Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The “Truth” of the Matter
A few month's back, I read another person's blog discussing the use of the (Japanese) word, “jitsu” (and making the same point I make here). In the majority of instances, people are writing the kanji for “jutsu”, yet stating (in Romanji) “jitsu”. Though having been aware of it, I've (pretty much) just left everyone alone in regards to it.
The definition of Jutsu, is "art,technique,skill;means;artifice, trick,stratagem;resources;magic,conjure"
The definition of Jitsu, is "truth,reality:sincerity,fidelity;kindness; faith:substance,essence"
There do exist "other" kanji that share these pronunciations, but (after viewing them) it quickly becomes obvious that these are the two being (regularly) interchanged.
After having seen yet another blog attempt to justify their mispronunciation (of the kanji), and by using incorrect information at that, I felt I should voice my own opinion as well.
It isn't as if I'm just pulling this out of my ass, just to complain about something. I am a licensed instructor for the instruction of Japanese Calligraphy. I own around 8 Japanese to English dictionaries. Of those, 6 are “kanji” dictionaries (showing the Chinese/Japanese kanji that represent the words/sounds). I also have 6 (only) Japanese dictionaries that I use for translations. I translate Japanese documents (almost) every day (meaning only, that I am very familiar with translating Japanese kanji).
If it were only Americans (that do this), I could easily understand it (knowing the low educational level of this, “my”, country, LOL in regards to foreign languages). But we are not alone in this (miss) practice. I see it regularly upon websites from all over the world.
I've also heard it claimed that the “jitsu” pronunciation been heard from Japanese/Okinawan's as well. The problem with that, is when you ask them, they (those that can) will write it (in English) as “jutsu”. Eastern pronunciation of vowel sounds is different than Western (ie. In English). The Western “ear” is not always accurate in it's perception of Japanese words.
It's been argued that this is the result of poor translation, or poor pronunciation skills (both of which may be true). But it doesn't excuse the fact that “Dictionary's” are plentiful, and with minimal research it could quickly be ascertained what the correct pronunciation is (I'm afraid that the “Internet” is not always a valid/accurate source for translations).
There are some Japanese words that will vary in their pronunciation (depending on their use, or when combined with other words). “Jutsu” isn't one of them, at least in regards to “Jitsu”. The word/kanji for Jutsu, is never pronounced (or spelled as) “Jitsu”.
The words (and kanji) have two different translations and meanings. They don't have any correlation to one another, and can't be confused (for their use). The kanji for each don't resemble one another (regardless of the “style” they are written in), so they can't be confused (accidentally).
Regardless of the “facts” numerous systems advertize the “art” that they are teaching as being “Jitsu”, yet use the kanji for “Jutsu” (as well as pronouncing it as such). Other than advertising their own ignorance, they aren't (really) hurting anything, or anyone by doing so. People (and organizations) can broadcast their own illiteracy as much as they so choose (“Free World” and all that), but know that by doing so, they are making everyone else look like they are as ignorant as they are.
(If you can't Read/Speak/Write Japanese Correctly, then Don't use it)