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    Help required with kanji

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    Davaro

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    Help required with kanji

    Post by Davaro on Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:44 pm

    Hi there,

    I am very interested in purchasing a belt from the kodokan and would like to have it embroidered with my club name on one end and my own on the other.

    Could someone please tell me what would be understood by the following to see if I have "google translated" it correctly?

    最善

    What would be understood by the above? Say if translated to English. Last thing I want is to have something done which is totally incorrect or meaningless to anyone that may be able to correctly read it...

    Also, what would the correct symbols for my name, Dave, or David be?

    Thanks in advance. Any suggestions or criticism welcomed...  Eg, would it be better to have my name done in English rather?


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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:47 am

    Davaro wrote:Hi there,

    I am very interested in purchasing a belt from the kodokan and would like to have it embroidered with my club name on one end and my own on the other.

    Could someone please tell me what would be understood by the following to see if I have "google translated" it correctly?

    最善

    What would be understood by the above? Say if translated to English. Last thing I want is to have something done which is totally incorrect or meaningless to anyone that may be able to correctly read it...

    Also, what would the correct symbols for my name, Dave, or David be?

    Thanks in advance. Any suggestions or criticism welcomed...  Eg, would it be better to have my name done in English rather?
    最善 saizen = very best, very good
    Look it up you can enter in Romaji here www.jisho.org

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    Jonesy

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Jonesy on Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:07 am

    As Dave and David are not Japanese words you should to use the phonetic Katakana script to approximate. Dave is roughly デイブ and David is roughly デビッド. You might want to consider having your family name on the belt, not your given name..

    I will defer to others for the Kanji.


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    Anatol

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Anatol on Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:06 am

    Hi Dave

    "David" is hebrew and means "favorite/darling of god"


    Would be nice on one side of your belt

    "the very best/optimal" : 最善

    and on the other side of the belt:

    神 寵兒 (shen chong er = favorite of god / gods) (there is no singular/plural in chinese characters)


    Nobody who can read Kanji/Hanzi will challenge you with these two embroideries ;-)


    A funny variation would be:


    神 寶寶 (shen bao bao) Bao Bao means also "darling" but more like a baby ...


    .

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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:04 am

    The use of Chinese characters to spell out last names is not normal in Japan; typically only done now when a foreigner takes Japanese citizenship and can chose a name for the family registry and passport.  Chinese doesn't have the use of katakana for foreign words, so in China the custom is very different.  

    I once helped a friend named Hill, who insisted, despite my warning of the hazards, on using ateji (kanji for sounds) instead of katakana as normal practice, translate his business card into Japanese.

    He was quite happy with the look of the characters until an educated Japanese pointed out that his last name was the ancient characters for the 'queen's hemorrhoids'.  

    (I can't imagine how that happened.... What a Face )))))
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    Davaro

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Davaro on Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:25 pm

    Awesome, thanks for the replies.

    My club name is Saizen so will go with that and the katakana for Dave.

    Now to figure out how to get it done on the Kodokan shop website.

    Thanks all


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    Anatol

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Anatol on Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:46 pm

    Hi NBK


    I once helped a friend named Hill, who insisted, despite my warning of the hazards, on using ateji (kanji for sounds) instead of katakana as normal practice, translate his business card into Japanese.

    He was quite happy with the look of the characters until an educated Japanese pointed out that his last name was the ancient characters for the 'queen's hemorrhoids'.  
    Funniest story I red on E Judo :-)) Great!

    So I have to guess the last name: (phonetic) "nü wang dsche" 女王  痔 ?

    Maybe the Japanese gentleman made only a joke, which would be a double irony ...

    Richard Riehle

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Richard Riehle on Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:07 am

    NBK wrote:The use of Chinese characters to spell out last names is not normal in Japan; typically only done now when a foreigner takes Japanese citizenship and can chose a name for the family registry and passport.  Chinese doesn't have the use of katakana for foreign words, so in China the custom is very different.  

