somebody, please! Anokutarasambyakusambodai is drowning!", but the boy is lost to the river as no-one comes to save him due to the time it takes her to say his name. Both names are garbled forms of phrases taken from Sino-Japanese readings of Chinese Buddhist sutras. The punchline is a Japanese pun involving the word sambyaku.
A book of horror stories published in 1805 contains "Isshini imyōo tsukete kōkai seshi hanashi" ('A tale of a man who named his son with a strange name, and regretted it'). In it, a man wishes to name his first son with a unique and long name. He consults a Confucian scholar, who recommends the name Daigaku shuki shouku shi teishino iwaku daigakuwa kōshino ishonishite shogaku tokuirunomon hyōe. A tutor of Japanese poetry sneers at this, opposing such use of foreign language to name a Japanese's son. The tutor proposes Nagakiyono tōnonefurino minamezame naminaminori funeno otono yoshibē, a traditional poem of good fortune. The scholar and the tutor starts quarrelling, so the father decides to make the name by himself. He solemnly declares it will be Tekitekini tekisuru onbō Sōrinbō sōtaka nyūdō Harimano bettō chawan chausuno hikigino Hyokosuke.
The name by the Confucian is taken from a translated Chinese Confucian textbook about Great Learning. The poem that the tutor referred to, in its original form nakakiyono tōnonefurino minamesame naminori funeno otono yokikana, is a palindrome of Japanese morae (similar to syllables). The story gives no explanation of the origin or meanings of "Tekitekini[...]". The book was written by a storywriter and storyteller with pen name Tozuisha.
The name "Jugemu" appears in a 1884 magazine article,[b] and the full story in a 1912 book. Another 1912 document suggests that the rakugo story of "Jugemu" may have existed by the mid-19th century.
According to a memoire published in 1927, there was another rakugo performed around the 1880s.[c] In it, the first child is named by a Shinto priest, but dies in infancy; the parents ask a Buddhist priest to name their second child. The name is Animanimanimamane shiresharite shyamiyashyai taisentemokutemokute aishabisoishabi shaeashae shamiyaarokyabashabishyani abendaranebite atandahareshite ukuremukure arareharare shugyashiasanmasanbi budabikkiridjitchi darumaharishude sogyanekushane bashabashashudaimandarā[d] The name is taken from a dharani (Buddhist chants in Sanskrit) in Lotus Sutra chapter 26. One day the child falls into a well and drowns; the punchline is a black humor relating Buddhist chants to Japanese funerals. This version is titled "Nagana (長名)". By the mid-20th century, it was no longer performed.
"Jugemu" is performed not only in yose (rakugo theaters), but also to other audiences and on mass media, especially for children.
"Jugemu" was on a 1926 newspaper's radio broadcast program, with the full name printed. There was another broadcast in 1932, this time for children, and the name printed on newspaper again. The story is told in children's magazines from as early as 1926. Even a prominent Japanese dictionary Kōjien describes the full name, since its 1991 edition. Television stations broadcast it also in children's programs. In 2003, NHK children's TV program Nihongo de Asobō ("Let's play with Japanese language") featured a game of reciting the name from memory. The program proved popular. There were schools that make all pupils memorize and recite it.
Since 2005, several elementary school textbooks include "Jugemu".
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 only being referred to as "Spiny's Eggs" or "Spiny Eggs" in English. The spiked balls thrown by Spikes and blown in the air by Ptooies are called shūringan in another reference. Additionally, a Lakitu by the name of Lakilester is named 'Pokopii' in the Japanese version of Paper Mario.
Jugemu's full name is quoted in the song "Jousha Hissui No Kotowari, Okotowari" (盛者必衰の理、お断り) by Japanese rock band KANA-BOON.
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.
In a short included as a DVD extra for the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series, the character known only by the mononym "Scar" reveals he shares his name with Jugemu; the character King Bradley (who is known to have adopted the name Bradley, originally bearing only the moniker "Wrath") then reveals that it happens to be his real name as well (though Bradley's voice actor repeatedly misses the third "Paipo"). They continue saying it while preparing for battle, until Scar, in reciting the name, accidentally bites his tongue.
Gintama has a monkey whose full name also starts with "Jugemu Jugemu", known for his vulgar habits. Trying to find a middle ground, the main characters have adopted a very long name which included insults regarding feces, certain species of fish and squid, as well as references to Final Fantasy IV and the Japanese rock duo B'z.
Lucy from Servant x Service also shares the similar fate as Jugemu (having a long name with a similar origin) and when she first reveals her name her co-workers remark that she is a "modern day Jugemu Jugemu".
In Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice (2016), case 4, "Turnabout Storyteller", contains multiple references to different rakugo, including Jugemu. At the beginning of the trial, the prosecutor Nahyuta Sahdmadhi is questioned about his knowledge on rakugo, and in response offers to read Jugemu, and begins the story, before being cut off by Athena Cykes in order to return focus to the trial at hand. A character appearing in the case, Geiru Toneido, also has a dog called Jugemu, named after the story. Later in the game, it is revealed that one of the game's antagonists, Inga Karkhuul Khura'in, in reality has a Jugemu-esque name: Inga Karkhuul Haw'kohd Dis'nahm Bi'ahni Lawga Ormo Pohmpus Da'nit Ar'edi Iz Khura'in III; his middle names are pronounced as "How could this name be any longer or more pompous than it already is?"
Jugemu's name is featured prominently in an episode of Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū. Two of the main characters perform it for a kindergarten their son attends.
In Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade, Miku Flick/02, and Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone, a Vocaloid producer named "Vocaliod-P" made a song named "Jugemu Sequencer"  which was inspired by Jugemu. This song has reached the Hall of Fame.
In episode 21 of Kamen Rider Fourze, the rakugo club can be heard practicing Jugemu when JK and Ryusei come to speak to one of the members.
In episode 33 of Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure, the five main characters come up with new attack names. Instead of choosing one, they combine them all into a really long attack name with several words from Jugemu's full name being a part of it.
In Overlord, many members of the Goblin Troop are named after Jugemu Jugemu, such as "Gokou", "Unlai", and "Yaburo".
- frame 73:「大学朱熹章句子程子曰大学孔子之遺書而初学入徳之門兵衛」様
- frame 75:「ながきよのとをのねふりのみなめざめなみなみのりふねのをとのよしべい」
- frame 76 (in original spelling):
- * Bibliographic information of the original magazine article: 経済記者 (1884-07-26). 経済学釈義 [Lecture on economics]. Tōkyō keizai zasshi (in Japanese). Keizai Zasshisha. 10 (224): 109. NCID AN00159377. (Meiji (era) 17 = 1884 CE)
- p109 quote:
- Note (not in text): The article is a lecture on economics. The author cites "that story of naming a child 'Jigemujigemu...'" as a metaphor to ridicule his opponent's theory. No source is mentioned.
- pp71-102: Full text of Noguchi's travelogue.
- p72: Noguchi leaves Kobe, Japan, on September 9, 1888, heading India.
- pp95-96: Episode of the long-name tale.
- p95: At Madras, Noguchi attends an international conference. For his turn of after-dinner speech, he chooses a tale he heard before at a yose (rakugo theater) in Kyoto.
- p96: The original punchline is: "The father calls out his son's name. A voice is heard down from the well, bubbling 'a-dabu-dabu-dabu'." But this punchline requires knowledge of how Buddhist chants are used in Japan. So, to suit the international audience, Noguchi changed the finale to "But it was too late!"
- Note (not in the article): This article indicates the original rakugo performance in Kyoto existed before 1888.
- pp71-102: Full text of Noguchi's travelogue.
- This book has no book-wide pagination. The travelogue's local pagination range is pp1–88.
- p4: Noguchi leaves Kobe, Japan, on September 9, 1888, heading India.
- pp68–70: Episode of the long-name tale.
- p69 (corrected version of the child's name): アニマニマニママネ、シレシヤリテ、シヤミヤシヤイ、タイセンテモクテモクテ、アイシヤビソイシヤビ、シヤエアシヤエ、シヤミヤアロキヤバシヤビシヤニ、アベンダラネビテ、アタンダハレシテ、ウクレムクレ、アラレハラレ、シユギヤシアサンマサンビ、ブダビツキリヂツチ、ダルマハリシユデ、ソギヤネクシヤネ、バシヤバシヤシユダイマンダラー
- This book has no book-wide pagination. The travelogue's local pagination range is pp1–88.
- "The Japanese Language Boom". Takarabako. The Japan Forum. 2005. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
- "Chochoi no choi anki "Jugemu"" ちょちょいのちょい暗記「寿限無（じゅげむ）」. Nihongo de Asobō (Let's play with Japanese) にほんごであそぼ (in Japanese). NHK. Archived from the original on 2020-11-01. Retrieved 2021-09-21.(Video in the archive does not work.)
- San'yūtei Fukuenyū (三遊亭福円遊) (1912-06-07). "Jugemu" 寿限無. Kokkei Hyakumensō 滑稽百面相 (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Miyoshiya (三芳屋). pp. 57–65. doi:10.11501/891285.
