What's new

Refering to Non Japanese things as Japanese...

Gaki

Emperor Gakihito
3 Jul 2003
484
18
28
I've noticed recently that "Westerners" confuse things that arent of Japanese origin as Japanese.

An example of this is Kanji.

It is CHINESE not Japanese ~ maybe when it's read in Japanese it's a different sound, but the character and main meaning is still Chinese.

Like i was watching a TV show and the guy had a Tattoo of a Chinese character and said it was Japanese.
Maybe it's a stupid example, but it pisses me off when people refer to something which isnt Japanese as Japanese.
 
well the kanji may not have been started in japan but he may have gotten the tattoo based on the japanese reading and not the chinese there for it would be japanese
 
Although if Hiragana or Katakana symbols were used, then it would be Japanese.

Although I have seen tattoos being advertised with the symbol for kami(god) as spirit, rather than rei(spirit). Although I've heard that Japanese definitions of kami can get confusing...
 
The main meaning may indeed be different. You can't write kanji in a Japanese way and have it make sense to a Chinese person (first Japan uses kana, and Chinese doesn't). The same thing the other way around. Kind of like if I went and read posts in on the French language board on this forum. I might be able to make out a few words, since English borrows so much. Same with Japanese and Chinese, but meanings can be very different. The old one that is passed around a lot is ナスティナス窶? (tegami in Japanese). In Japan this means letter, and in China (so I have been told) it means "toilet paper."

The question is, and one Gaki is pointint towards, is when does something stop being "borrowed" so to speak and become part of one's "own" (even if it comes from a common starting point)?

And yes, like Gaki, I don't like the narrow world view of some people, but you get folks in Japan doing the same thing.
 
Alot of the time i read Kanji in magazines and i can still understand what it means because i can read Chinese, although there are the odd occasions when a word is used differently and i wont understand unless i read it in a Japanese context.

In it's purest form the words still have the same meaning as Chinese, so i couldnt really consider it as Japanese.

The example MandyLion used : " ナスティナス窶? "


ナスティ means hand
ナス窶? means paper

Depending on what context you use that in, it could mean alot of things.

It's difficult to explain ^^;
 
Westerners tend to be fairly ignorant when is comes Asian culture. I've noticed many gaijin's refer to anything Asian as Chinese.
 
ugh, i know exactly what you mean. it almost pisses me off. when they say that it's so ignorant and they sound so clueless. call things ASIAN not just Chinese!!
 
Originally posted by Gaki
Alot of the time i read Kanji in magazines and i can still understand what it means because i can read Chinese, although there are the odd occasions when a word is used differently and i wont understand unless i read it in a Japanese context.

In it's purest form the words still have the same meaning as Chinese, so i couldnt really consider it as Japanese.
I guess it sort of depends on what you mean by "purest form," but once you get down to the general sense of at least one of the core or distilled meanings my impression has always been there's still a great deal of overlap as well. Although many of the character combinations differ between them. And those other odd occasions being kanji like:

ナ津卍 (borrowed meaning employ in Japanese ; quail (? or other birds?) in Chinese

窶佛?ツ (still retains the original meaning of careful observation)

ナス窶督 (also has the sense of servant in Chinese)

From the book A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters by Kenneth G. Henshall. These are just the ones I happen to remember, though. I'm sure there are many more of at least minor meanings which have persisted in their original form.
 
So english isn't really english? Everything's borrowed from different languages. What if a Japanese person told his friend 'kindergarten' was English in front of a German guy? Word.
 
Last edited:
Gaki said:
I've noticed recently that "Westerners" confuse things that arent of Japanese origin as Japanese.

An example of this is Kanji.

It is CHINESE not Japanese ~ maybe when it's read in Japanese it's a different sound, but the character and main meaning is still Chinese.

There are dozens of things like that. Just in food, ramen, gyoza, etc are also Chinese, tempura is originally Portuguese, karee (curry) is originally Indian, Yakiniku is Korean, then omrice, tonkatsu, guratan (gratin) and all the bakery, pasta, pizza and so on are all imports from France or Italy. About half of Japanese food is foreign in origin. Almost everything in politics, legislation, education, economy, industry, etc. are Western imports, an entire system copied and adapted from Meiji to recent times.