    I once helped a friend named Hill, who insisted, despite my warning of the hazards, on using ateji (kanji for sounds) instead of katakana as normal practice, translate his business card into Japanese.

    He was quite happy with the look of the characters until an educated Japanese pointed out that his last name was the ancient characters for the 'queen's hemorrhoids'.  

    (I can't imagine how that happened.... What a Face )))))
    Translating any name into another language can be entertaining. It used to be a favorite thing in Korea to have one's name embroidered in Hangul. My friend, George, found out what happens when his name is written in Hangul. I cannot say, in the interest of good taste, what the embroidery in Hangul ended-up being. If you know Korean, you can figure it out for yourself. It is not a polite word.
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    Kaji

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Kaji on Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:28 am

    To me a native Chinese speaker, 最善 saizen means "most morally-good". A great club name! thumbs

    With what little I know about the Japanese language and convention amongst Japanese Judoka, I think using the phonetic katakana for your last name is the way to go for the other end of your belt.
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    Jihef

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Jihef on Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:52 am

    Davaro wrote:Hi there,
    I am very interested in purchasing a belt from the kodokan and would like to have it embroidered with my club name on one end and my own on the other.
    Hi Dave, why not have your name embroidered in roman script ?

    They do that, too…


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    Neil G

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Neil G on Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:45 am

    Some people use kanji to phonetically approximate non-Japanese names. They are nonsensical to a Japanese reader but much prettier than katakana. If the point of the embroidery is decoration, do what you like.

    If you want Japanese people to be able to read your name, use katakana. This is the standard advice we give for nafuda (competition name tags for kendo, iaido and other arts). Probably doesn't apply in your case.

    If you want people at local events to be able to read your belt, ie pick it out of a pile of other people's gear, use English/romaji.
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    Davaro

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Davaro on Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:38 am

    Yeah, I will probably go with roman script for my name.


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    Stacey

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Stacey on Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:57 am

    always wondered how Katakana handles silent letters....
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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:11 am

    Stacey wrote:always wondered how Katakana handles silent letters....
    if you're serious, it ignores them - it's a phonetic syllabary.

    Bordeaux => borudô => ボルドー 

    if you're not serious, I don't get it....
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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:14 am

    Anatol wrote:Hi NBK


    I once helped a friend named Hill, who insisted, despite my warning of the hazards, on using ateji (kanji for sounds) instead of katakana as normal practice, translate his business card into Japanese.

    He was quite happy with the look of the characters until an educated Japanese pointed out that his last name was the ancient characters for the 'queen's hemorrhoids'.  
    Funniest story I red on E Judo :-)) Great!

    So I have to guess the last name: (phonetic) "nü wang dsche" 女王  痔 ?

    Maybe the Japanese gentleman made only a joke, which would be a double irony ...
    妃 - some artistic license was involved...
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    Stacey

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Stacey on Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:27 am

    NBK wrote:
    Stacey wrote:always wondered how Katakana handles silent letters....
    if you're serious, it ignores them - it's a phonetic syllabary.  

    Bordeaux => borudô => ボルドー 

    if you're not serious, I don't get it....

    my last name has 2 silent letters. I can always tell who's German/ic because they always pronounce them, yet if you don't even acknowledge them, then my last name becomes a concept that's easily translated into any language, and not requiring of katakana. The two letters represent the origins of the name, and therefor have significance from that side as well, so getting rid of them becomes problematic, but they aren't pronounced on this side of the pond, at least not for the last 300 years.

    Yes, translation is a sticky thing, especially considering the actual meaning of the original name which has nothing to do with the current, common understanding of the name without the two silents.

    See? Some names may not be adequately translated via a straight phonetic syllabry. In that case, the Roman version would necessitate usage, unless you wanted to be called something that's not quite right, or worse, get stuck with the kanji concept that represents the common usage of the word without the silents.

    But then, what's in a name? A rose by any other name/ would smell just as sweet.....
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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:02 pm

    Stacey wrote:
    NBK wrote:
    Stacey wrote:always wondered how Katakana handles silent letters....
    if you're serious, it ignores them - it's a phonetic syllabary.  

