mjj (flemmings) wrote,

There's a certain sense of dislocation in seeing the Japanese names I learned before I could read Japanese written in kanji. There's a bunch in the afterword to Akizuki's novel, a list of Taishou-born and -active literary figures, that made me blink rapidly. When sounds become symbols one's whole sense of the man changes.

Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, for instance- 芥川 龍之介- has a dragon in his name, and Tanizaki Jun'ichirō- 谷崎潤一郎- has Goujun's jun. Mori Ogai in his original kanji- 森 鷗外- looks more surprising than in his simplified form, do not ask me why. I mean, both mean 'outside the seagull', but somehow the traditional seagull is just a bit more imposing. And it had eluded me that Kawabata Yasunari- 川端 康成- had the Tokugawa's yasu in his name as well. Maybe I thought it was 安 or something. ^^::

Akizuki implies that she knew very little about Taishou when she started researching her book, but she has a slew of names that are new to me. For my own reference:
武者小路実篤- Mushanokoji Saneatsu- who demonstrates why Japanese name kanji make gaijin weep.
萩原 朔太郎 Hagiwara Sakutaro- who seems worth looking up;
北原 白秋- Kitahara Hakushu- ditto.

And not new to me, but someone I actually didn't know anything about: Miyazawa Kenji.
Tags: japanese, reading_07, verse

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