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Old 02-11-2008, 11:06 AM   #1
Mark Uttech
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

My own breakthrough was when I saw the definition of Budo as "to stop the thrusting spear" and then saw it rendered as "to stop thrusting with the spear".

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 02-11-2008, 12:17 PM   #2
ChrisMoses
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Japanese words are not defined by their radicals. Do you equate rice with Ki or think that liking is defined by woman child? The whole stopping spear thing is kinda cute, but I don't think it's a good way to go about 'defining' the word.

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Old 02-11-2008, 12:33 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

There are some great discussions on the etymology on www.aikidojournal.com (I believe Peter Goldsbury and Josh are the significant contributers).

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-12-2008, 08:58 AM   #4
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Japanese words are not defined by their radicals. Do you equate rice with Ki or think that liking is defined by woman child? The whole stopping spear thing is kinda cute, but I don't think it's a good way to go about 'defining' the word.
Maybe not, but the contemplation of the radicals can open and loosen our minds as to what comprise our concepts of, say 'ki' or 'liking'. it can enrich our understanding if we don't become attached and stay open to new insight.otherwise words remain objects and we still haven't penetrated their essence.

thoughts?

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Old 02-12-2008, 10:42 AM   #5
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Japanese words are not defined by their radicals. Do you equate rice with Ki or think that liking is defined by woman child? The whole stopping spear thing is kinda cute, but I don't think it's a good way to go about 'defining' the word.
Maybe not, but the contemplation of the radicals can open and loosen our minds as to what comprise our concepts of, say 'ki' or 'liking'. it can enrich our understanding if we don't become attached and stay open to new insight.otherwise words remain objects and we still haven't penetrated their essence.

thoughts?
Chris is not exactly right in that, although the assumption that decomposed character = meaning is equally incomplete. The connotative meaning is very much derived both from the image reading as well as the sound reading. Agreement or disagreement in the sound connotation and the image connotation are used to great poetic effect,in both languages. In Japanese this is even more so, because of the Kun/On variant readings. Norinaga wrote 42 volumes of work on the Kojiki alone from this point of view.

A good introduction and resource to the complex subject of Hanzi/Kanji etymology, which also has a searchable database using stroke, radical and ON/KUN reading indices :

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/reference.html

For a searchable , well-organized etymological resource on hanzi, including numerous examples of recorded variants attested in Seal, Bronze and Oracle versions:

http://www.internationalscientific.org/

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:45 AM   #6
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Maybe not, but the contemplation of the radicals can open and loosen our minds as to what comprise our concepts of, say 'ki' or 'liking'. it can enrich our understanding if we don't become attached and stay open to new insight.otherwise words remain objects and we still haven't penetrated their essence.

thoughts?
I think they're just too far removed from their creation, and that looking for deep insight is way too far of a stretch. I don't think I've ever had a pig in my house for example, but my home is no less a home for that fact. The essence of home, does not include pigs (IMHO) so contemplating this isn't likely to loosen my brain or offer some deeper understanding about houseness.

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:13 AM   #7
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

The larger issue is actually how many people are mis-led by their flights of fancy on things they don't understand.

I pretty much know nothing about hanji, kanji or romaji/romanji what ever the proper spelling is...so I admit that upfront, and listen to people who can show they have a good understanding of the language and culture. I resist the attempt to make things up because they sound nice.

More of us should pay attention to that, in my opinion. Keeps things honest. And you can still be creative...the best creativity starts in truth.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I think they're just too far removed from their creation, and that looking for deep insight is way too far of a stretch. I don't think I've ever had a pig in my house for example, but my home is no less a home for that fact. The essence of home, does not include pigs (IMHO) so contemplating this isn't likely to loosen my brain or offer some deeper understanding about houseness.
I don't think you can apply literal meaning to abstract applications...if that makes sense. It's not so much about whether or not you've ever had a pig in your home as much as what that pig might represent which adds to the concept of what a home is. Off the top of my head I would think it has something to do with cultivating sustenance.
Symbolism is pretty wide open territory when it comes to interpreting it, but that doesn't mean it can't be done meaningfully/usefully.