    Bordeaux => borudô => ボルドー 

    if you're not serious, I don't get it....

    my last name has 2 silent letters. I can always tell who's German/ic because they always pronounce them, yet if you don't even acknowledge them, then my last name becomes a concept that's easily translated into any language, and not requiring of katakana. The two letters represent the origins of the name, and therefor have significance from that side as well, so getting rid of them becomes problematic, but they aren't pronounced on this side of the pond, at least not for the last 300 years.

    Yes, translation is a sticky thing, especially considering the actual meaning of the original name which has nothing to do with the current, common understanding of the name without the two silents.

    See? Some names may not be adequately translated via a straight phonetic syllabry. In that case, the Roman version would necessitate usage, unless you wanted to be called something that's not quite right, or worse, get stuck with the kanji concept that represents the common usage of the word without the silents.

    But then, what's in a name? A rose by any other name/ would smell just as sweet.....
    You can play games with the 'concepts' and pronunciation if you put your name into Japanese (Chinese) characters but most Japanese I know think that it is simply odd at best, presumptuous (or obtuse) at worst. Most Japanese Americans don't even use their tradition family names in kanji while doing business after a couple of generations abroad.

    I developed a conceptual / phonetic kanji 'name' that I use as a parlor (well, actually, bar) trick or conversation starter. OrchidNestIClimbTrees! or my adopted Japanese name from my adopted clan (long story not applicable outside a rustic corner of old Satsuma) but using either would be entirely inappropriate in a business or academic setting. The former amuses most, the latter bores everyone. Oh, well.....

    Katakana are not conceptual, they're purely phonetic. (If you delve into the history of them there was a conceptual origin as a shorthand for common kanji, but that's long lost.)

    If you want to send me your last name in a PM I'd be glad to transliterate if I can.

    NBK
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    Jihef

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Jihef on Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:09 pm

    Jonesy wrote:You might want to consider having your family name on the belt, not your given name...
    I suppose this would be the thing to do (in katakana) if you were to visit a japanese dojo.


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    Reinberger

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Reinberger on Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:24 am

    NBK wrote: ... You can play games with the 'concepts' and pronunciation if you put your name into Japanese (Chinese) characters but most Japanese I know think that it is simply odd at best, presumptuous (or obtuse) at worst.  ...
    NBK, regarding that remark, to me it seems that may differ. Shortly before he passed away, my (Japanese) teacher provided me with several things for the continuation of the school. They included templates for the different certificates (許状, called yurushijō in our school), and my name is written in katakana there, indeed.

    But he also had several seals being manufactured for me. For the hanko containing my name, sensei chose ateji. Therefore, read, they sound very similar to how my name is pronounced. Obviously, he considered that use of kanji for my name to be reasonable in that case.

    One thing that sensei hadn't considered, was a wariin, the type of seal, that authenticates a budō-certificate with the corresponding entry in the lists of all the certificates issued to people. Therefore I had to create one by myself. In that case, I opted for the third possibility, and chose kanji, that correspond to the literal meaning of my name. I discussed that intention, as well as the selected kanji, with a (Japanese) Shodō-sensei, and she regarded the whole idea to be appealing.

    So there are/were at least two Japanese people - teachers in their respective arts, that both are related to the matter at hand - that have/had no reservations against the use of kanji to write a western name in two different cases and in two different ways, one time phonetically, and the other time according to the literal meaning of the name.

    Later, I also had that last form (浄山人 for Reinberger, but, of course, not in tensho this time) embroidered into one of my obi, that I use at certain occasions, while my name in roman script is on another belt, that I'm using at other opportunities. However, the obi I usually wear has no embroidery at all. Wink


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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:20 am

    Calligraphy teachers love that sort of thing. Business people hold it in much less regard, let us say.

    Seals are somewhat different - I could see someone putting thought into that. Katakana isn't very conducive to flow and style - pretty angular.

