miércoles, 17 de octubre de 2012

Glossary of Japanese and Okinawan Terms

Ignacio López-Calvo
University of California, Merced


(Some of the definitions, particularly those for Okinawan words, were taken from Doris Moromisato and Juan Shimabukuro Inami's book Okinawa: un siglo en el Perú. Part of the definitions for Japanese aesthetic terms were taken from Hisamatsu Sen’ichi’s The Vocabulary of Japanese Literary Aesthetics. Parts of other definitions were taken from Encarta Encyclopedia or Wikipedia).

Aikoku Doshi-kai: (Society of the Japanese Patriots of Peru). A Peruvian branch of the Brazilian Shindo Renmei (see Shindo Renmei below), albeit less fanatical, they used false photographs and documents to convince the other Peruvian Nikkei that Japan had not surrendered. According to Masterson, this group (of Okinawans, for the most part) operated in mainly Lima and Callao, but also in Huaral and Hunachaco and, they “were convincing naïve diehard patriots to advance them large sums of money in hopes of returning to their victorious homeland” (177).

Ainoko: derogative term sometimes used in Japan to describe a “half-japanese” or mixed-race person.

Banzai: Traditional Japanese exclamation meaning “Ten thousand years.” The expression is of Chinese origin and it was reintroduced in Japan during the Meiji era. In the West, it is associated today with Imperial Japan. A “banzai attack” menas a desperate military charge.

Bento: Single-portion takeout or home-packed meal.

Bonsō: Buddhist monk.

Bunraku theater: Traditional form of Japanese puppet theater founded in Osaka in 1684.

,Butsudan: Buddhist altar.

Bushidō: Traditional samurai code of conduct and way of life that emphasizes frugality,

loyalty, martial arts mastery, self-discipline, bravery, and honor until death.

Daimyo: Powerful feudal lord in Japan with large, hereditary land holings. In 1878, the name was changed to “Kwazoki.”

Dekasegi: Temporary migrant workers. Japanese citizens who temporarily migrate abroad for economic reasons. In Latin America, it refers to the ethnic Japanese who, taking advantage of their Japanese citizenship, migrated to Japan in search for economic stability. The largest Latin American dekasegi community is from Brazil, followed by the ones from Peru and Argentina. The term literally means “working away from home.” Most Peruvian dekasegi are Sansei.

Edo Period: See Tokugawa shogunate.

Emakimono: Horizontal picture handscroll, illustrated narrative form that combines text and pictures.

Enryo: Diffidence, restraint, reserve.

Gaijin: Foreigner.

Geisha: Traditional, female Japanese entertainers in social gatherings of men, trained from childhood in conversation and Japanese arts such as classical music, singing, and dance.

Giri: Duty, sense of duty, honor, decency, courtesy.

Go: Ancient Japanese board game for two players with very simple rules but very rich in strategy. It is ruled with nineteen vertical and nineteen horizontal lines.

Gohan: Cooked rice or meal in general.

Gosei: Fifth-generation Nikkei.

Haasamionaa!: Okinawan exclamation similar to English “Good heavens!”

Hachimaki: Headband made of cloth that is used in Japan as a symbol of perseverance and effort by the person who wears it.

Haijin: Writer of haiku.

Haiku: Traditional form of Japanese poetry. Brief composition of three lines of five, seven, and five moras (a phonetic unit that determines syllable weight) respectively, typically containing seasonal references and dealing with the natural world. Its unrhymed lines usually try to seize the moment, the “here and now.” Matsuo Bashō, made it one of the most important literary forms during the Edo Period.

Hara-kiri: Ritual suicide by disembowelment practiced by the samurai also known as “Seppuku.”

Hanami: Flower viewing.

Heian period: Period of Japanese history from 794 to 1185.

Ikebana: Also known as kado, it is the Japanese art of flower arrangement with special regard shown to balance, harmony, and form.

Inakanchuu: Derogative term used in Japan against Okinawans, meaning mountain people.

Issei: First-generation Japanese emigrant.

Kabuki theater: Type of classical Japanese drama in which actors with elaborate costumes and make-up perform with stylized movements, dances, and songs.

Kachigumi: People of Japanese descent who believed that Japan was victorious in World War II.

Katana: Backsword or samurai sword. A type of Japanese sword called uchigatana.,

Kendo: Japanese martial art of fencing with bamboo sticks based on traditional samurai fighting.

Kenshō: Zen Buddhist term for the experience of enlightenment, which literally means seeing one’s nature or true self. Brief awakening, clear glimpse at the true nature of existence.

Kibei: Japanese Americans educated in Japan.

Kimigayo: the Japanese national anthem.

