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Old 11-13-2007, 10:36 PM   #1
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,353
The Kojiki

I found this link at Aikido Journal.

The Kojiki
translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain



Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:56 PM   #2
Lyle Bogin
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Re: The Kojiki

Fascinating. Thanks!
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:17 AM   #3
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Dojo: Hakusan A.K.I.
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Re: The Kojiki

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Old 11-21-2007, 07:36 AM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: The Kojiki

Well, it is good to have the Chamberlain translation online, but some of the earlier sections are in Latin. These sections deal with some very interesting events, which are quite unlike those described in the early chapters of the Book of Genesis, for example.

Chamberlain's translations, with the 'naughty bits' in Latin, are an interesting example of early foreign encounters with the Japanese and should be compared with Isabella Bird's journal of her trips to the northern parts of Japan.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-21-2007, 09:07 AM   #5
Erick Mead
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Re: The Kojiki

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Well, it is good to have the Chamberlain translation online, ... Chamberlain's translations, with the 'naughty bits' in Latin, are an interesting example of early foreign encounters with the Japanese and should be compared with Isabella Bird's journal of her trips to the northern parts of Japan.
There is a recently published translation of Book 1 of the Kojiki-Den, Motoori Norinaga's 40-odd volume commentary on the Kojiki, By Ann Wehmeyer (a professor at my alma mater).
It provides biographical background that illuminates Norinaga's quite detailed philological (and explicitly chauvinist) approach to recovering Japanese concepts from the Chinese language used to write the stories. The latter part of the translation is Norinaga's own description of his purpose, intent, and method in undertaking the project and this first volume gives a representative sample of his application of the techniques he describes.

As the primary reference source for native readings of Kojiki, it is very important to know the primary lens through which the Kojiki has traditionally been viewed, even by O Sensei. Its text was largely inaccessible (even in the seventeenth century) and in Norinaga's view fundamentally misleading, without the linguistic scholarship that Norinaga applied to it -- Norinaga's chief point was that if read with too much of the Chinese-derived associations inherent in the way it was written, misses a great deal of the quintessential Japanese concepts the work involves and is intended to communicate.

Even given that some of his ideas may be viewed today as outdated or wrong, it is a very good insight in to the problems with this work in the native tongue and the ways in which things like kotodama have been more practically applied as a tool for understanding difficult or hidden meaning.

The closest parallel I can think of to Norinaga's basic thoughts about language in English would be J.R.R. Tolkien. It is fascinating that the parallels in their views of the nature of language and meaning are both found up in the examination and explanation of their respective mythic tales.


Erick Mead
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