Country names in Kanji

When I was walking on the Teramachi-dori in Kyoto, a couple of Westerners were watching something being displayed on the outer wall of a shop. What they were watching were T-shirts with names of (mainly) Western countries printed in Kanji, or Chinese characters.

Can you say the country names printed on the T-shirts? For your convenience, I have reproduced them below.

Turkey: 土耳古
Belgium: 白耳義
Austria: 墺太利
Switzerland: 瑞西
Australia: 濠太刺利
Holland: 阿蘭陀
Brazil: 伯刺西爾
Spain: 西班牙
Italy: 伊太利
Germany: 独逸
America: 亜米利加
England: 英国 (abbreviation of 英吉利)
France: 仏蘭西
Canada: 加奈陀

These country names in Kanji were devised when Japanese scholars translated European literatures in the late Edo period (19th century). These country names in Kanji had been used until 1940s, but they are rarely used now.


Violence in Seoul

The following video shows the activity of Chinese during the torch relay in Seoul. Chinese group attacked a person who had a Tibetan flag.

Today's news report on Fuji News Network (FNN) aired a scene of violence in Seoul that happened to be recorded by a security camera.

They started quarreling in a bar and a Korean was killed in the one-sided violence. The arrested murderer was Chinese. According to the news report, the Chinese explained that the reason he killed the Korean was that the Korean's use of words was impolite.

The video above reminded me of another video that recorded one-sided violence in China. Two victims in the video were killed in the violence. It is so disturbing that I have not watched it till the end. However, I could notice that the kicking style of the two Chinese murderers, the one in the FNN video and the one below, are similar to each other.

Update: ROK Drop has more videos and links that show the activity of Chinese youth during the torch relay in Seoul.

Update 2: According to this report in Korean, the victim and the murderer in the second video are naturalized citizens of South Korea. Both of them were formerly Chinese nationals of Korean descent.

Pre-Olympic game in Seoul

Torch relay for the Olympic Beijing 2008 was held in Seoul yesterday. Jiji press distributed a photo of a pre-Olympic game held there. A Chinese high-jumper and a wrestler is attacking a Korean protester.


Torch relay for the Olympic Beijing 2008

Yesterday, torch relay for Beijing 2008 was carried out in Nagano. Young PRC citizens living in Japan gathered in Nagano. They shouted their country name, "Zhung guo (中国)," waving PRC's flag, and followed Japanese carrying Tibetan flags.

Near the end of the video, a Japanese guy is claiming policemen to arrest one of the Chinese guy who allegedly attempted to rob his Tibetan flag.

Compare the above video with that of the Athens 2004.

It was a good decision that Zenkoji temple in Nagano refused to serve as the starting point of the torch relay.

Japanese Buddhists' Silent Protest held at the Zenkoji temple.


Freddie Mercury sang in Japanese

"Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" by QUEEN. Freddie sings in Japanese at 1:58 and 3:02. Lyrics were as follows.

When I'm gone no need to wonder
If I ever think of you
The same moon shines
The same wind blows for both of us
And time is but a paper moon
Be not gone

Though I'm gone it's just as though
I hold the flower that touches you
A new life grows
The blossom knows there's no one else
Could warm my heart as much as you
Be not gone

Let us cling together as the years go by
Oh my love my love
In the quiet of the night
Let our candle always burn
Let us never lose the lessons we have learned

手をとり合って このまま行こう
(Teo toriatte konomama ikou)
(Ai suru hito yo)

静かな宵に 光をともし
(Shizukana yoi ni hikari wo tomoshi)
(Itoshiki oshie wo idaki)

Hear my song still think of me
The way you've come to think of me
The nights grow long
But dreams live on
Just close your pretty eyes
And you can be with me
Dream on

手をとり合って このまま行こう
(Teo toriatte konomama ikou)
(Ai suru hito yo)

静かな宵に 光をともし
(Shizukana yoi ni hikari wo tomoshi)
(Itoshiki oshie wo idaki)

When I'm gone they'll say we were all fools
And we don't understand
Oh be strong don't turn your heart
We're all you're all we're all for all for always

Let us cling together as the years go by
Oh my love my love
In the quiet of the night
Let our candle always burn
Let us never lose the lessons we have learned

The following is "La Japonaise" sung by Freddie Mercury and Montsy Caballè.

Subarashii asa ga akeru
Yoake ga yobikakeru
Kokoro no izumi ga wakideru
Yume no yo

I feel the power of a stranger inside me
A force of magic surrounds me
This fountain within me is overflowing

Peaceful and inviting
Beautiful and enticing
Yoake kisetsu yume kibo
(夜明け, 季節, 夢, 希望)
Umi to hikari ga yondeiru

Rising sun you bless my morning with a smile
A magic pearl from the seas
Born in a willow breeze
Loyal friend my guardian angel in the sky
You've served me well all these years
Greeting with both hands
Trusting with no fears
Till the end

Toi kuni no anata ni miserarete
Amarinimo utsukushii yume no yo
(あまりにも美しい 夢のよう)
Itsumademo ii
(いつまでも いい)

Ai no hikari kibo to yume
(愛の光, 希望と夢)
When everything is golden and everything is oh
Fuji no yuki, Kyoto no ame, Tokyo no yoru
(富士の雪, 京都の雨, 東京の夜)
And everything is ah

