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Town crier in Japanese

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thomas

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This question is as much related to vocabulary as it is to history: I am looking for the appropriate term for "town crier" or "bellman". Town criers were officials of the court or the magistrate who proclaimed news and edicts:

The town crier used to make public announcements in the streets. Criers often dress elaborately, by a tradition dating to the 18th century, in a red and gold coat, white breeches, black boots, and a tricorne hat.

I consulted my dictionary and the web and came across the term「東西屋」. It appears that tōzaiya and similar terms (Wikipedia mentions hiromeya「披露目屋」and「広目屋」) seem to have been more closely related to commercial activities and promotions:


Historically, was there any public position similar to the Western "town crier" and if so, what was it called in Japanese?

Thanks for any pointers. :)
 

Majestic

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I first thought of the guys that go around the neighborhood, clacking the wooden sticks together and cautioning against fires, but that is too far from the mark. Digging around on the net, it seems Japan didn't normally have someone who shouted out news like this, but public proclamations were made in writing, called お触れ (ofure), and if there was someone reading these to people, that position would be called お触れ役 (ofure-yaku). This is as close as I think you can get. The wikipedia for the game "Hearthstone" also translates "town crier" as ofure-yaku. Seems to be one of those things that doesn't neatly translate one-for-one, so you either have to take the closest thing, or go through a bit of explanation.
 
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thomas

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Thank you, I appreciate it! I‘ll read up on お触れ.

I assume that Japan‘s literacy rate has historically always been higher than that of Western nations. :LOL:
 

Toritoribe

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触れ役/お触れ役/町の触れ役 are used as the translation of "town crier " in the Western world. お触れ were conveyed via bulletin boards, as Nagashima-san wrote, not verbally.
 

johnnyG

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We've been getting "大雨" announcements pretty regularly from the loudspeaker across the way...
 
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thomas

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We have been getting these for 大雨, 土砂崩れ and 光化学スモッグ. They certainly put the term "crier" onto a new level.

Thanks for all the answers! :)
 
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