Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Translating World War II Memorabilia

Translating World War II Memorabilia

Do you have a translation question?

Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Kathleen » Sat 03.28.2009 9:49 am

Hello, I hope this is okay to post here. I have a Japanese artifact given to me by a friend whose father gave it to her - he brought it home from World War II.

It is a buckle, with a dragon on the front, and a lengthy inscription on the back. I have uploaded pictures front and back onto image shack. If anyone can give any insight into this buckle, I would be very greatful.

I understand that this forum is not a "translation" forum, I read your rules, and if I understand correctly, such items as World War II memorabilia may be okay to ask for translation. I have no wish to break your rules, so I hope it is okay to ask for your help here.

In any event, the links to the dragon buckle pictures are thus:

The front of the buckle can be viewed here: (see characters/writing in lower left corner).

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/8734/dragonfront.jpg

The back of the buckle with the main inscription on it can be viewed here:

http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/7064/dragonback.jpg

*A couple of the letters/characters are obscured by the workings of the buckle, there is no way to photograph them as they are under the verticle bars. But the main body of the inscription is very visible in this picture.

Any insight anyone can share on this buckle would be greatly appreciated. Again, thank you, I appreciate it.

Respectfully,

Kathleen
Kathleen
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat 03.28.2009 8:35 am
Native language: english

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 03.28.2009 10:00 am

The font is sort of difficult, so I'll start and hopefully someone else can fill in the missing parts or correct my mistakes.

Front:
?

Back:
第七回
??保険体???
?熊本縣

昭和十一年

Translation:

7th
??protection of body???
Kumamoto prefecture

Showa 11 [1936]
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby keatonatron » Sat 03.28.2009 11:13 am

I wonder if the kanji on the front could be 睦? Apparently it means "friendly" and "harmonious"--not what you would expect coming from a dragon during war time :D

Can you take one more picture of the back with the leftside buckle part flipped to the other side? It looks like you should be able to photograph the whole thing in two parts.
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby JaySee » Sat 03.28.2009 11:15 am

The front I think reads 陸, which means "land" (perhaps an abbreviation of 陸軍, "army"?)

In addition to what Yudan said about the back:

??保険体育大

I'm not 100% sure about 育 (although the bottom part of that character I'm quite certain is 月). 体育 is a word though, (physical education / gymnastics) but I'm not sure how that would fit in this context.

It's also interesting to see how they used the simplified version of 体, but 縣 is written the traditional way.

Edit: It really looks like 保健体育大曾, or something... but then the second character would be wrong, even though the pronunciation is the same...
JaySee
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat 08.04.2007 12:04 am
Location: Tokyo
Native language: Dutch
Gender: Male

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Garappachi » Sat 03.28.2009 1:07 pm

JaySee wrote:The front I think reads 陸, which means "land"

偏は解字で言うと「阜」の象形文字ですから「こざとへん」。ご指摘通り「陸」のようですね。

It's also interesting to see how they used the simplified version of 体, but 縣 is written the traditional way.

現在の新字体は当時から広く一般に略字体として使われていたのを採用した例も多いですね。
「体」もその一つです。

1938年の国語審議会による漢字字体整理案を見ると現在の新字体よりも、より書きやすく工夫された漢字なども見られます。

Edit: It really looks like 保健体育大曾, or something... but then the second character would be wrong, even though the pronunciation is the same...

保險体育大曾と読めます。
保険体育大会(新字体に統一すると)
※保険体育が現在の保健体育と同じ物なのかはわかりません。
Garappachi
 
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon 06.11.2007 6:52 am
Location: 関西
Native language: にほんご
Gender: Male

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Kathleen » Sat 03.28.2009 10:19 pm

Hi everyone, thank you for your patient help with this. I didn't think I could shoot the missing characters under the hinge but after many blurry shots that didn't take, I was able to get a few.

Here are the links to the pictures of the missing characters on the left and rights sides.

Left side characters that were obscured by hinge:

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/672/dr ... tside1.jpg

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/4208 ... tside2.jpg

Right Side Characters that were obscured by belt loop bar:

http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/2575 ... tside1.jpg

http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/1538/d ... tside2.jpg

Sincere thanks for your patience and your assistance, I truly appreciate it.
Kathleen
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat 03.28.2009 8:35 am
Native language: english

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 03.28.2009 11:27 pm

第七回
健康保険体育会
熊本縣

昭和十一年

7th
Health Preservation Sports Event [some sort of athletic competition or event]
Kumamoto Prefecture

Showa 11
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby keatonatron » Sun 03.29.2009 2:23 am

By the way, that's "7th" as in "7th [annual] event", not that he placed 7th in the competition :D

I wonder if it was just a military version of a スポーツ大会--a physical competition amongst all the members done usually for fun (like "track & field day" in grade school).
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 03.30.2009 8:30 am

keatonatron wrote:By the way, that's "7th" as in "7th [annual] event", not that he placed 7th in the competition :D

I wonder if it was just a military version of a スポーツ大会--a physical competition amongst all the members done usually for fun (like "track & field day" in grade school).



It could be, perhaps it was 'military knowledge, application and performance, that were graded, similar to the Ranger Challenge where only the best of the best are selected and only a percentage of those who are invited actually finish..??
User avatar
two_heads_talking
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Thu 04.06.2006 11:03 am
Native language: English

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Kathleen » Mon 03.30.2009 11:51 pm

Chris, thank you for this interpretation.