    If you showed in Tokyo and gave me a meishi with such kanji I'd assume you live in China.
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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:24 am

    Jihef wrote:
    Jonesy wrote:You might want to consider having your family name on the belt, not your given name...
    I suppose this would be the thing to do (in katakana) if you were to visit a japanese dojo.
    Most foreigners I know here have their name in katakana but frankly I think it started more as an aid to the Japanese than an accommodation for the foreigners. I know any number of instructors that simply can't read western names.

    And as Jonesy says it's usually family name.
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    Jihef

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Jihef on Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:27 am

    NBK wrote:
    Jihef wrote:
    Jonesy wrote:You might want to consider having your family name on the belt, not your given name...
    I suppose this would be the thing to do (in katakana) if you were to visit a japanese dojo.
    Most foreigners I know here have their name in katakana but frankly I think it started more as an aid to the Japanese than an accommodation for the foreigners. I know any number of instructors that simply can't read western names.

    And as Jonesy says it's usually family name.  
    Exactly, I meant if sensei means to call you or something. Thanks.


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    Reinberger

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Reinberger on Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:22 am

    NBK wrote:Calligraphy teachers love that sort of thing. Business people hold it in much less regard, let us say. ... If you showed in Tokyo and gave me a meishi with such kanji I'd assume you live in China.
    Of course, I wouldn't use either notation with kanji on a meiji. Even so I usually don't have to do with Japanese business people, in job-related relationships at least. When my personal hanko or wariin is used, or the described obi is worn, it's always in a budō-related context.


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    Neil G

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by Neil G on Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:24 am

    Reinberger wrote:
    But he also had several seals being manufactured for me. For the hanko containing my name, sensei chose ateji. Therefore, read, they sound very similar to how my name is pronounced. Obviously, he considered that use of kanji for my name to be reasonable in that case.
    I think for official seals and such, you need kanji.  I seem to recall some people talking about needing this stuff for some official reason living in Japan.

    As I said before, if the goal is to get a Japanese person to be able to pronounce your name, use katakana.  We have a very practical use for this in kendo & iaido where everybody wears name tags (nafuda).  In Japan, top line is dojo/team/company etc.  Below that is the family name in kanji.  Outside Japan, the top line is dojo name in romaji, bottom is family name in romaji, and the inside is usually family name in Japanese.  Japanese people use kanji there, non-Japanese use katakana, weeaboos use ateji.

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    NBK

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    Re: Help required with kanji

    Post by NBK on Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:45 am

    Reinberger wrote:
    NBK wrote:Calligraphy teachers love that sort of thing. Business people hold it in much less regard, let us say. ... If you showed in Tokyo and gave me a meishi with such kanji I'd assume you live in China.
    Of course, I wouldn't use either notation with kanji on a meiji. Even so I usually don't have to do with Japanese business people, in job-related relationships at least. When my personal hanko or wariin is used, or the described obi is worn, it's always in a budō-related context.
    That's key, and my comment still stands - most Japanese I know think this curious at best, an odd affectation, or worse. And I know thousands - not just a couple of martial arts instructors.

    That's key to remember - I'm not talking about a closed, self-selecting martial arts society, but broader Japanese society. In a closed performing arts or religious worlds, it can be very different. (e.g., shakuhachi flautist John Kaizan Neptune or Zen priest Brian Daizen Victoria). It is not done in jûdô that I've ever seen. Shôgô, the honorary titles developed by the DaiNihon Butokukai, are different, but now not done by the Kôdôkan. Sensei is easy, shihan more problematic (discussing elsewhere I think).

    I probably tend to be too sensitive to it, but having the misfortune of choosing one instructor unwisely, I noted that some have the habit of calling foreigners and women by their first name. Some out of friendship or an attempt to be accommodating or 'Western', whatever that is. But there are some who intentionally use first names to deal with foreigners in a different manner than Japanese, in essence to infantilize foreigners.

    I have a quick way of doing that - just respond with their first names, most get the point very quickly.

    NBK

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