Kimono: Long, wide-sleeved traditional Japanese robelike dress and often
elaborately decorated.

Kirai Nisei: Nisei educated in Japan.

Kirishitan: (From Portuguese cristão [Christian]). It refers to the Roman Catholic Japanese community during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Ko on: Unlimited devotion to the emperor.

Kōan: In Zen Buddhism, it is a paradoxical riddle that helps meditation and intuitive knowledge. It can be a question, story, dialogue, or statement, whose meaning cannot be understood through rational thinking but may be accessed throught intuition.

Kojiki: The earliest historical record of Japan, which was completed in 712.

Koseki: Japanese family registry or census. Only Japanese citizens could register births, marriages, divorces, deaths, etc. of family members in the Koseki. Introduced in the sixth century, it is the oldest registry in the world.

Kwazoki: See “Daimyo.”

Kyōgen theater: Traditional, comical form of theater that was perfomed in the intermissions between noh acts. Its characters come from prosaic, daily life, according to Sologuren (“Aspectos” 79).

Meiji Period: (Also Meiji Era). Japanese era extending from 1868 to 1912.

Meiji Restoration: Restoration of imperial rule in Japan in 1868, which led to important political, economic, and social changes in the country.

Mikado: Former term for the Emperor of Japan.

Misoshiru: Miso (bean paste) soup.

Mitsuya: Full ecstasy or three stars

Mono no aware: A sensitivity of ephemera, sensitivity of things. Deep  impressions produced by small things. The capacity to be deeply moved by the beauty of nature or anything else. As an aesthetic concept, it stands for elegance or pathos. The word “aware” (sensitivity) was originally an interjection meaning “ah!” or “oh!” and it was later used to express controlled feeling.

Monogatari: Traditional Japanese literary form similar to western epic prose, which incorporates fictionalized stories even when narrating an historical event.

Naichi: (Also Naichi-jin, Naichaa, Tafukenjin, Yamatunchuu). “Mainland” or non-Okinawan Japanese person.

Nikkei: Japanese diaspora and their descendants, including all generations. Although as Daniel M. Masterson points out, “The Japanese government legally recognizes that people are of ‘Japanese descent’ if their lineage can be traced back three generations” (xi), in this book I use the term to refer to persons who define themselves as Nikkei or who have one or more ancestors from Japan. This term has been increasingly used in Peru since the late 1980s.

Nikkei perūjin: Peruvian Nikkei.

Nihon: Japan.

Nihongo: Japanese language.

Nihonjin: Japanese person.

Ninja: Cover agent or mercenary in feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. Their functions included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination, and sometimes combat.

Nisei: Second-generation Nikkei.

Noh theater: Form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Many characters are masked and elaborately dressed. Men play both male and female roles, and performed in a highly stylized manner. It is formal, symbolic, and solemn.

Nori: Okinawan medium, spiritual intermediary.

Obachan: (Also obaasan, obaasan) Grandmother.

Obasan: (Or the more informal oba-cha or obaa). Aunt. The Okinawan community uses it to refer to elderly ladies.

Oji-san: (Or the more informal oji-chan). Uncle, sir. The Okinawan community uses it to refer to elderly men.

Okaerinasai: Welcome home. Used among family members, as opposed to the other term for “welcome,” “Okaerinasai,” which is less affectionate.

Okeiko: The tradition, the teachings of the past.

On: Favor, obligation.

Origami: Traditional Japanese folk art of folding paper into shapes, which began in the 17th century CE and was popularized in the mid-1900s. The use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami.

Oya on: Filial piety, the debt one owes to his or her parents.

Pagoda: Tiered tower with multiple eaves common in parts of Asia that is used as Taoist or Buddhist houses of worship.

Perūjin­: Peruvian.

Ponja: Used in South America to refer to Japanese people. Inversion of the syllables of the Spanish word for Japan.

Ryūkyū: Former kingdom of what is now Okinawa.

Ryukyuans: Okinawans.

Sabi: A word related to “rust.” The beauty of natural patina and aging. The beauty that only comes with age, such as the patina on a very old bronze statue. According to Hisamatsu Sen’ichi, Bashō’s sabi means “tranquillity in a context of loneliness” (107).

Sadō: Traditional tea ceremony.

Sake: Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermeted rice.

Sakura: Cherry blossom, cherry tree.

Samurai: Warrior gentry. In 1878, the term was changed to shizoku.

Sansei: Third-generation Nikkei.

Sanshin: See “Shamisen.”

Sashimi: A Japanese dish consisting of raw fish with soy sauce. Peruvian Nikkei usually add lemon and yellow ají (chili sauce).

