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  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 7 months ago

    This is obvious though...

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 7 months ago

    So I'm also a lazy fanboy because though I started to once or twice, I still haven't gotten around to learning more than a few words of Japanese (as in mostly the stuff used in English).  You'll notice though that the subject line I chose doesn't use any; it is animation versus cartoon animation.  I am uncertain of the historical usage of the term, but the modern definitions usually mention that cartoons are not intended to be realistic renderings of a character.  A cartoon was to have a comical, satirical or other similar bent to it, but at the same time it is acceptable to use it as a synonym for comic strips or cartoon animation, both of which can contain realistic illustrations, or ones stylized but not in a humerous manner.Esepcially as I now have several nephews (all under the age of 10), I am learning how valuable it is to once again focus on the difference between "cartoon" and "animation" in general.  "A drawing intended as satire, caricature, or humor <a political cartoon>" or " a ludicrously simplistic, unrealistic, or one-dimensional portrayal or version <the film's villain is an entertaining cartoon>" and then using animation (though technically incorrectly) to include works that have realistic animated imagery, or (again) stylyzed but not with the intent of telling a humorous story.  I mean I already am confused because my nephews equate "movie" to "DVD".  This is bad because they will keep asking to watch "That one Transformers movie." by which they actually mean one of the various Transformers animated series, not Transformers: The Movie (1986) or any of the Michael Bay films.So I bring all this up to explain why some grow annoyed with animé in general just being referred to as "cartoons"; the actual definitions for the word cartoon are oddly split on the matter, suggesting its real world usage is as well.  For many, it only refers to "funny" things, and even a live action film could be a "cartoon" if the characters are humorous exaggerations.  Others do limit it only to comic strips or animated works, but also feel those should only be used for - at the most serious - Disney style films.  Throw in the typical insecurities and overreactions of a fandom that may feel it has to "prove" itself and you may get some extreme reactions.  I just bore people into submission by busting out this schpeel. ;)  I am a fan of various animated works, and as I discovered long after I started using "otaku" as my general screen name, my fondness for Japanese animation comes from my fondness for general animation.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 7 months ago

    I'm happy to contribute. I've studied Mideveal Japanese History and the Japanese sword for over 30 years.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 7 months ago

    Thanks for all the added detail!

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 7 months ago

    It's an interesting question: where and when did "Kaizen" first hit the shores of the English language as a word meaning "[philosophy of] continuous improvement"?

    I don't know, but I wouldn't be the least surprised if the answer lay in an overseas division of Toyota, as you suggest.

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 9 months ago

    As a former Toyota employee, I heard the term used often and it was always explained to us to man "continuous improvement." Reading your comments on it above makes me wonder if perhaps that definition originated in an English-speaking country based internal marketing division of the company, leading to the implication that it is a Japanese business philosophy as well (as I'm sure you know, it's not uncommon for a well-known attribute of a single person/company to become generally attributed to a culture as a while). Perhaps it originated elsewhere, but I think this is at least a possibility...

  • Reply to: Debunked: "OMG Japan prefers pets to children"   2 years 9 months ago

    I'm not surpised about the fact that must japanes nowadays prefer to have dogs over children. Japan has many of the cutest dog breeds in the world. I love Shiva dogs, they are so cute! Here's a list: 

  • Reply to: Five Japanese words that don't mean what you think they mean   2 years 10 months ago

    A katana is referencing a saber: a curved single edged blade.Nihon-to are blades made in Japan. It literally means "Japanese blade".The homogenization laws of the Japanese daisho worn by the Samurai class (uchigatana) in the Tokugawa Era caused the older "tachi" style blades with a very pronouced curve to be replaced by a straighter standard, the newer blades still have a curvature to them however.Tachi were sabers worn at the waist using an elaborately knotted silk rope that allowed the sheath to swing freely. The blade's edge is sheathed facing down. Tachi were traditionally used from horseback. Tachi have a more pronounced curvature to prevent the horse from being harmed when it was drawn from the saddle. They were also typically longer.Uchigatana is what most Westerners know as the "katana" or "samurai sword". They are straighter and slightly shorter blades worn thrust through the sash worn around the waist. A silk cord was used to secure the saya (scabbard) from slipping out during normal everyday use. The blade of an uchigatana was sheathed with the edge facing up. The uchigatana came into popularity when footsoldiers became the primary fighters during the Senguku Period. This carried over into the Tokugawa Era with Tachi being relegated to ceremonial use by daimyo. 

  • Reply to: Debunked: "kaizen = Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement"   2 years 11 months ago

    改行为善 ? Now that is an interesting addition to the tale. Thanks!

  • Reply to: Debunked: "kaizen = Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement"   3 years 1 week ago

    Love the article.  Nice explanations and thank you for debunking.Further on this topic, the idea of "repent" stands up as well. Though this will require reaching back to the Chinese origins of the characters.The kaizen 改善 talked about here is a shorter version of the chinese idiom: “行为”, which transliterates to "change behaviour/form to act moralistically".Hope this helps.



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