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Maciamo
Oct 21, 2005, 21:56
Japanese is a notoriously ambiguous language. The hundreds of possible homophonic combinations with different kanji having the same pronuciation certainly makes it interesting... but also potentially confusing. The term "gaijin", normally used with the kanji for 'outside' (外) and 'person' (人), could take completely different meanings by changing the kanji. Here are a few interesting kanji to play with :

Gai

外 (outside)
劾 (censure, accuse of crimes/misdeeds)
駭 (be surprised)
礙 (obstruct; hinder; block)
乂 (cut, subdue)
害 (harm)
啀 (wrangle; growl at)
街 (street, town)
愾 (anger)
亥 (sign of the hog)
該 (above-stated; the said)
孩 (baby, infancy)
垓 (hundred quintillion)
鎧 (put on armour, arm oneself)

Jin

人 (person)
刃 (blade, sword)
仁 (humanity, virtue, benevolence)
尽 (befriend; serve)
臣 (retainer, subject)
辰 (sign of the dragon)
神 (god)

Here are some amusing combinations :

劾神 : censure/accuse god (the gods) of crimes/misdeeds; or else 'divine accuser'
外神 : outside god, divine foreigner
外臣 : foreign subject, retainer from outside
孩神 : baby god
街神 : town deity
街人 : town person, citizen
害神 : harmful deity
害人 : harmful person (this has been used by some Japanese instead of 外人)
垓仁 : one hundred quintillion of virtues
乂刃 : cutting sword
鎧刃 : arm oneself with a sword; wearing armour and sword
鎧辰 : armoured dragon
愾辰 : angry dragon, the anger of the dragon
亥辰 : the hog and the dragon (of the Chinese zodiac)

EDIT : I have just googled all the above examples, and all of them got results. No less than 3,120,000results for 害人 ! Only 乂刃, 愾辰, 垓仁, 孩神 and 劾神 got less than 100 results. The others are in hundreds of thousands or millions.

Mike Cash
Oct 21, 2005, 22:25
The next person wandering through wanting help rendering something into kanji for a tattoo, I'm sending him your way.

Maciamo
Oct 21, 2005, 22:36
I was thinking making some of the JREF tshirts with some of the above kanji. It would read :

Gaijin ? What do you mean ?

外神 ? (divine foreigner)
外仁 ? (virtous outsider)
害人 ? (harmful person)
街人 ? (town resident)
鎧辰 ? (armoured dragon)

Hiroyuki Nagashima
Oct 21, 2005, 22:46
Gaijin ? What do you mean ?

"外国人"


....

Maciamo
Oct 21, 2005, 23:34
Gaijin ? What do you mean ?

"外国人"

It was intended as a joke.

celtician
Oct 21, 2005, 23:48
What Japan lacks is a sense of humour!!! We ""Divine Foreigners"" realise this only toooo well.

Maciamo
Oct 22, 2005, 00:36
What Japan lacks is a sense of humour!!! We ""Divine Foreigners"" realise this only toooo well.

I am considering adding a profile field for forum members with 2 options : "divine foreigner" or "Japanese". I wish they could have the same separarion at the airport customs : "divine foreign passports" vs "Japanese passports" :p

Silverpoint
Oct 22, 2005, 00:44
Send me a t-shirt.

Don't be too hard on Nagashima-san - he uses a software translator. Those things are friggin' useless. He probably thinks you don't know which is the correct kanji.

Elizabeth
Oct 22, 2005, 01:45
It was intended as a joke.
'Oh, sorry I meant "Gaikokujin", not Gaijin' I think was Nagashima's attempt at compromise language. :p

Mikawa Ossan
Oct 22, 2005, 20:28
Sorry if this is anal, but wouldn't 外神 be an outside or foreign god, and not a divine foreigner? I mean, the only reason 外人 means foreigners (as in people) is because of the second kanji, am I wrong?

外人 is basically よその人
Is not 外神 basically よその神?