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:35 AM   #9
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
The larger issue is actually how many people are mis-led by their flights of fancy on things they don't understand...
More of us should pay attention to that, in my opinion. Keeps things honest. And you can still be creative...the best creativity starts in truth.

Best,
Ron
Well said. I think the problem arises when folks start to think of their interpretation as THE correct one. In my opinion, interpretation of abstractions usually says more about the interpreter than the abstraction itself (ie-how a person interprets any given symbol reflects their cultural and personal points of reference).

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:40 AM   #10
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Symbolism is pretty wide open territory when it comes to interpreting it, but that doesn't mean it can't be done meaningfully/usefully.
True, but my initial point was that you cannot *define* a Japanese word by breaking out the radicals or source kanji, that's way too simplistic. I think it's interesting, but that's about it.

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Old 02-12-2008, 01:14 PM   #11
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I don't think I've ever had a pig in my house for example, but my home is no less a home for that fact. The essence of home, does not include pigs (IMHO) so contemplating this isn't likely to loosen my brain or offer some deeper understanding about houseness.
The sea is not "wine-dark" either but the image serves admirably all the same.

Chris, your, or my, or Ron's or anyone now living's idea of the "essence of home" is not what this form of study is about. It is about the "essence of home" to the culture that used that image and sound, how it changed and how to relate it to an essence of meaning that does make sense to us even as our own changes, and to find threads of human commonality in the images chosen.

A pig under a roof means a few things in that regard around the axis of food with protection and protection with food (which are the essence of "home"(IMHO). One can ring changes on those associations that are useful:

Food - Protection
1) Food I don't have to go catch
2) Food on the hoof (i.e. not perishable)
3) Food contained (I don't have to personally guard from harm)
4) Protection that even the pig I plan to eat finds comforting

We might now choose another image but the essence of those points is perfectly understandable.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-12-2008, 01:53 PM   #12
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
We might now choose another image but the essence of those points is perfectly understandable.
And yet, my point is that the *definition* of "house" is not "sheltered pig" anymore than the *definition* of "budo" is "stopped spear".

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Old 02-12-2008, 01:54 PM   #13
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Bingo! The problem is that people often take Erick's statement to the exact extent that Chris has stated.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-12-2008, 03:19 PM   #14
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
And yet, my point is that the *definition* of "house" is not "sheltered pig" anymore than the *definition* of "budo" is "stopped spear".
And yet I also suspect that, maybe -- just maybe -- "budo" also has a tad more depth of meaning than merely "war-road" that is worth teasing out of both its history and usage.

I could be wrong though.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:52 PM   #15
ChrisMoses
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
And yet I also suspect that, maybe -- just maybe -- "budo" also has a tad more depth of meaning than merely "war-road" that is worth teasing out of both its history and usage.

I could be wrong though.
Um, yeah. Kinda my point, that literal readings of kanji don't always offer the complexity of their meanings. Congratulations Erick! You made my list!

Chris Moses
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Um, yeah. Kinda my point, that literal readings of kanji don't always offer the complexity of their meanings. Congratulations Erick! You made my list!
That is a literal reading of budo, whilst at another linguistic level altogether -- Jia 家 (for those who don't know the kanji) is simply and literally "house, home or family." Decomposing the character is NOT reading it literally -- it is a connotative effort -- not denotative description.

Like looking to the uses of "budo" to import more meaning into that term, it is only the effort to decompose or unpack the history and elements of word's meaning that gets into the connotations that give it depth -- and the makings of connections that more easily translate the essence meant from one language to another.

Sticking with the same character, for examples sake -- but moving away from the image to the sound -- the connotations of Jia 家are also informed by words with the same sound in Chinese such as:

加 to add, or increase
嘉 excellent, joyful
佳 good, beautiful, delightful
夾 held or shoved between
傢 stubborn, obstinate

These words evoke both positive and negative views of family and households in Chinese culture, and reflect a historical reality of views (and tensions) regarding the place of family and home in Chinese life.