Here is where I am at with this: Ignorance is bliss. I have gone off on a tangent, and been researching probably more than was in my best interest. Because it lead to more questions. I'm wondering now about the language changes. What alphabet should be applied here? Because what I have learned is that modern Kanji came into use in 1946. This buckle apparently came into being in Showa 11 (1936) - ten years prior to the modern Kanji usage. I'm also wondering if this is a Chinese dialect. Call me foolish, but I've been pooring over Chinese and Japanese, and the only characters I have found identical to this "rounded" style are older Chinese. But I am too ignorant of the languages to know if this is significant.

I guess I'm just wondering if we can use Kanji created a decade after this buckle was created to translate it. I don't know. I don't know if the modern Kanji so closely resembles this alphabet that it tells the whole story.

The inscription on the front bears one character that translates as "land". More than one character on the back is identical to out dated Chinese. Eeeek! See what I mean? The more I learn, the more questions arise.

I don't know, but I do know I appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. Thank you to you all for your efforts to help! If I learn anything different than what has alreadly been figured out here in modern Kanji, I'll share it.

Many thanks again,

Kat
Kathleen
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat 03.28.2009 8:35 am
Native language: english

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.31.2009 6:22 am

Kathleen wrote:This buckle apparently came into being in Showa 11 (1936) - ten years prior to the modern Kanji usage. I'm also wondering if this is a Chinese dialect. Call me foolish, but I've been pooring over Chinese and Japanese, and the only characters I have found identical to this "rounded" style are older Chinese.


This style of writing is special; it's comparable to calligraphy in English, in that it's based on a very old style, but in modern times is only used for special purposes (with calligraphy, we've all seen it on diplomas, but we don't use it personally).

This style of kanji is still used for fancy/old-looking writing. Other than that, however, it is not used in everyday communication, and it was not used so even in 1936. Nowadays, pretty much the only place you see this type of font (that's really all it is) is for company hankos (name-stamp). This is an example: http://sakai.cool.ne.jp/souzuka/enigma/w-history/hanko.jpg

Whenever I get a bill from the phone company, it is "signed" with a stamp like this, using the same type of characters as seen on your belt buckle.

Kathleen wrote:I guess I'm just wondering if we can use Kanji created a decade after this buckle was created to translate it.


We *did* translate it. If you're wondering how, please translate the following and tell me if you have any problems: "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. "
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby Kathleen » Tue 03.31.2009 7:03 am

Wow. You lost me on that last comment, I'm not sure what your asking me to do. All I meant was that based on what I have learned, the current Kanji did not come into use until 1946. The Kanji used before that time was apparently almost identical to Traditional Chinese. The current Kanji in use is "Toyo Kanji". The writing on the buckle is not "Toyo Kanji" (The Kanji created and put into use after World War II.) The writing on the buckle is old Kanji, called Kyujitai which is tantamount to Traditional Chinese. Here is link:

"Kyūjitai were used before the end of World War II, and are mostly, if not completely, the same as the Traditional Chinese characters"

Link: http://askaword.com/search.jsp?q=Kanji&d=ls&libs=

I meant no offense, I was merely sharing what I had learned which is that this inscription was written in old Kanji no longer in use. This does in my opinion, leave some room for speculation on possible differences in the meaning.

Anyway, as I said, I do sincerely appreciate the help I have found here. No offense was intended.
Kathleen
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat 03.28.2009 8:35 am
Native language: english

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby JaySee » Tue 03.31.2009 7:41 am

I'm not sure, but I have the feeling you're under the impression that the traditional characters (kyuujitai / "old kanji") and simplified characters (shinjitai / "current kanji") are somehow different languages, but this is not the case; the only difference is the shape of the characters. Of course these characters could be used to represent different languages (just like the our own alphabet is used to write dozens of languages) but this generally has nothing to do with the shape of the individual characters. If it would for example be decided to write English 'th' as 'þ' from now on, the language would still be the same, and if you know that 'th' is 'þ' then older texts would be easy to read.

Similarly, if you know the traditional variants of the current simplified characters, then it is quite easy to understand what is written on the buckle. Admittedly, the actual grammar used in writing around that time was also a bit different, but since these are just a few nouns strung together this is not an issue.

The majority of the kanji actually were not simplified at all, so that these are still written the way they were 100 years ago. Also, most of the characters that were simplified were in fact already written this way (as a kind of "shorthand") even before the these forms were officially adopted. To illustrate the fact that the changes really weren't that large, here's the text on the buckle in traditional characters:

第七回
健康保險體育曾
熊本縣
昭和十一年

Simplified:

第七回
健康保険体育会
熊本県
昭和十一年

Only four characters are different, and if you look at the fifth character on the second line you'll see that on the buckle the simplified form rather than the traditional form was actually used. Maybe also worth noting is the fact that the Toyo Kanji list was replaced in 1981 by the Joyo Kanji list.
JaySee
 
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat 08.04.2007 12:04 am
Location: Tokyo
Native language: Dutch
Gender: Male

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 03.31.2009 8:53 am

Kathleen wrote:
I meant no offense, I was merely sharing what I had learned which is that this inscription was written in old Kanji no longer in use. This does in my opinion, leave some room for speculation on possible differences in the meaning.

Anyway, as I said, I do sincerely appreciate the help I have found here. No offense was intended.



Keat-san is just saying that translating the old Japanese is not different than translating old English.. His quote is from the Bible. Gen. 28:15
User avatar
two_heads_talking
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Thu 04.06.2006 11:03 am
Native language: English

Re: Translating World War II Memorabilia

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 03.31.2009 9:55 am

There is no difference at all in meaning between the two styles of kanji.

It is only a difference in form, much like the difference between this:Image

and this: Image
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
User avatar
becki_kanou
 
Posts: 3402
Joined: Sat 04.19.2008 10:09 pm
Location: Hyogo, Japan
Skype chat: yes_becki
Native language: U.S. English, 米語
Gender: Female

Next

Return to Translation Questions or Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests