Wikipedia:Japan-related topics notice board/Archive 2

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Question about article title

I've started an article on 鈴木雅明 at Masaki Suzuki. He goes by Masaaki Suzuki in the roman alphabet, but I don't know whether that's a long a or two separate vowels. Can someone tell me? Mark1 16:00, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

That's two separate vowels. 雅 is "masa" and 明 is "aki". Of course, technically, there's no difference in Japanese between the long vowels and the double vowels - each should take two syllables to say. LordAmeth 18:49, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks! Mark1 21:10, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

There is of course a difference in pronouncing long vowels and double vowels. The ā in sābisu (service) is pronounced as a long, unbroken vowel, while the double a in Masaaki has a break in it. You can even write it Masa'aki to mark the syllable break. There are many more examples such es kawaī vs. gi'in (Parliament) -- Mkill 01:12, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure how differently the Japanese pronounce them in practice... and while I agree that an apostrophe is possible in some romanization systems, it's not a part of Wikipedia Hepburn, so it's best to avoid it here. WP's Hepburn would result in writing shūgiingiin'un'eiiinkai (衆議院議員運営委員会, the equivalent of the US House Rules Committee, I think) with just two apostrophes, despite a triple and two double vowels! (I hope I got it right...) Fg2 07:08, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
That you can use an apostrophe doesn't mean that you have to, and per contra your disinclination to use an apostrophe doesn't force you to use a macron. Consider 広尾 (an area within Tokyo that has an outstanding library, which is why I go there). Even in a Hepburn (groan) -using world, this is written "Hiroo" or "Hiro-o", because it has an audible break. "O" is of course common as a second unit of boys' names (Nobuo, etc.); 弘雄 should be written Hiroo unless perhaps the particular person has another preference (and it is his name, after all). - Hoary 07:59, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
There can be a difference in the way some long and double vowels are said, at least in the example given (Masaaki). It took me a while to really hear it when I first started learning Japanese, but it is there. As for writing 広尾, I don't think "Hiro-o" is good as it implies a break in pronunciation when there is none for long or double "o" unless it's something like 広尾王 (Hirō-Ō (King Hirō), a bogus example as I don't think this name actually exists, but it gets the point across). --日本穣 Nihonjoe 08:11, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Council of five regents, or 五大老, of Toyotomi

I proposed to change the name of the article Council of five regents. Please see Talk:Council of five regents and leave comments, if interested in. --Corruptresearcher 09:42, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Very pretty

At Shiseido, we read: Shiseido was the first cosmetic producer in the world. Initially is popular in Asia (Hong Kong and Taiwan), Shiseido global scope began in 1980,. While I might be able to guess at what the second sentence is supposed to mean, I don't want to guess wrongly; and I can't guess at the meaning of the first sentence. (Surely the first producer of cosmetics is lost in prehistory.) Unfortunately this isn't a subject I know about or even have much interest in. Somebody with access to the requisite reference books might have a bash. -- Hoary 08:05, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Era names

The original author of (to take one example) Nakaji Yasui wrote in the first sentence "(December 15, 1903 (Meiji 36) - March 15, 1942 (Showa 17))". Now, I dislike both parentheses within parentheses and also lumbering first sentences with relative trivia, but I'm also wary of doing anything that can be called "removing information", so I provisionally improved (?) that to "(December 15, 1903 (Meiji 36) - March 15, 1942 (Shōwa 17))".

What I wonder is: Does it help to have years in Shōwa (etc.) as well as the de facto standard system?

The division of the 20th century into Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa and Heisei is convenient for the publishers of popular histories and the like, and so for example I was happy to shell out for a set of 『木村伊兵衛 昭和を写す』. But I think its explanatory value in places like years of birth and death is minimal, and that it's just clutter, mere noise. Is there any reason why I shouldn't zap it? -- Hoary 10:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

My guess is that someone translated from the Japanese. Japanese people find it helpful, and translators sometimes copy whatever is in the original article without considering whether it's helpful for readers of the target language. Personally, I don't expect that readers of English would find era names helpful for Meiji and beyond, except for things somehow closely related to the Emperor. Fg2 11:18, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the confirmation. OK, I'll delete this. -- Hoary 04:55, 9 April 2006 (UTC)


I've nominated Category:Nihongo for deletion at Wikipedia:Categories_for_deletion/Log/2006_May_17.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  04:22, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Butter-kusai gaijin

I've read (in a book about language by an American, with apparently some help from a Japanese linguist) about the Japanese word bataa-kusai referring to foreigners (actually, the book alleged the word meant "smells of foreign hair", not butter), but I've never actually read it in any reliable source, nor met a Japanese person that new of any truly derivitive words for foreigner, apart from yaban-jin. That being said, I don't really know any Japanese that could truly be called a linguist, so it's very possible that there are some.

Anyways, I came across a sourced tidbit at Body odor that claimed the original European visitors to Japan were called bataa-kusai, and that all things foreign were still called that now. I removed the obviously bogus second part of that statement, which wasn't implied in the source either, but I'm not entirely sure about the first part of that either; the source isn't very good. Anybody know a little more about this?  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  11:14, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

old-fashioned word. not used frequently these days. Isorhiza 11:53, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Iwanami Kokugo Jiten 3rd Edition lists batakusai as meaning what you called "things foreign." It does not give a history or derivation of the word, but lists it under bata, the entry that immediately precedes bataa (and has no definition itself, other than "see bataa). Fg2 12:05, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
OK, then I'll leave it as it is with my changes.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  14:02, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
The Kōjien (5th ed) defines Bata-kusai (バタ臭い, bata kusai) as "adj. (meaning "smells of butter") Recipient of Western influences. Western.", so, according to this definition, I presume it's something more Western than just plain foreign. -- Tangotango 14:10, 23 May 2006 (UTC)