Even in the arts, Japanese modern literature from Meiji has been copied on western models, as pre-Meiji literature was pretty much limited to poetry, tales (monogatari), and plays such as noh, kabuki and rakugo. In painting, the style changed radically from Meiji, copied again on Western style. Even manga and anime appear well after Western comics (such as Tintin, Asterix, Superman, etc.) and animations (Disney, Lonely Tunes,...). Even thouh the sensitivity of Japanese arts is naturally Japanese, it is not traditionally Japanese.

Traditional Japan is facing extinction, slowly disappearing since Meiji. Who knows how many Japanese will still wear kimono, know how to practice tea ceremony, or understand kabuki or noh, in 50 years from now, when these are already restricted to a minority (usually old or conservative), and most Japanese youths know less than the average Western tourist about their Japan's history, samurai, geisha or religion (shinto & buddhism).
 
cacawate said:
So english isn't really english? Everything's borrowed from different languages. What if a Japanese person told his friend 'kindergarden' was English in front of a German guy? Word.

At least "kindergarten" is used (mainly in US) English. I know lots of Japanese who think katakana words from French or German are English. When I speak to them and they use such words, I have to correct them and tell them it's French, German, Dutch or whatever. At least, most English speakers can recognise which language the word they use come from. Few Japanese really do (except evident ones from Italian...).
 
beastiebacon said:
Westerners tend to be fairly ignorant when is comes Asian culture. I've noticed many gaijin's refer to anything Asian as Chinese.

Maybe you should say "Americans" instead of "Westerners". 😊 Never heard somebody confusing Japanese for Chinese in Europe. If they don't know, they'd say Asian or Oriental.
 
Ouch! The American shot!*bam*

Maciamo said:
Maybe you should say "Americans" instead of "Westerners".

There 's a small comedy skit in England called "The Missing Chink," or somewhere along those lines, where two Chinese men look at the English world "Seinfeld-style." Anywho, this skit is hilarious because it shows the English and how ignorant they are of Asian culture. They go around asking English people simple Asian related questions and they don't know the slightest. So I guess "westerners" sums it up fine. You can download it from any major p2p utility.

http://www.mu-lan.org/missingchink.html
 
I remember an Aussie tv show doing the same in the US, was an absolute riot. They got this guy and dressed him up and had a limo, started calling him the Prime Minister and all this other stuff.

Another great show was Roy and HG's The Ice Dream during the Salt Lake City winter olympics. They'd do a weather segment where a person would point at a map and read the weather, cept the cities were moved about and new places added like Woolmaroolarong and the climates horribly off (was summer here during the american winter, so fairly hot). :D
 
Westerners tend to be fairly ignorant when is comes Asian culture. I've noticed many gaijin's refer to anything Asian as Chinese.

No, they think Asians are Chinese or Japanese.

Americans do not travel as much as 30 years ago.

To Mexico, Canada and maybe a cruise in the Carribian, but thats it.
 
JackInBox said:
No, they think Asians are Chinese or Japanese.

Most, but not all people think of Asians as either Chines or Japanese. There are many who designated Asians by their ethnicity: Malaysians, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Indians, Monoglians, etc.

Generalizations and stereotypes of people and things by cul-tures (not just Western, but all societies in general) are not out of ignorance, but rather out of the lack of internalizing vital knowledge about the background/ethnicity of who they are generalizing/stereotyping. In a way this is ethnocentrism, and every culture does this.

Off-topic, but I think this should be moved to the Opinions section.
 
Referring to..

Most Americans just see Asian as two piles of people.

Chinese or Japanese.

In America people are considered
-> White
-> Hispanic
-> Puero Rican
-> Black (african-american)
-> Asian

EXAMPLE: Puerto Ricans are considered, most of the time as its own
category. Thats because Puerto Rico is part of United States.
_.
 
*claps hands together once* Isn't it great how countries are getting together and sharing their own language with others. It's just wonderful! :D
 
Back
Top Bottom