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23

It's because English "free" has two major meanings which are totally different, and no native Japanese word covers both of the two meanings of "free". Free as in "free WiFi", no charge = 無料 Free as in "free speech", liberty = 自由 If you type only "free" to, for example, Google Translate, it can't guess the intended meaning, so it ends up with フリー, which ...


10

Historical Background According to the 歴史的{れきしてき}経緯{けいい} section of the 縦書{たてが}きと横書{よこが}き article on the Japanese Wikipedia, apparently in the late 1800s it wasn't altogether uncommon for printed materials to have Japanese still written vertically top-to-bottom with lines progressing right-to-left, with any European-language text written horizontally left-...


9

"Come true" isn't the literal translation of 叶{かな}う. The word かなう means "to fit; match; accord", in this sense in accord with 叶's meaning in Classical Chinese. So we are practically saying 願いが叶う "my wish matches it" as if a fixed phrase corresponds to "my wish comes true". かなう once had tons of kanji transcriptions (see below), but most of them were culled ...


7

I heard notation method of them were enacted in the period of Showa after WW2. This is a post card that was made before Showa era. はがき is written as はかき on it. However, actually it seems that they are used since long ago. It seems that 濁点 was used since Hiragana was invented in the 10th century and that 半濁点 was invented by Portuguese missionaries in the ...


7

Using ハ for particle "wa" was a part of their proper style to write official documents or letters at that time. The writing style of 日米和親条約 in your image is [候文]{そうろう・ぶん}, which was a formal writing style during the Edo period. If you would read other 候文 documents or letters written in the Edo period, you would notice that ハ is almost always used for ...


6

It's kanji written in a different style. I don't know enough to identify exactly which style, but it looks like a type of 草書体 (you can compare different styles here) The characters are: 鳩ヶ峰國分寺跡


6

I'm afraid I don't have any authoritative reference, but have you checked the Wikipedia article 婦人? 大正デモクラシーの時期、婦人という語は、普通選挙権要求運動とも連動し、斬新な響きを持った。「婦人公論」に代表されるように、「意識の高い成人女性」との響きさえあった。 婦人という語感が、「年輩女性」「既婚女性」との意味合いを持つようになり、次第に使われなくなった。 現代の日本語においてより一般化した呼称が「女性」である。「婦人」の語はやや古めかしいイメージを持つ古語になりつつある。 So 婦人 was a stylish word back in the early 20th ...


5

It's surprisingly easy to trace the origin of 女性観 since 日本国語大辞典 (日国) cites its first appearance. *吾輩は猫である〔1905〜06〕〈夏目漱石〉一一「古来の賢哲が女性観を紹介すべし」 But I don't much think it's appropriate to say it was "coined", because it's but an ordinary idea to put them together if you know both the words 女性 and 観. By the way, 女性 itself seems to have gained the meaning "...


5

The document follows consistent rules, if you look at it more closely. Firstly, the document itself is actually highly cursive, both in its kanji and hiragana. After this time and up until 1945, it became standard for treaties and formal documents to be written exclusively in kanji and katakana. The fact that this uses hiragana is a result of its cursive ...


5

To the best of my knowledge, and the knowledge of the dictionary's creator, the first Japanese-English dictionary is the one published by by James Curtis Hepburn in 1867. Hepburn was a physician and Protestant missionary in Japan, and you may recognize his name from Hepburn Romanization. In the preface to the dictionary, Hepburn notes that he is responsible ...


5

As you know, the character 'を' is primarily or exclusively used as a postpositional particle to mark the object as in '本を読む,' '字を書く,' while 'お' is widely used as a prefix to a noun in honorific or polite expressions like 'お元気でいらっしゃいますか,' 'お越しいただく,' 'お神籤,' 'お茶' and 'お神酒,' as well as a character to indicate an ‘o’ sound such as in 'おかしい(可笑しい),' 'おとす(落とす),' '...


5

This is actually an interesting little story. Old Japanese, as far as we can tell, didn't have a dedicated subject marker - if you wanted a subject that wasn't the topic also, you just left it unmarked. It had two genitive particles, though, *nə and *ŋga (modern の and が); which varied according to a kind of animacy hierarchy - *ŋga with personal pronouns ...


4

The author, Murasaki Shikibu, is known for badmouthing a contemporary writer for writing her works with kanji "as if she was a man" (it was believed back then that the more artistical "hiragana", which was not exactly current hiragana, was more fitting for women while the more complex and more intelligent-looking kanji were for males; katakana was reserved ...


4

Based on the 新明解{しんめいかい}国語{こくご}辞典{じてん}, the term 権現{ごんげん} refers to a bodhisattva, an avatar of the Buddha, or a Japanese god as a manifestation of a buddha in Shintoism. 徳川{とくがわ}家康{いえやす}, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, was worshipped and called 権現様{ごんげんさま} or 東照{とうしょう}権現{ごんげん} by people. So the line you quoted is translated as follows; In the ...


3

I can only answer part of your question: the shift from かんおん to かんのん in the reading of 観音 is listed by several sources as due to 連声. (Shogakukan's 国語大辞典, and 大辞林 and 大辞泉) The Japanese Wikipedia article on 観音 states: 日本語の「カンノン」は「観音」の呉音読みであり、連声によって「オン」が「ノン」になったものである。 The Japanese Wikipedia article on 連声 interestingly suggests that the 音読み of kanji ...


3

The most popular version is: 月が綺麗ですね。 But it's an unsupported anecdote, which is very close to urban legend. A library reference request was recorded regarding this topic, and the librarians' conclusion was, they could find no direct source for the story, though many books cite it in various forms from hearsay. That said, this episode itself I think ...


3

I suggest A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, by Kenneth Henshall. It gives both the true etymology (if known) and a mnemonic explanation that is more useful to memory. It seems to be exactly what you were looking for.


3

「[足利時代]{あしかがじだい}」 is just another name for 「[室町]{むろまち}時代」; There is no difference in what the two terms refer to. The former name exists because it was the 足利 family who were in control during that period (1336 - 1573). The latter is the usual name we learn in school in Japan. It is like calling 「[江戸]{えど}時代」 as 「[徳川]{とくがわ}時代」; The former is more common. ...


3

I searched for your question on the net. 朝鮮民主主義人民共和国(Democratic People's Republic of Korea) is a string of 11 kanji and it is comparatively well known. 外航船舶建造融資利子補給臨時措置法 is a string of 17 kanji. It is the law about the promotion in the Japanese shipping industry. I saw this for the first time and I think it is very little known.


2

This is a partial answer specifically about government kanji lists (prior answers did not go into detail). MEXT (文部省) and MOJ (法務省) publish official kanji lists (漢字表) like 常用漢字表 (MEXT) and 人名用漢字票 (MOJ). The former is a list of about 2000 kanji "for every day use" (常用) that schools teach and children are expected to learn in school. The second is a ...


2

My friend showed me a pretty satisfying one. It has all the 常用漢字 and also the Kanji are divided into groups 小学1-6 to 中学. It shows what original pictographs today's Kanji had, and each radical is described. Give it a shot. http://okjiten.jp It's completely in Japanese though.


2

Nowadays, を exists just as the particle. You can not distinguish the pronunciation of を from that of お. Originally, を was used for an independent sound, that was /wo/ not /o/ in phonology. 男 was をとこ never おとこ, 踊る was をどる never おどる till around 9th century. But it is said that を /wo/ and お /o/ were absolutely confused by the end of 11th century. Even if a ...


2

To look for a time before the word "Shinto" was used, you must look back to the Asuka period, as the question suggests. At this time, the educated term for Japanese ritual was jingi 神祗. But I would caution against thinking of this as Shinto. The formation of Shinto as a nationwide ideal for ritual, practice, and teaching, did not happen in the classical ...


2

It is clear (really!) that this sign is talking about two brands, one for traditional cards, the other for ("standard"? 52-card) Western cards: [Napoleon] トランプ [福] かるた Given the much greater flexibility with which Japanese characters can be positioned, and still read easily, this just looks like a bit of playfulness, to allow the two trademarks to be ...


1

It is 月が綺麗ですね. Apparently Souseki used it to teach the phrase "I love you", because as you might know saying I love you is considered too bold for many Japanese even nowadays. Just imagine how hard was it to say that sentence back in the 1900s. As for the origin of phrase, that is unfortunately not clear, as every written record of it is dated after the ...


1

It's actually due to a couple of things. For *-p, Japanese actually did originally borrow it as *-pu. Subsequent sound changes have turned Old Japanese *p into /w/ between vowels, and the resulting -(w)u has combined with the vowel before it. (Note that Modern Japanese /p/ is actually a Middle Japanese reintroduction from Chinese; where Old Japanese *p isn'...


1

I'm saying this not as a specialist but based on my studies of bungo (literary Japanese) and as someone who lived in Kansai for 4 years, but as far as I know there is nothing particularly Kansai-ben-ish about the concept of keigo in itself. What you've heard may have to do with particular forms that keigo uses nowadays, by judging from my own exposure to ...



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