- Works related to :ja:寿限無 at Wikisource
- San'yūtei, Kinba III (1959). Ukiyo Dango 浮世だんご (in Japanese) (paperback ed.). Japan: Tsuribitosha (published September 1993). p. 64. ISBN 978-4885362217.
- Inada, Koji, ed. (1998-03-31). 857 長い名の子 [857 Child with a long name]. Nihon mukashibanashi tsūkan Kenkyū hen 2 Nihon mukashibanashi to koten 日本昔話通観 研究編2 日本昔話と古典 [General survey and analysis of Japanese folktales Research volumes 2 Japanese folktales and classic literature]. 同朋舎. pp. 604–605. ISBN 4810424901. OCLC 39688437.
- Transcribed text: Yonezawa Hikohachi (米沢彦八) (1966-07-05) . "Karukuchi gozen otoko (軽口御前男) volume 2 欲からしづむ淵". In Odaka, Toshio (ed.). 江戸笑話集. 日本古典文学大系 (in Japanese). Vol. 100. Tokyo, Japan: Iwanami Shoten Publishers. p. 313. OCLC 915506077.
- Text data: 6巻 軽口御前男. 'Hanashibon taikei' anthology full text database (噺本大系本文データベース) (in Japanese). National Institute of Japanese Literature. 欲からしづむ淵. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-12-12.
- "にょぜがもん 如是我聞". Nihon Kokugo Daijiten Concise edition (精選版 日本国語大辞典) via Kotobank. Shogakukan. 2006. Retrieved 2022-01-11. ['Nyozegamon', Thus have I heard]
- "あのくたらさんみゃくさんぼだい 阿耨多羅三藐三菩提". Nihon Kokugo Daijiten Concise edition (精選版 日本国語大辞典) via Kotobank. Shogakukan. 2006. Retrieved 2022-01-11. ['Anokutarasanmyakusambodai', Anuttara-samyak sambodhi]
- 松壽館老人 (1805). "Isshini imyōo tsukete kōkai seshi hanashi" 一子に異名を付けて後悔せし話. In 青雲軒主人 (ed.). Kikigakiamayonotomo 聞書雨夜友 (in Japanese). Vol. 4. Edo, Japan: 瑶池堂. pp. frame 72–78 of total 96 frames. doi:10.20730/100052278. Retrieved 2021-12-30. (Bunka 2 = approximately 1805 CE)
- Transcription and commentary:二流間主東随舎 (2000-10-30) . 聞書雨夜友（ききがきあまよのとも） - 一子に異名を付けて後悔せし話. In Kondo, Mizuki (ed.). Shoki Edo yomihon kaidanshū 初期江戸読本怪談集 [Anthology of horror stories in early-stage 'yomihon' of Edo period]. 江戸怪異綺想文芸大系 (in Japanese). Kokusho Kankokai (国書刊行会). pp. 654–657. ISBN 978-4-336-04271-2.
- Example: Zhu Xi (1766) . 大學 [Great Learning]. Shisho Shicchu (Sìshū Jízhù) 四書集註 (in Chinese). Vol. 1. Kyoto, Japan: 勝村治右衞門. frame 6. doi:10.11501/2583035. A Meiwa 3 (=1766 CE) reprint of a classic Chinese textbook.
- "宝船". Nihon Kokugo Daijiten Concise edition (精選版 日本国語大辞典) via Kotobank. Shogakukan. 2006. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
- Facsimile: 経済学釈義. Tōkyō keizai zasshi 東京経済雑誌 17 明治17年7-9月 221-233号 (in Japanese). Vol. 17, no. 224. Tokyo, Japan: Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha (日本経済評論社). 1884. p. 109. hdl:2027/uc1.c2785659. NCID AN00329943.
- Biography of a rakugo performer Hayashiya Shōzō the Fifth (ja:林家正蔵#5代目). Published as a serial (literature) on a Japanese newspaper.
- Fuku (ふく生) (1912-04-08). 怪談の正童（1） [Shōdō, virtuoso of horror rakugo (1)]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. p. 3.
- Fuku (ふく生) (1912-04-09). 怪談の正童（2） [Shōdō, virtuoso of horror rakugo (2)]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. p. 3.
- excerpts: He received a stage-name Shōkyō. His "Jigemu Jigemu" performance was good. Master Hayashiya Shōzō (the Second) was impressed, so adopted Shōkyō as a son.
- excerpts: But Shōkyō became arrogant. When he was 22 years old (in East Asian age reckoning), during around the Ansei era, he ran away from Master.
- Fuku (ふく生) (1912-04-11). 怪談の正童（4） [Shōdō, virtuoso of horror rakugo (4)]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. p. 3.
- excerpts: Years later, when Shōkyō came back, he found that Master Hayashiya Shōzō had already died in Ansei 5.