Jack
Oct 22, 2005, 20:32
What Japan lacks is a sense of humour!!! We ""Divine Foreigners"" realise this only toooo well.

not to be harsh but seperating us into a group per se "divine foreigners", is putting people into minorities that makes people stand out, lets unite as one, eh?
"we get by with a little help from our friends"

Maciamo
Oct 22, 2005, 21:07
Sorry if this is anal, but wouldn't 外神 be an outside or foreign god, and not a divine foreigner? I mean, the only reason 外人 means foreigners (as in people) is because of the second kanji, am I wrong?

There hardly any difference between "outside god" and "divine foreigner".

First of all, there is hardly difference between 'outside' and 'foreign', as "foreign" comes from Latin "foras", which means "outside". My Oxford Dictionary also gives for defnition of foreign : "coming or introduced from outside".

Then, a "divine person" or "godly person" could basically be considered as a god. The most common way of representing god(s) in any religion is the human form. So we could say that the word "god" generally includes the meaning of "person". Therefore : a foreign/outside god = a foreign/ouside divine person = a divine foreign person = divine foreigner.

Sorry if that was too mathematical. :sorry:foreign foreign

I wouldn't worry too much about the strictness of the meaning of kanji compound. It is in the nature of kanji not to distinguish between gender (male/female), number (singular/plural), function (subject/object) and word class (noun/adjective/adverb/verb). So, a kanji like 神 can mean 'god' (masc.sing.), 'gods' (masc. pl.), 'goddess' (fem.sing.), 'goddesses' (fem.pl.), while 上 can mean 'up' (adv.), 'above' (prep./adv.), 'rise/raise' (verb), 'top' (noun/adj.). The compound 上神 can thus mean "rising god", "god from above", "top god", or any alternative with gods, goddess, and goddesses. As for the function, it gets interesting with kanji that have several meaning. For instance, 着 means both "wear" (noun/verb) or 'cloth', but also "arrive" or "arrival". So 上着 could theoretically mean 'top wear','raised cloth', 'rising cloth' (whatever that means), 'arrive at the top', 'top arrival(s)', 'rise in arrivals', etc.

Mike Cash
Oct 22, 2005, 21:13
I've long noticed that you have an overly high opinion of yourself, but I never thought it would manifest itself in anything like the tortured logic that allows you to find yourself divine.

Shades of Caligula......

Mikawa Ossan
Oct 22, 2005, 21:20
There hardly any difference between "outside god" and "divine foreigner". This is what I disagree with, but I'll get back to this.


First of all, there is hardly difference between 'outside' and 'foreign', as "foreign" comes from Latin "foras", which means "outside". My Oxford Dictionary also gives for defnition of foreign : "coming or introduced from outside".I couldn't agree more. I meant "or" in the inclusive sense.


Then, a "divine person" or "godly person" could basically be considered as a god. The most common way of representing god(s) in any religion is the human form. So we could say that the word "god" generally includes the meaning of "person". Therefore : a foreign/outside god = a foreign/ouside divine person = a divine foreign person = divine foreigner.You're missing my point. I'm saying that a person is a person, and a god is a god on a very basic level. So that a 外人 refers to a person, whereas 外神 refers to a god.

I'm not talking about representations of gods. Now if you want to say that you're a god tongue in cheek, that's fine with me, but on a very basic Japanese level, I'm just saying that 外神 seems to me to literally refer to gods, not people.

Any metaphors you like to make notwithstanding, I think very few Japanese people would ever make the connection to "divine foreigner".

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, really! :p

Maciamo
Oct 22, 2005, 21:42
I'm not talking about representations of gods. Now if you want to say that you're a god tongue in cheek, that's fine with me, but on a very basic Japanese level, I'm just saying that 外神 seems to me to literally refer to gods, not people.


Depending on your religious beliefs, there is hardly any difference between a god and a human being. Christians and other monotheists may think otherwise, but for polytheists such as Hindus or Ancient Greeks and Romans, gods live with humans, can procreate with humans, and some people (like Hercules/Herakles) can be half-god, half- 'ordinary' human. For the Japanese, this is even simpler, in case you doubted that they would understand my metaphor. In Shintoism, any human can become a god (at least a "kami" => 神 ) after death. Some emperors or famous generals have indeed be elevated as gods with their own shrines. For instance, Hachiman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachiman), the god of war, is none else than the deified Emperor Ojin. The Chinese think the same way. Lao Tzu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lao_Tsu), the philosopher who founded Taoism, became reverred as a god. That is why many Japanese (or Chinese) use the metaphor "he is a god" for exceptional people like baseball stars, sumo wrestlers or F1 drivers.