Fire and beauty
My only living treasure on this earth

Kibo hikari yume (oohh yume oooh)
(希望, 光, 夢)

Asa ga hohoemikakeru
Itsumo kimi dake wa kokoro no tomo
Toi kimi no omokage shinonde
Amarinimo utsukushii yume no yo
(あまりにも美しい 夢のよう)

When everything is golden
And everything and everyone is ahh

Yoake, kisetsu, yume, kibo (oohhhhh)
(夜明け, 季節, 夢, 希望)

Yoake, kisetsu, yume (oohhhhh)
(夜明け, 季節, 夢)
Hikari, kisetsu, yume, kibo
(光, 季節, 夢, 希望)
Hikari, kisetsu, yume, kibo
Hikari, kisetsu, yume, kibo

(HT to TITANHEADROOM and Stifler2005652007)


Riverside stroll in spring

I walked along the Takano river and the Kamo river in Kyoto last saturday. The following is the course of the stroll.

The following is Takano river near the Demachi-yanagi station. Flowers of the cherry trees on the bank have almost fallen away, but rape seeds are in bloom on the shoals.

We can see many sagi (white egrets) in this area, but I saw the birds with black and white feathers (photo below) for the first time. It seems they are tufted ducks that are called kinkuro-hajiro in Japanese.

Riverside way near the Kyoto Prefectural Botanical Garden is called Nakaragi-no-Michi, or the Path of Nakaragi. There are many weeping cherry trees on the bank. The path was like a flower tunnel.


"Height" of seated statues in the medieval period

I wrote about the sculpture of Dainichi that was sold at Christie's for $14 million here and here. Concerning the sculpture, I recently noticed that an interesting discussion was going on at the bulletin board of the Japanese Medieval History Archives (in Japanese). The discussion was on an article in the International Herald Tribune. The IHT article was a detailed one that mentioned another sculpture of Dainichi, Kotokuji Dainichi, preserved in Ashikaga and that discussed which of the statues, the Kotokuji Dainichi and the one sold at the Christies, was the true sculpture that Ashikaga Yoshikane commissioned. The following is from the IHT article.

One well-known statue by Unkei, in particular, which is preserved in the town of Ashikaga in Tochigi Prefecture and is also a seated figure of Dainichi presents a distinct kinship to the newly "discovered" sculpture. Known as the Kotokuji Dainichi, Unkei's statue in Ashikaga has traditionally been assumed by Japanese scholars to be the statue which, according to a document of the later Muromachi period, was commissioned in 1193 by a Buddhist devotee from the town of Ashikaga, a certain Ashikaga Yoshikane.

Yamamoto Tsutomu, who had discussed Unkei's Kotokuji Dainichi in an essay on the Dainichi Nyorai, was gripped. When X-rayed, the newly discovered sculpture was shown to contain three dedicatory objects inside the hollow torso. These were a wood placard topped by a finial in the shape of a five-element pagoda, in turn containing a small rock crystal pagoda, and a rock crystal lotus bud mounted on a bronze lotus chalice pedestal. The five-element pagoda, Gorin-to in Japanese, literally "five-wheel pagoda," appeared in the late 12th century which contributed to circumscribe the period of the discovered sculpture. Most significantly, X-rays revealed that Unkei's Kotokuji Dainichi contained similar dedicatory objects.
The author seems to be a pundit of art. However, his argument get to be miserable when he become arrogant, as follows.
What truly excited Yamamoto was that the newly discovered sculpture fitted rather better the Muromachi period description of Unkei's Kotokuji Dainichi because its dimensions made it more plausible. It was 66 centimeters, or roughly two feet, high, while the piece in Ashikaga is only 32 centimeters high. True, the dimensions stated in the Muromachi period document, "three shaku," are understood by Japanese art historians to be equivalent to "three feet."

Whether wrong by two-thirds or just one-third, such loose evidence might perhaps be thrown out in a court of law. But to art historians who like to take the broad-minded approach, this is good enough. So, to quote Christie's very lengthy but very carefully worded entry, "Yamamoto concluded that the Muromachi document must point not to the Kotokuji statue but to this previously unknown masterwork."
According to a commenter at the bulletin board of the Japanese Medieval History Archives, it is commonsense among Japanese art historians that the size of Buddhism sculptures was described in documents in the medieval period as the height of the sculpture when it rose to its feet. As for seated figures, there was a commonly used method in the medieval period to convert the height of a seated figure into the true "height" of the statue. First, the distance from the bottom to the hairline on the neck was measured, then the distance was doubled. The doubled distance was regarded as the "height" of the statue. The distance from the bottom to the hairline was called hassaiko (髪際高). The hassaiko of the sculpture sold at Christie's was 45.5cm. Thus, its "height" (45.5 cm x 2 = 91 cm) is almost equal to "three shaku (= 90.9 cm)" described in the Muromachi period document. It is apparent that the sculpture was made as a seated figure of three-syaku Dainichi.

The author of the IHT article may have relatively rich knowledge about Japanese art, but not to the extent that he can make little of Japanese art historians.

This Webpage shows an article (in Japanese) of the Japanese art historian mentioned in the IHT article, Tsutomu Yamamoto, describing the details of the sculpture. Of course, the article mentioned the hassaiko of the sculpture that was used to calculate the "height" of seated statues in the Muromachi period.