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Old 01-21-2004, 08:53 PM   #24
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,221
Hello Don,

I did not state that the romantic interpretation of budo based on a certain interpretation of the reading of the elements of the character was a "washback" effect, only that the "washback" effect, found here also as a result of writngs by Lafcadio Hearn, Ruth Benedict, and Ezra Vogel, as well as Draeger, was about as common.

Both are based on a tendency to over-simplify the evidence. Thus, it is stated that Morihei Ueshiba himself chose the name "aikido", but the truth is vastly more complex. I think there are two aspects of this complexity: the tendency in Japan for decisions to be made by committee and made as a result of a consensus of all the parties involved; and the tendency for Japanese to relate the name to the supposed meaning much more loosely than would be appropriate in the academic discourse within which I have been brought up.

Thus, for a westerner,

[1] The Japanese equivalent of "Hiroshima" means this no matter how it is written. For a Japanese, at least here in this city, there is an extra component, the way the name is written, and this can never come out in a translation;

[2] There is a fairly sharp distinction between "way" and "skill", such that their Japanese equivalents DOU and JUTSU might be seen (by people like Draeger) to be equally sharply distinguished (even if we ignore the point made in [1] about the way the characters are written). This is not the case.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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