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Old 2009-06-29, 07:29   Link #1181
yezhanquan
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Hitler always had ill intentions. Just read Mein Kampf. It's just that no one believed that he would actually do them.

I think it's the old mantra: Are you willing to pay the price of changing the status quo?
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Old 2009-06-29, 08:02   Link #1182
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by ShimatheKat View Post
In any case, remember that Confucianism taught that subordination at all costs is a virtue. This was duly imported and applied by the government of Japan at the equivalent time (Yamato Period), and thus has some role in leading up to what it is today.
That's the problem: Confucius did not in any way suggest that subordination at all costs is a virtue — that was the invention of later scholars, particularly during the Han dynasty (the Qin dynasty under the First Emperor was more inclined towards Legalism), to justify obedience to imperial rule.

Confucius left high office in self-imposed exile to seek a worthy ruler during turbulent times — hardly the action of a man who meekly submits to authority. I should point out once again that Confucius strongly believed in the value of education, and its implied value of academic inquiry.

By demonising the man and his philosophy, we fall into the trap of misinterpreting his teachings through the prism of Western ideology. When we critique a body of thought, such as communism, we need to separate its theory from its application, and evaluate each accordingly. Confucianism, when properly applied, could have brought about a just society, similar to the way Karl Marx envisioned his proletariat utopia emerging from revolution.

As for Confucianism's influence on Japanese culture, it's only oblique at best. There are myriad other domestic factors that caused Japanese culture to become the way it is. In some ways, its driving need to conform can be seen as social represssion, but out of it comes also the greater tendency for Japanese to empathise with other people's hardship. Their need to preserve wa (harmony) also comes from their heartfelt need to avoid imposing on their neighbours.

So you see, every coin has two sides. When studying a culture, it's not a good idea to jump to conclusions based on foreign worldviews.
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Old 2009-06-29, 08:32   Link #1183
ZephyrLeanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
That's the problem: Confucius did not in any way suggest that subordination at all costs is a virtue that was the invention of later scholars, particularly during the Han dynasty (the Qin dynasty under the First Emperor was more inclined towards Legalism), to justify obedience to imperial rule.
As a Japanese, I remember clearly that it was derived some way of Confucianism. Not Legalism. Legalism by the way was created by Qin Shihuang's aide. Call it propaganda is you will.

Quote:
Confucius left high office in self-imposed exile to seek a worthy ruler during turbulent times hardly the action of a man who meekly submits to authority. I should point out once again that Confucius strongly believed in the value of education, and its implied value of academic inquiry.
Education is utmost. I agree with that.

Quote:
By demonising the man and his philosophy, we fall into the trap of misinterpreting his teachings through the prism of Western ideology. When we critique a body of thought, such as communism, we need to separate its theory from its application, and evaluate each accordingly. Confucianism, when properly applied, could have brought about a just society, similar to the way Karl Marx envisioned his proletariat utopia emerging from revolution.
In Japan, Confucius isn't always well accepted because he was seen as importing "Chinese values that inflicted damage on Japanese original culture". I remain seized on this issue, though as a bystander.

Quote:
As for Confucianism's influence on Japanese culture, it's only oblique at best. There are myriad other domestic factors that caused Japanese culture to become the way it is. In some ways, its driving need to conform can be seen as social represssion, but out of it comes also the greater tendency for Japanese to empathise with other people's hardship. Their need to preserve wa (harmony) also comes from their heartfelt need to avoid imposing on their neighbours.
Well, you must also understand that Wa is more about social cohesion not about hierachy.

Quote:
So you see, every coin has two sides. When studying a culture, it's not a good idea to jump to conclusions based on foreign worldviews.
I'm a Japanese expat. What do you mean, Foreign?
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Old 2009-06-29, 08:48   Link #1184
Tri-ring
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In Japan, Confucius isn't always well accepted because he was seen as importing "Chinese values that inflicted damage on Japanese original culture".
???
Strange, the Tokugawa shogunate highly praised Confucianism and sponsored many scholars(儒学者) invisioning that it will numb out feudalism to introduce a centralized government.

Japanese just didn't accept social Confucianism based on older or earlier adoption equals to higher position within social hierachy like some Koreans or Chinese advocates.
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Old 2009-06-29, 08:58   Link #1185
ZephyrLeanne
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Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
???
Strange, the Tokugawa shogunate highly praised Confucianism and sponsored many scholars(儒学者) invisioning that it will numb out feudalism to introduce a centralized government.

