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I'm reading Sakaguchi Ango's In the forest, under cherries in full bloom, and I have a question about a meaning of a word in a sentence. The story, if you don't know it, is about a bandit who's afraid of cherry blossoms. He goes to the forest and is terrified, feeling a cold wind and... there's also this thing:

花の下は涯がないからだよ. - he describes his experience later. I have a hard time figuring out what does that mean. I know 涯 as "horizon", so does that mean "there's no horizon under the flowers"? I have problems visualising what it could mean... That the horizon is not visible? Or is it some supernatural thing?

  • kotobank.jp/word/%E6%B6%AF-456693 there's also the meaning of limit (限り{かぎり}), maybe he's saying "there's infinity below the flowers" or something like that? – ishikun Jun 22 '16 at 20:58
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Naruto's answer is backed up by WWWJDIC's entry at http://gengo.com/wwwjdic/cgi-data/wwwjdic?1MMC涯.

The hate reading is the nominalized stem of verb 果{は}てる. Shogakukan's 国語大辞典 lists the following senses for this that look potentially relevant here:

2 なくなる。失(う)せる。  
   To be(come) lost.  To fade away.  
3 死ぬ。  
   To die.

There is also a note given in the entry:

補注 「おわる」が継続中の動作・作用の終止を原義とするのに対して、「はてる」は限定された物・期間などが、その終局に到達することを原義とする。
Note:   While owaru has an underlying meaning of the termination of an ongoing action, hateru has an underlying meaning of a limited thing or time period coming to a close.

From this, and given the context you describe for the quote, it sounds like the bandit is haunted by the ghosts of the people he's wronged, and is afraid of being under the cherry blossoms because that's where the ghosts don't quite go away -- hence the cold wind and his terror.

More specifically to the word 涯{はて} in this sentence, I can't think of a good single-word translation that quite conveys all the meaning needed for this to make sense the same way in English, but end might be one good fit. For a multi-word translation, 涯{はて}がない ⇒ there's no end to things, nothing is finished → old scores aren't settled: i.e. a more supernatural sense than just not being able to see the horizon.

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This 涯 is read as はて, and is a rare alternative kanji of 果【は】て (meaning "End" as in "World's End")

Source: 青空文庫 桜の森の満開の下 坂口安吾

According to this question, 広辞苑 seems to list this as the possible reading of 涯.

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According to this link and this dictionary entry, it seems there the meaning of "limit" or "end" so maybe he is afraid of cherry blossoms because there's no end/limit beneath them.

  • Thank you! But it's a limit or end of what? Not the flowers, I assume? – Owca Jun 22 '16 at 21:26
  • It could be something like, "there's no end" i.e. endlessness and the fear of that? Like the fear of holes b/c there is no end that you can see kind of thing – ishikun Jun 22 '16 at 21:57

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