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The colour of the sun.

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The colour of the sun.

Postby Konstantin » Sat 03.22.2008 11:13 am

Hi,
After watching one well known Japanese movie, I kept thinking about the colour that Japanese associate with the sun. In that movie the sun was associated with the white colour. Then, I spoke with some Japanese people and they said that it was red. Not surprising, considering the Japanese flag. Then, we take kanji, where 白い (shiroi, white) incorporates the kanji for 日 (hi, sun). This is because ancient Chinese associated rays of sun with white (ref. Helen Gilhooly, Beginners Japanese Script, p. 48). Now, considering that Japan is the country of the “Rising Sun”, and the sun is usually red in the evening (over in China), I am totally puzzled whether the sun is red or white from the point of view of Japanese culture, and why. If anyone has ideas, let me know :) .
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Re: The colour of the sun.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 03.22.2008 11:57 am

That etymology for 白 is likely to be false; the 漢字源 dictionary says it originated from a picture of a particular kind of (tree) nut and so has nothing to do with 日. There's a lot of misinformation about character etymologies even in published, peer-reviewed books -- it's one of those things that everyone has heard cute stories about but few people actually bother to verify them.

(Is there a reason you did not give the title of this "well known Japanese movie"?)
-Chris Kern
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Re: The colour of the sun.

Postby Konstantin » Sat 03.22.2008 1:08 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:That etymology for 白 is likely to be false; the 漢字源 dictionary says it originated from a picture of a particular kind of (tree) nut and so has nothing to do with 日.


Then, red it is. Which points towards the second question.


Yudan Taiteki wrote:(Is there a reason you did not give the title of this "well known Japanese movie"?)


Not, really. I just did not want to stress on the title, but rather on the colour issue. I watched the cartoon: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I realize, that cartoons are, probably, not the best language reference out there, but movies help me to study Japanese.
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