Japanese just didn't accept social Confucianism based on older or earlier adoption equals to higher position within social hierachy like some Koreans or Chinese advocates.
Not Tokugawa. I think Meiji. You know, about the time when China was invaded by the West? Tokugawa was OK with Confucius. But by Meiji or something, Shinto was back.
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Old 2009-06-29, 09:36   Link #1186
Tri-ring
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Originally Posted by ShimatheKat View Post
Not Tokugawa. I think Meiji. You know, about the time when China was invaded by the West? Tokugawa was OK with Confucius. But by Meiji or something, Shinto was back.
Again you make no sense.
Neither Tokugawa shogunate nor Meji thought Confucianism as an "answer to all".
Shintoism never disappeared either since it was basis of any and all seasonal and cultural festivals.
I honestly believe that you simply lack knowledge of the Japanese culture whether being Japanese or not.

I for one do not believe nor accept social Confucianism since it make no sense what so ever.
Why does a culture merely being a relay point not making any noted contribution adding value to the development of the philosophy be praised by another culture?
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Old 2009-07-24, 03:32   Link #1187
mitsuganae
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I have a query that just might be suited to this thread. In a lot of anime, I've noticed that after a character goes through a great ordeal (sometimes against his/her wishes), he/she often says "sorry for making you worry" to the people he/she knows, even those who are not particularly close to him/her. Is this a uniquely Japanese trait/custom/expression? I mean, is someone who is dragged to hell against his/her wishes expected to apologize when it's all over? I don't mean to belittle this trait/custom/expression, but I'm simply very curious.

It strikes me as the reverse of a gag that is somewhat common in western TV/movies/etc., when a character who goes through an ordeal loudly declares" I'm OK" to everyone and/or to no one in particular, and no one really gives a damn.
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Old 2009-07-24, 07:43   Link #1188
Mystique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitsuganae View Post
I have a query that just might be suited to this thread. In a lot of anime, I've noticed that after a character goes through a great ordeal (sometimes against his/her wishes), he/she often says "sorry for making you worry" to the people he/she knows, even those who are not particularly close to him/her. Is this a uniquely Japanese trait/custom/expression? I mean, is someone who is dragged to hell against his/her wishes expected to apologize when it's all over? I don't mean to belittle this trait/custom/expression, but I'm simply very curious.

It strikes me as the reverse of a gag that is somewhat common in western TV/movies/etc., when a character who goes through an ordeal loudly declares" I'm OK" to everyone and/or to no one in particular, and no one really gives a damn.
Japanese trait? O.o
I apologise to those close to me when I disappear of the face of the earth if I'm having a serious bad time as I've had to do a few times this year.
I'd think anyone who cares about people who worry bout you, be it friends or family would apologise for the anxiety they went through on your behalf.
It's not a 'sorry I did wrong', it's kinda in a way an indirect 'thank you for caring about me', in this case a sign of it was of someone being concerned on your behalf.

<flippant> Japanese tend to have set apologies in all kinda of styles for almost any given situation, even if you're just saying 'thanks'.
"Sumimasen, arigatou" - in one breath.
You're forever apologising and bowing for something or other within a day.</flippant>
So in that sense, perhaps it's more a Japanese culture thing and thus shown in their language via anime, but otherwise I'd think a lot of pple would be somewhat apologetic if someone was stressing on your behalf.
(cept husbands to their wives, perhaps...)
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Old 2009-07-24, 10:21   Link #1189
mitsuganae
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^ Thanks for your response, Mystique. Expressing thanks in the form of an apology is an interesting concept if that is indeed the case. However, if one is made to go through an ordeal against one's wishes (such as, oh I don't know, being kidnapped), saying "sorry for making you worry" the moment one sees one's acquaintances/friends/whatever again still sounds rather out of place to me, even if it really means "thank you for caring about me." It's certainly more understandable if the ordeal is gone through by choice (or is self-inflicted) rather than against one's wishes.

Honestly, sometimes I think that a rape victim would be expected to say "sorry for making you worry" the moment he/she sees his/her acquaintances/friends/whatever again after recovery/recuperation. Even saying it after, oh I don't know, going through a dangerous but necessary surgical operation sounds a little off to me. It can even be taken as ridiculously presumptuous -- and I would think that one should never ever be presumptuous when one deals with people one is close to.

Ah well. At this point I'm just rambling. But I suppose human relationships are filled with needless complications of all sorts.

Last edited by mitsuganae; 2009-07-24 at 10:44.
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Old 2009-07-24, 14:12   Link #1190
Shadow Kira01
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Tiny 'pagoda' found inside Kannon statue

Quote:
NARA--A miniature five-piece pagodalike structure containing ashes said to be remains of Buddha has been found inside a seated Kannon statue belonging to Sennyuji temple in Kyoto, the temple and the Nara National Museum announced Friday.

An X-ray photograph confirmed that the pagoda is inside the seated statue of Avalokitesvara, known as Yang Guifei Kannon.

The seated statue--an important cultural asset--is on display along with the X-ray photograph at a special exhibition titled "Sacred Ningbo, Gateway to 1,300 Years of Japanese Buddhism" being held until Aug. 2 at the museum.

The 3.6-centimeter-tall pagoda comprises five shapes, each representing five elements such as earth, water and fire that make up the world in esoteric Buddhism.

The pagoda is contained in the chest area of the 114-centimeter-tall Kannon statue, and three fragments of remains were found in the lowest part of the pagoda.

The seated Kannon statue was transported from Southern Sung in China in 1230 by Tankai, a priest of Sennyuji temple.

Some Buddhist images created in Japan contain a five-element pagoda. However, this is the first time such a structure has been found inside a Buddhist image brought to Japan from China, according to the museum.

Isao Nishitani, a curator of the temple's Shinshoden treasure house, said: "A Kannon statue containing Buddha's remains was thought to have a life and would become a symbol of faith. Tankai could have ordered somebody to create the image and put the five-tier pagoda inside it."

(Jul. 25, 2009)
I get the feeling that Tankai had pull something off as that the action of doing so it is very beneficial.
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Last edited by Shadow Kira01; 2009-07-24 at 14:13. Reason: corrected typo.
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Old 2009-08-15, 08:31   Link #1191
SeijiSensei
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Keys as weapons?

I don't know if this belongs in "silly questions," but I'll start by asking here first.

My daughter was replaying Kingdom Hearts where the main character Sora uses a "keyblade," a large key, as his principal weapon. There's a plot-related aspect to his use of keys, but I'm not certain it's the only reason for its inclusion in the game.

In Oh! Edo Rocket, one of the main characters is a locksmith named Ginjiro who also fights with large keys. There is, again, a plot-related reason for this, but it made me wonder whether there was a deeper cultural meaning to this use of keys as weapons. (Rocket is rife with cultural symbols so it wouldn't be unusual to find this being another one.)

Is there something in Japanese history or culture that underpins these references to keys as weapons?
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Old 2009-08-15, 10:59   Link #1192
Tri-ring
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I don't know if this belongs in "silly questions," but I'll start by asking here first.

My daughter was replaying Kingdom Hearts where the main character Sora uses a "keyblade," a large key, as his principal weapon. There's a plot-related aspect to his use of keys, but I'm not certain it's the only reason for its inclusion in the game.

In Oh! Edo Rocket, one of the main characters is a locksmith named Ginjiro who also fights with large keys. There is, again, a plot-related reason for this, but it made me wonder whether there was a deeper cultural meaning to this use of keys as weapons. (Rocket is rife with cultural symbols so it wouldn't be unusual to find this being another one.)

Is there something in Japanese history or culture that underpins these references to keys as weapons?
Well this may not be the answer you are looking for but various assassination techniques relied on Anki(暗器) or common household tools as weapons. Book as mace, guitar gutt for strangling and so on.
Keys can become an effective knife if you slice a vital artery.
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Old 2009-08-15, 11:55   Link #1193
Guernsey
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This may or may not have been asked but is Japanese brotherhood tighter than most countries? I see in anime where it talks of the Power of Friendship and how we need to work together to achieve a goal but still is Japanese comradery strong?
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Old 2009-08-15, 23:28   Link #1194
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
This may or may not have been asked but is Japanese brotherhood tighter than most countries? I see in anime where it talks of the Power of Friendship and how we need to work together to achieve a goal but still is Japanese comradery strong?
Those are all natural aspects and effects of a collectivist society. Japan's collectivism has been eroding over the last few decades (the otaku phenom has selfish individual aspects but nonetheless still groups strongly) ...
However, collectivism overall (working together for the team) is still quite strong.
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Old 2009-08-17, 02:20   Link #1195
Samari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I don't know if this belongs in "silly questions," but I'll start by asking here first.

My daughter was replaying Kingdom Hearts where the main character Sora uses a "keyblade," a large key, as his principal weapon. There's a plot-related aspect to his use of keys, but I'm not certain it's the only reason for its inclusion in the game.

In Oh! Edo Rocket, one of the main characters is a locksmith named Ginjiro who also fights with large keys. There is, again, a plot-related reason for this, but it made me wonder whether there was a deeper cultural meaning to this use of keys as weapons. (Rocket is rife with cultural symbols so it wouldn't be unusual to find this being another one.)

