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Thread: The appropriate japanese translation for "principle"

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    Question The appropriate japanese translation for "principle"

    Hello!


    What is the appropriate Japanese translation for the term "principle"?


    In judo, for example, there are the "jita kyoei", "seiryoku zen'yo" (etc.) principles, but I found several translations for "principle" and I don't know what's the correct kanji.



    Can someone help me?

    Thank you
    - Caio Gabriel

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    The term I was taught for "principles" is "genri."
    I believe the kanji is:原則
    Cady Goldfield

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    I would advise you to be aware of the dangers involved in indulging in linguistic mysticism and basing the meaning of Japanese terms on feelings you might have about the putative connections between Chinese characters or between/ among the elements of a particular character. The blogspot cited by Kit is especially dangerous in this respect.

    Here is a selection of Japanese terms, all meaning 'principle': 主義 しゅぎ shugi (sometimes found at the end of terms and generally meaning -ism); 信念 しんねん shinnen; 原則 げんそく gensoku; 原理; げんり genri; 倫理; りんり rinri (used in compound expressions like 相対性理論: そうたいせいりんり: sou-tai-sei-rin-ri: The principle of relativity. There are many more.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Thank you, sir, for the correction!
    Kit Leblanc

    In Harm's Way

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hissho View Post
    Thank you, sir, for the correction!
    It was not intended as a correction, more as a note of caution.

    I have spent more than three decades living here and learning the language, especially the written language, and I am perhaps more acutely aware than others of the romantic value—and the dangers—of mystifying language in order to mystify training in a martial art. Japanese even has kotodama [言霊], which is the belief that words (not sounds, mind you) have spirits or souls. This was deemed of special importance when chanting norito [祝詞] prayers.

    So what is sometimes intended as a learning device, to help Japanese children learn how to write the Chinese characters in the correct stroke order, turns into a semantic device, intended to explain how the structure of the character allegedly determines the meaning of the word. One of the best examples of this romanticism is the semantic explanation of the character BU [武] and I have heard Japanese aikido instructors go on at great length about how the ‘peaceful’ explanation of the character supposedly defines aikido as a ‘peaceful’ martial way, conceived as a new type of budo, especially suited to postwar, peace-loving Japan. And so on and so on and so on. ...

    The contortions involved here make about as much sense linguistically as attempting to explain how the letters that make up the word table function to manifest the meaning of the word.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    The term I was taught for "principles" is "genri."
    I believe the kanji is:原則

    Hello Cady,

    Genri is 原理; gensoku is 原則. These are the Chinese-derived ON readings. The Japanese kun reading of soku is nottoru, which means to follow or conform to. However, the character is usually encountered as the second character in a compound word, as in gensoku, shisoku [四則: the four basic arithmetical operations], gakusoku [学則: school rules], hensoku [変則: irregular, abnormal], kisoku [規則: regulations], keikensoku [経験則: rule of thumb].
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Thank you, Peter. I wasn't sure of the kanji, as I'd only heard the spoken word and haven't seen it written. I do know that principles, as in the physical and mechanical laws governing specific movements or combinations of mechinations resulting in certain effects, were referred to as genri.
    Cady Goldfield

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