There are a few characters handwritten in a miniature umbrella acquired in Hakone mountain in the mid 60’s that I don't understand. Could you please help me with those characters?

I’ve transliterated most of the writing and it is shown below the image of the miniature umbrella. In the image, each line is sectioned in alphabetic order and then shown in type where「・」indicates an unknown character.

enter image description here

The full resolution image can be viewed here (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/127548755/20140627-133555-%5BFw%5D.jpg)


(A)箱根の山は (B)天下の岐 (C)・谷間ヲ・ならず (D)万丈の山干・の谷 (E)前に・びえ (F)雲りえに友ら (G)雲は山・めぐり (H)霧は谷そとざす (I)昼なそ暗さ (J)杉の並木 (K)着物の小径は (L)莟・らか (M)一天関に当るや (N)万天ヲ・くな・ (O)天下に・する (P)剛毅のヲののふ (Q)大刀・に足・がけ (R)・・の岩根 (S)踏みならす (T)斯くこそありしか (U)往時のヲののふ

On the other hand, the umbrella’s package shown below has one unknown character also indicated in the type by the symbol「・」。

enter image description here



Dictionaries referenced.

The following dictionaries have handwritten capabilities, search by kanji within words or by radicals.

  1. Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten DS (Nintendo DS, ジーニアス Jīniasu)
  2. Apple dictionary (OS X, Mavericks)
  3. http://jisho.org/kanji/radicals/
  4. http://kotobank.jp/
  5. http://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/sinograms.html?r
  • 1
    I would use a different character than ・ for the unknowns. It's really hard to see in all that writing.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 23:42
  • 1
    You need to consult a better dictionary. For example, 𡸴 is a variant of 嶮 (which you should be able to find). You've also misidentified も as ヲ a number of times.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 23:46
  • Istrasci, what could be a more adequate symbol to indicate an unknown within characters?
    – Andru
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 4:23
  • 3
    @Andru Any complex symbol like ☆, ※, or ? will do, but actually there is a specific symbol which mean "unreadable/unprintable character" in Japanese: 〓 下駄記号. Input げた and your IME will give this symbol.
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


This is a famous song 箱根八里【はこねはちり】 by Rentaro Taki. (English translation)


This song was written before 現代仮名遣い was introduced, and its original lyrics are full of kanjis which even native Japanese (including myself) can't read any more.

It seems your umbrella has simplified some of the kanjis, used hiragana, and even introduced some easy kanjis, but basically this Wikipedia article will help you understand.

  • B: 物ならず
  • F: 支う (not 友ら)
  • U: 往時のもののふ

And the bottommost character in the package is "険" in modern Japanese, and means "steep (mountain)".


This kanji is not exactly 「険」 nor 「嶮」, but such mixture can happen. (I really don't know whether this kanji is correct or wrong.)

  • 1
    My impression is that half-simplified half-traditional characters are frequently seen when the full traditional character might be "a bit too much", so that the traditional half gives it the necessary "traditional flavour" and the simplified half makes it easy to read. In that sense, a perfect fit for a souvenir as far as I can tell.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 1:43
  • The song sounds invigorating. Definitely the most exciting part of the song is written in the umbrella. The english translation given above (goo.gl/hcYYTB) makes evident the suspicion I had of this poetic writing. Listen (goo.gl/gqDxwt, 4 MB) or watch a live performance cover of the song including on screen lyrics (goo.gl/dilN4W, 56 MB) This is a miniature umbrella styled as a bangasa「番傘」made of wood and paper. It feels fragile to the touch specially when opened. Here is an entry blog showing other miniature bangasa similar in size and packaging; goo.gl/vVuwWU
    – Andru
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 4:42

Here's what I see:

(A)箱根の山は → OK
(B)天下の岐 → 天下の𡸴
(C)・谷間ヲ・ならず → [函谷]{かん・こく}[関]{かん}も?ならず
(D)万丈の山干・の谷 → 万丈の山干(looks like ⺅+刃)の谷
(E)前に・びえ → 前にびえ
(F)雲りえに友ら → しりえに友? ???
(G)雲は山・めぐり → 雲は山めぐり
(H)霧は谷そとざす → OK
(I)昼なそ暗さ → 昼な
(J)杉の並木 → OK
(K)着物の小径は → [羊腸]{よう・ちょう}の小径は
(L)莟・らか → 莟[滑]{な}らか
(M)一天関に当るや → 一関に当るや
(N)万天ヲ・くな・ → 万夫も開くな
(O)天下に・する → 天下に[旅]{たび}する
(P)剛毅のヲののふ → 剛毅のののふ
(Q)大刀・に足・がけ → 大刀(looks like 月+零)に足がけ
(R)・・の岩根 → [八里]{はち・り???}の岩根
(S)踏みならす → OK
(T)斯くこそありしか → OK
(U)往時のヲののふ → 往時のののふ

  • "looks like ⺅+刃" There's 仞 (or 仭). "looks like 月+零" That's 腰.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 1:52
  • @Earthliŋ: How did you type 仭? The dictionary on my Android phone said it was ジン or はか(る), but I couldn't get it to come up in Windows under either of those.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 2:13
  • My IME (Anthy) has 仭 as ジン...
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 2:26

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