So, I do believe that many Japanese would understand the connection between 外神 and "divine foreigners", because a person can be called a god in their culture.

Personally I am an atheist, so the word god is completely devoid of meaning. I wouldn't mind calling myself or anybody of you "god(s)", for that reason. :p

Mike, I certainly could find myself "divine". But I could find a table or a grain of rice divine too. It just doesn't have any meaning to the atheist I am. For a Shintoist, it will mean "exceptional person". For an Ancient Greek, it would mean a kind of superpowerful and long-living human residing on the top of the Olympus, but mortal. For a monotheist, it means "above all beings of the creation" and surely also "eternal, omniscient and omnipotent". I therefore deduct from your subjective comment that you are a monotheist (or think like one anyway).

Jack
Oct 22, 2005, 21:47
I've long noticed that you have an overly high opinion of yourself, but I never thought it would manifest itself in anything like the tortured logic that allows you to find yourself divine.

Shades of Caligula......
its kinda arrongance to put yourself onto higher grounder than others, everyone is fair and equal.....god's are mere myth's of the ages.

Maciamo
Oct 22, 2005, 21:50
its kinda arrongance to put yourself onto higher grounder than others, everyone is fair and equal.....god's are mere myth's of the ages.

Thank you for telling Mike that "fairness and equality" involves not believing in god. :-)

Mike Cash
Oct 22, 2005, 21:54
So a belief in God and "fairness and equality" are mutually exclusive?

Keep in mind that earlier in the thread you found a way to view yourself as a God.....

Maciamo
Oct 22, 2005, 22:32
So a belief in God and "fairness and equality" are mutually exclusive?

Keep in mind that earlier in the thread you found a way to view yourself as a God.....

So, I am a god, and so are you. My whole house and indeed the whole universe is god. Everything is god, This is called pantheism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism). Do you have any prejudice against pantheist people ? Note that some Hindus and most Theravada Buddhists cnsider themselves as pantheists. My personal opinion is that pantheism is only one step away from atheism, and really just a matter of definition (certainly closer than a Catholic and a Protestant Christian).

Mike Cash
Oct 22, 2005, 22:54
So, I am a god, and are you.

Speak for yourself.



My whole house and indeed the whole universe is god. Everything is god, This is called pantheism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism). Do you have any prejudice against pantheist people ?

Only to the extent that this view, by your definition, precludes the existence of fairness and equality, which hinges upon being an atheist.



Note that some Hindus and most Theravada Buddhists cnsider themselves as pantheists.

They are free to consider themselves anything they like, as far as I'm concerned. I'll even entertain the possibility that they believe in the existence of fairness and equality.

Elizabeth
Oct 23, 2005, 00:06
I'm not talking about representations of gods. Now if you want to say that you're a god tongue in cheek, that's fine with me, but on a very basic Japanese level, I'm just saying that 外神 seems to me to literally refer to gods, not people.

Any metaphors you like to make notwithstanding, I think very few Japanese people would ever make the connection to "divine foreigner".
It clearly refers to gods, no Japanese is going to associate Shinto deificiation with a foreigner's afterlife, at least in the absense of any other context, and everyone knows that everyone else knows it. I vote we not make that into a humourous t-shirt. :p

Hiroyuki Nagashima
Oct 23, 2005, 01:28
I do not understand a meaning well. :relief:

However, do you want to express "GAIJIN" with an "auspicious" Chinese character? :?

GAI:賀意=祝う心。祝意。
JIN:仁 =己に克ち、他に対するいたわりの る心。儒教におけ 骭ワ常の一。
       愛情を他におよぼすこと。いつくしみ。 おもいやり。

yukio_michael
Oct 24, 2005, 16:53
I'd rather be considered a divine foreigner, than a dirty one... I guess...