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I just read this 自己紹介:

■誕生日:1986年XX月XX日生まれ
■出身:神奈川県
■家族:華の独身​
■趣味:ランニング

What does 華の独身 mean in this context?
No definition from my search engine nor in my dictionary.

独身 means unmarried, but what makes a 華の独身 person different from a normal 独身 person?

  • I can feel a light sense of self-sarcasm from it. It's like saying "proudly single". – broccoli forest Aug 1 '16 at 9:56
  • It was a common and more or less unironic phrase back in the Showa years. Nowadays I think people would only use it as slightly self-deprecating humor, but possibly with a touch of "ha ha only serious." – Matt Aug 1 '16 at 10:43
  • @broccoliforest, Matt: Would you mind creating answers to develop this idea? Thanks a lot! – Nicolas Raoul Aug 1 '16 at 14:08
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I'm gonna offer a different definition from the 日本国語大辞典 that I think gets closer to the usage in this case:

〔四〕花の美しく、咲き栄えるさまにたとえていう。

...

(2)(「花の…」の形で)美しいさま、華やかなさまを表わす。ほめことばとして用いる。

Basically just a slightly old-fashioned/poetic way to praise something as beautiful or glorious, not necessarily at a peak time period (although obviously, pretty much by definition the two concepts are related).

Here is an example of 花の独身 from the 花の80s, allegedly an issue of Kurashi no techo from 1980 (the issue number does match up, but I found this in Google Books so don't cite it in your thesis without pulling the original...)

彼女は、おもいのままに職業を転転とし、海外旅行数回、国内はおもいのまま、気の向くまま、おしゃれに身をやつし、うまいものを食べ歩く花の独身。私は、やさしい夫とかわいい二人の子どもと、マイホームに住む幸せな若妻。

Quick and dirty translation:

"She is a 'glorious single' who changes jobs as she pleases, has traveled overseas multiple times and within Japan as she likes, just as it pleases her, dresses fashionably down, and roams the land eating well. I am a happy young wife living with a kind husband and two adorable children in a home we own."

I think this describes pretty well the kind of glorious, carefree life that 花の独身, if taken absolutely unironically, would imply (note however that the paragraph goes on to detail how the narrator spends all her time cooking and cleaning and dealing with neighborhood gossip, that her kids are exhausting, she has to wear ripped, dirty jeans, etc. -- so whatever is going on here, clearly it isn't just "how happy we both are!". Wouldn't be surprised if the next paragraph was about how the single woman has no savings, gets nagged by her parents all the time for grandkids, etc...)

If you search online you can find people asking "Do folks still say 花の独身?" and other people answering "No, because there are so many women who want to get married but can't nowadays."

So, yeah, I think that this person's bio says "hana no dokushin" rather than just "dokushin" because she wanted to say it in a self-aware and humorous way.

  • Thanks! Just a thing: It seems that you assumed a "she" (I did not specify because I guess it is not worth two separate questions), but is it roughly the same if the person is male, especially your last two paragraphs? Cheers! – Nicolas Raoul Aug 2 '16 at 8:43
  • Yes, I did assume that! I think 花の is most commonly associated with women (花の女子大生, 花のOL), if you're using it ironically I don't see why it couldn't apply to men too. There would probably be an additional helping of irony of course since single men are not known for their beauty or glory. (There are indeed a few hits for 花の独身男性) – Matt Aug 2 '16 at 10:39
1

It's in the dictionary:

㋓最もよい時期。また、盛んな事柄や、その時節。「独身時代が―だった」「今が―の俳優」
  A flourishing period. Or a thriving status or period of time.

I think you can translated that as flourishing single. 華{はな} is idiomatically referring to the "flower". If you think how a flower has a time when it has a peak bloom.

As for different variations of 華の:

  1. 華の10期 is a phrase talking about the TV personalities (芸能人) of the 10th generation of 吉本NSC. This is because a lot of the 10th generation became popular.

  2. 華の17歳 refers to someone who is close to almost being an adult (when you become 18 years old in Japan you are allowed to do more things) but who is still considered to be a child.

  3. 華の大学生時代 meaning a period during your college years when you were flourishing. I think it implies a period in your life you enjoyed the most.

Also, as mentioned in the comment, this person is probably thinking a lot about marriage, which would indicate why they put this down. I get the impression that they are "living it up" as a single.

You can also find this usage in phrases like:

女性の華の時代

This means when a women is at their "peak" in beauty (i.e. "most flourishing period").

Also, in the phrase

言われるうちが華
  • 1
    It may be worth noting that this 華の is usually taken as the sign that this person is concerned about marriage in one way or another. Those who are truly uninterested in marriage wouldn't have to say something like this. – naruto Aug 1 '16 at 8:37
  • @naruto: Are you sure that is always the case? I was thinking someone proud to be 生涯独身 might also use this. – Jesse Good Aug 1 '16 at 9:18
  • No, I didn't say "always". But I feel someone who is proud to be 独身 would probably choose other phrases such as 独身貴族. – naruto Aug 1 '16 at 10:20
  • @naruto: Thanks. I added a comment, although this starts to get into speculation, i.e. we can't be 100% sure. – Jesse Good Aug 1 '16 at 10:26
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    Thank you for detailing the various usages of "華の", but would you mind elaborating about the particular expression "華の独身", like you started doing in the "Also" paragraph? Example paragraphs illustrating each possible connotation would be wonderful. Cheers! – Nicolas Raoul Aug 1 '16 at 14:06
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Literal translation of 華の独身 is "a flourish single" or "glorious single." But when you describe yourself a flourish (glorious) single, it has a bit of sarcastic tone.

"華の(intrchangeably 花の)xx," is often used to describe a group of hopeful youth and their afteryears.

For example a bunch of staff who entered in the goverment office, say Ministory of Finance in a certain year e.g. Year of Heisei 10, and are all on the fast-track are called 花の10年組 ‐ Glorious Year 10 group.

When a lot of top or high officials such as undersecretary and directer-general are produced from a group of officials who entered in the office in the same year, the group producing these high officials is called 花のx年組。


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