Similar things are the case in Japanese, almost directly so in onyomi. Even in kunyomi, it is the basis for a school of literary criticism -- but Japanese is my weaker area.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:10 PM   #17
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Hey, would it possible to say more about a little less?

-Doug Walker
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:25 PM   #18
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
Hey, would it possible to say more about a little less?
no,er rather, yes. then again, perhaps not. all things being equal it is what it is, which i may or may not have said before, if i don't remember correctly, which i'm certain i do, all things considered.

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Old 02-12-2008, 08:28 PM   #19
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Re: Spiritial Aikido: the purpose

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I don't think you can apply literal meaning to abstract applications...if that makes sense. It's not so much about whether or not you've ever had a pig in your home as much as what that pig might represent which adds to the concept of what a home is. Off the top of my head I would think it has something to do with cultivating sustenance.
Symbolism is pretty wide open territory when it comes to interpreting it, but that doesn't mean it can't be done meaningfully/usefully.
kinda what i was trying to point to. thanks.

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Old 02-12-2008, 09:20 PM   #20
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Kanji deconstruction is a valuable tool in not only remembering how to write or learn kanji but is also serves as a way to look diachronically into the evolution of the language and, perhaps more ambitiously, into Japanese mind.
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:22 AM   #21
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Re: Kanji Etymology

To me there is nothing more appropriate than the idea that 武 is for the stopping of spears. And Mark's idea that it refers to "stop thrusting the spear" is also extremely attractive. It is neither the definition of 武, nor the etymology. But it's a nice idea.

However, and with all due respect to Joe, all that I have learned about kanji and the way Japanese people learn and use them indicate to me that deconstruction is at best moderately helpful in learning to read and write Japanese, and a red herring when it comes to understanding the Japanese mind.

Josh Reyer

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Old 02-13-2008, 09:35 AM   #22
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
... and a red herring when it comes to understanding the Japanese mind.
Is there any herring which will help one to understand the Japanese mind?

With extra wasabi, perhaps?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:23 AM   #23
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Quote:
Kanji deconstruction is a valuable tool in not only remembering how to write or learn kanji but is also serves as a way to look diachronically into the evolution of the language and, perhaps more ambitiously, into Japanese mind.
Why would deconstruction of chinese characters help understanding the japanese mind?

While identifying radicals as components of kanjis certainly is an invaluable help when learning kanji, then I don't see how deconstruction of characters orginally constructed in China will help in understanding the Japanese mind.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:07 AM   #24
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Quote:
Jan Max Bunzel wrote: View Post
Why would deconstruction of chinese characters help understanding the japanese mind?

While identifying radicals as components of kanjis certainly is an invaluable help when learning kanji, then I don't see how deconstruction of characters orginally constructed in China will help in understanding the Japanese mind.
The root Shinto text Kojiki was written by people using a Chinese idiom, a fact that it took Norinaga half a lifetime and forty-two volumes to try to more thoroughly "nativize" from that text -- and that is their own mythology. Despite Norinaga's avowed desire to eradicate just those sorts of influences, Japanese kanji are still read in both onyomi (Chinese sound) as well as kunyomi (Japanese sound). It cannot be denied that Japanese culture has seen itself reflected in the mirror of Chinese thought -- even when it most strenuously tried not to perceive itself in that way.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:11 AM   #25
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Kanji Etymology

Quote:
Jan Max Bunzel wrote: View Post
Why would deconstruction of chinese characters help understanding the japanese mind?

While identifying radicals as components of kanjis certainly is an invaluable help when learning kanji, then I don't see how deconstruction of characters orginally constructed in China will help in understanding the Japanese mind.
Well, Jan, think about it. Have you any thoughts on how the development of the alphabet from Phoenician onwards to Danish helps us non-Danes to understand the 'Danish mind'?

When considering your answer, pay special reference to the use of homonyms in Danish poetry and look especially for any evidence of a code in the poetry that relates to supposedly secret teachings from some parent culture. Josh Reyer studies Beowulf in the original, so he might well have some comments here.

Actually, I think this thread should be called Kanji Ideology.

Best wishes to all,

PAG

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