Satori: Similar to kenshō, but considered a deeper and lasting spiritual experience. Sudden enlightenment in Zen Buddhism.

Sayonara: Good-bye.

Seppuku: See “Hara-kiri.”

Shamisen: (Known as sanshin in Okinawan) Japanese string musical instrument similar to a banjo.

Shashin Kekkon: Picture marriage.

Shiatsu: Traditional hands-on massage therapy from Japan.

Shiimii-sai: Okinawan festival of the dead, celebrated during the third new moon of the year.

Shindo Renmei: (League of the Subjects’ Path). Nationalist, terrorist organization, created during the early 1940s and composed by Japanese immigrants in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Refusing to believe that Japan had surrendered in World War II, some of its most fanatic members, the Tokkotai, used violence (killing at least twenty-three people and wounding 147 more) against members of the Japanese Brazilians—mostly Issei—whom they considered Makegumi (traidors) because they acknowledged the surrender.

Shizoku: See “Samurai.”

Shunga: A Japanese term for erotic art. Most shunga are a type of Ukiyo-e, usually woodblock prints.

Sumi-e ó Suiboku painting: East Asian type of brush or wash monochromatic painting. Created in China during the Tang dynasty, it was introduced to Japan in the fourteenth centery by Zen Buddhist monks.

Sumo: Japanese form of competitive wrestling. A wrestler loses if he is forced out the circular ring or if any part of his body, except the soles of his feet, touches the ground.

Sushi: Japanese dish consisting of cold, cooked vinegared rice, which is commonly topped or wrapped in seaweed with raw or cooked seafood, egg, or vegetables and put into rolls.

Taiko: The word means “drum” in Japanese but outside Japan, it is used to refer to the traditional Japanese music and dance using large Japanese drums.

Taikō: Japanese title. A retired kampaku. A kampaku was a regent or a chief advisor to the emperor.

Tanka: A genre of Japanese Waka poetry. A much older form of Japanese poetry than the haiku, the tanka is a type of short poem consisting of five units (lines) usually with the following pattern of onji: 5-7-5-7-7.

Tanomoshi: Rotating credit association. Group saving system by which a group of people trying to save money commit to save a fixed amount during a number of months equivalent to the number of people integrating the group. Each month, through a lottery or through offers of interest rate, a member of the group can withdraw the money collected during that specific month. Thanks to the tanomoshi many Nikkei, who otherwise had no access to bank credits, were able to finance their businesses in Peru. This type of group saving was brought to Peru by the Okinawan Sentei Yaki.

Tariki: Path toward enlightenment and nirvana.

Tatami: Mat traditionally made of rice straw and in uniform sizes that is used to cover the floors of Japanese houses.

Tempura: Japanese dish of battered and deep fried vegetables and/or seafood

Tokugawa shogunate: (Also Edo Period). The shoguns of the Tokugawa family ruled Japan from Edo Castle, in Edo (now Tokyo) from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Uchinaguchi: Okinawan language.

Uchinanchu: Okinawan person.

Ukiyo-e: Main artistic genre of woodblock printing in Japan. Japanese woodblock printing and paintings features landscapes, historic events, theater, and pleasure quarters.

Wabi: Transient and stark beauty. The kind of perfect beauty paradoxically caused by imperfection, such as an asymmetry in a ceramic bowl. The beauty of deliberate simplicity in daily life that we can find in the harmony and tranquility of the tea ceremony.

Wabi-sabi: Wisdom in natural simplicity. It disregards perfection and prefers flawed, imperfect, impermanent, incomplete beauty. Beauty of modest and humble things. Wabi-sabi, which acknowledges that nothing lasts, is finished, or is perfect, is part of the Japanese worldview centered on accepting transcience: if something evokes serene melancholy and spiritual longing, it could be said to be wabi-sabi.

Yakuza: (Also “gokudo”). Organized crime syndicates in Japan.

Yamato people: The dominant ethnic group of Japan.

Yamato-e painting: Considered the classical Japanese style, it was inspired by Tang Dynasty paintings and developed in the late Heian period in Japan.

Yobiyose: Called immigrant system or the person who is called.

Yonsei: Fourth-generation Nikkei.

Yūgen: Profound grace and subtlety. Symbolic beauty. The subtle profundity of things that can only be vaguely suggested by poems. It suggests that which lies beyond what can be said; however, is not an allusion to another world. The beauty of the overtones emanating from a poem’s total effect and style.

Yuta: Okinawan spiritual advisor.

Yushime: Okinawan soup.

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1 comentario:

Papá Pop dijo...

¡Gran trabajo! Enhorabuena Ignacio.