- Notes (not in the text):
- The article describes that Shōkyō runaway was in Ansei era, approximately 1855–1860 CE. However, this does not match with his age "22", which is calculated to be roughly around 1845 (1912 CE - 89 years old + 22 years old =1845 CE). But in either case, the article is suggesting that "Jigemu Jigemu" existed before 1860.
- No information about the storyline of the said "Jigemu Jigemu".
- Noguchi, Fukudo (1927-11-18). 四十年前の印度旅行 [My journey to India 40 years ago]. 日印協会会報 (Bulletin of Japan-India Association) (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Japan-India Association (42): 95–96. NDLBibID 000008858223.
- A 1930 reprint of Noguchi1927 with corrections: Fukudō Noguchi Zenshirō (復堂 野口善四郎) (1930-01-04). 四十二年前の印度旅行 [My journey to India 42 years ago]. 大鼎呂 (in Japanese). 東京: 二酉社 二酉名著刊行会. pp. 68–70. doi:10.11501/1151509.
- In modern Japan, Buddhism rites are mostly associated with funerals: Onishi, Norimitsu (2008-07-14). "In Japan, Buddhism May Be Dying Out". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2022-01-24. Retrieved 2022-07-03.
- "dabudabu" can mean the watery noise of drowning, or the sound of a Buddhist chant: "dabudabu" だぶだぶ. Nihon Kokugo Daijiten Concise edition (精選版 日本国語大辞典) via Kotobank. Shogakukan. 2006. Retrieved 2022-07-03. [(1-1) Depiction of sloshing; (1-5) Chanting a Buddhist chant. From "dabutsu" (from Amitābha)]
- Katsura Beicho III (桂米朝) (2020-04-16) . 長名について. 上方落語ノート第二集 [Kamigata rakugo, my research book 2] (in Japanese). Iwanami Shoten. pp. 186–187. ISBN 9784006023201.
- "Yomiuri radio section" よみうりラヂオ版. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. 1926-01-08. pp. 9–10.
- 『壽限無』の長助 - 長い長い赤ちゃんの名前（後7時50分落語）柳家権太楼 ["Jugemu"'s Chosuke – a baby's long long name (Rakugo. 7:50 PM) by Yanagiya Gontaro]. The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. 1932-07-26. p. 9.
- Nonkiya Kiraku (呑気屋気楽) (1926-06-01). "rakugo Jugemu" 落語 寿限無. Shōnen Club (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Dainihon Yūbenkai (Kodansha). 13. OCLC 6083714. NCID AA11256668.
- Shinmura Izuru, ed. (1992-11-17) [Edition 1:1955; Edition 4 print 1:1991-11-15]. じゅげむ【寿限無】. Kōjien (in Japanese) (Edition 4, print 2 ed.). Tokyo, Japan: Iwanami Shoten. p. 1230. ISBN 4-00-080103-1.
- Example: 番組名 にんぎょうげき「じゅげむ じゅげむ」. NHK Chronicle (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2022-07-05. Retrieved 2022-07-05. 放送日時 アナログ教育 1989年05月08日（月）午前10:30 - 午前10:45
- Sakaue, Hiroko (2011-03-01). 子どもメディア・言葉と文化をめぐる考察 - 第37 回「日本賞」教育コンテンツ国際コンクールから [Some thoughts on media for children, discourse, and culture – observations from attending the 37th Japan Prize competition convention] (PDF). チャイルド・サイエンス (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Japanese Society of Child Science (日本こども学会). 7 (2010年度): 29. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-12-10. Retrieved 2021-12-10. (TOC: 学会誌『チャイルド・サイエンスVOL.7』2011年03月発刊) (日本賞=Japan Prize (NHK))
- 「寿限無」CD化、授業にも 横須賀の大矢部小では全員で暗唱 ["Jugemu" now on CD and entering classrooms. Everybody recites in Oyabe elementary school, Yokosuka.]. Mainich Interactive (毎日インタラクティブ) (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. 2003-11-27. Archived from the original on 2003-12-03. Retrieved 2022-02-03. [from Mainichi Shimbun 27 November 2003 Kanagawa local edition]
- Nakashima, Mayumi (2008-03-31). Adoption of Japanese Classics in the 2005 edition of Japanese Language Textbooks for Elementary Schools. MANABIYA Journal of Teaching Course, Aichi Shukutoku University (Thesis) (in Japanese). Japan: Aichi Shukutoku University. p. 71. hdl:10638/987. ISSN 1881-0306.
- Legends Of Localization: Super Mario Bros.
- "【VocaliodP】Jugemu Sequencer【ProjectDIVA_AC応募曲】". October 2010.