Is there something in Japanese history or culture that underpins these references to keys as weapons?
I'd be very surprised. With Kingdom Hearts, I think the developers had to keep it toned down a bit with the use of weapons...well at least with the main character. Since the game has as an association with Disney.
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Old 2009-08-23, 07:10   Link #1196
Jan-Poo
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I have a question about the usage of "neesan" in common language. I was unsure if I should ask this in the language thread, but this looks more like a cultural issue so:

while playing "umineko no naku koro ni" I noticed that a certain character "Eva" calls her sister in law "Natsuhi", "Natsuhi-neesan".

Natsuhi is married with Krauss which is older than Eva. However, Natsuhi is younger than Eva.

So in this case I was puzzled. Why is Eva using "neesan" towards a person that is younger than her?

What I have speculated is that since Natsuhi is married to Eva's older brother then she automatically acquires the older status. But is that really true?

I mean, should it happen that a 40 years old man marries a 20 years old woman, is the 38 years old younger brother supposed to call this 20 years old woman "neesan"? Isn't that awkward?
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Old 2009-08-23, 08:27   Link #1197
LiberLibri
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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
What I have speculated is that since Natsuhi is married to Eva's older brother then she automatically acquires the older status. But is that really true?
True. Natsuhi is the wife of next lead of the family. Eva shows her respect for the mistress through the term, though superficially.

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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
I mean, should it happen that a 40 years old man marries a 20 years old woman, is the 38 years old younger brother supposed to call this 20 years old woman "neesan"?
Yes. Some people may prefer call the wife just by (her name)-san form.
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Old 2009-08-23, 12:35   Link #1198
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
I mean, should it happen that a 40 years old man marries a 20 years old woman, is the 38 years old younger brother supposed to call this 20 years old woman "neesan"? Isn't that awkward?
I have a cousin sister (表姐, biao jie, ie, an elder cousin sister, daughter of a maternal uncle) who is about the same age as her uncle (to me, he's a 舅父, jiu fu, ie, my maternal uncle; but to my cousin, he's a 叔叔, shu shu, ie, her father's younger brother). Theoretically, she's supposed to address him as "uncle", but since they practically grew up together under the same roof, they got used to addressing each other by name, as though they were cousins of the same generation.

It's fairly complicated: My maternal grandfather remarried after his first wife died. This uncle is thus very much younger than most of his elder siblings, some of whom were already married by the time he was born. My maternal grandmother, the first one, bore seven children including my mother. The second grandmother bore two more, a daughter and a son.

Back when extended families in Japan, Korea and China used to live under one roof, or at least in the same village, it was very important to establish rank and hierarchy very clearly, since it had a direct impact on inheritance (and on marriage ties; people bearing the same surname are not supposed to marry, to avoid incest). The relative age of your various relatives are not as important as your lineage. For example, barring any accidents, the eldest son of the eldest son is almost always the next leader of the clan. And members of the elder generation are always of higher "rank" regardless of their relative age.

And, unlike in Western societies, the title of each relative clearly demarcates his or her rank, relative to you. So, again, age is not the determining factor. Your position in the family hierarchy is.
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Old 2009-08-27, 23:18   Link #1199
risingstar3110
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Guys, got a question that needs some help....

Have a homework about the meaning and significant of the phrase ごちそうさま or "Gochisou sama". Well the general information is pretty easy to find ( unless anyone have some really good site that want to recommend) but i would like to ask you guys especially those have Japanese culture background for more trivial information..... the kind which no one put up on internet or books

Things like...... when you find it uncomfortable to use such phrase (maybe when you live in Western society for example). How kids were taught to learn such terms.... Would it be preferred to shout out loud or speak at normal voice......etc.... Any things from silly to interesting surround the phrase ごちそうさま

It will be a bonus if someone have an anime or manga that include such information
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Old 2009-08-29, 12:21   Link #1200
megassa
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Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
This may or may not have been asked but is Japanese brotherhood tighter than most countries? I see in anime where it talks of the Power of Friendship and how we need to work together to achieve a goal but still is Japanese comradery strong?
Then sorry about my poor english,

I think that a hegemony of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP in 80's of Japan (ex.ドラゴンボール, 北斗の拳, キャプテン翼, 魁!!男塾, 聖闘士星矢...) is the one of very important reason why japanese anime stress brotherhood.

The mottoes of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP are "brotherhood", "effort", and "victory". (「友情」「努力」「勝利」)
Mangaka of JUMP had to include those themes to their mangas.

The anime creators in now had been grown up those mangas.
I think it was inevitable.
Therefore, Japanese brotherhood is not special.



Oh, I had forgotten one.
Homosexuality was not a Sin in Japan before Meiji Restoration.
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