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Thread: Quick (hopefully) translation question

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    Default Quick (hopefully) translation question

    I've been trying to verify if "keirakuto" correctly translates to "falling tower". I've only taken a year of Japanese in college, so my vocab is very limited. I have heard that the suffix -to can mean tower, but I am having trouble with "keiraku". The only thing I can find for that word is in reference to Kyoto or the words accupuncture and capital. The closest word that I've found that means fall/collapse/etc. is "reiraku". Does either reirakuto or keirakuto translate to falling tower, or am I still way off?

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    It's hard to say without some context for the word (kanji would be nice too).
    My Kojien agrees with you that keiraku refers to the setting sun, Kyoto, points in acupuncture, and also buying up of stock.
    Can you give us some kanji, or a context in which the word came up?
    Andrew Smallacombe

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    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, I don't know the kanji.

    The word was in reference to a kata, but I'm unsure if the translation of the romanized word "keirakuto" is correct. "The Falling Tower" is what the word (what ever it is) is supposed to translate to, that much I do know.

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    Can you give us the name of the kata and the style? That will give us somewhere to start from.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

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    Andrew,

    Well it comes from an American form of battojutsu called Ishi Yama Ryu (it is a whole other story to explain why Ishi Yama isn't written Ishiyama, but to make a long story short it was intentional). I've been able to verify that the names of all the other kata are correct, but I have just been having trouble dissecting the individual words within this one specific kata. The name as it is listed is "keirakuto (Falling Tower)".

    At first I thought it might be in relation to the fall of Ishiyama Hongan-ji, which was destroyed by the forces of Oda Nobunaga in 1580 (Osaka Castle is built on its ruins), but Ishiyama Hongan-ji was in present day Osaka, not Kyoto. However, Ishiyama Hongan-ji was the the "capital" for followers of the Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist sect (the Ikko-ikki, who were warrior monks), so conceivably the kata may still be in symbolic reference to this event.

    Generally, I like to try to figure stuff out on my own, but it looks like I'll have to ask the head instructor for some history on the name keirakuto.

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    Sure it isn't kAirakuto?
    Ben Persons

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    Sukeyasu,

    It might be. What does kairakuto translate to?

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    kairaku 壊落 = collapse or fall down
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Interesting. I had tried looking that up before, and came up with "pleasure". Having the kanji definately helped clear that up.

    Thanks for the clarification.
    Last edited by Steven Baxter; 20th November 2008 at 20:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Baxter View Post
    ...it looks like I'll have to ask the head instructor for some history on the name keirakuto.
    Unfortunately, Russell's Japanese language skills aren't very good.

    For example, he once explained to me that a bokuto was a crude wooden sword, while a bokto was a fine wooden sword.

    The problem, of course, is that there is no such word as bokto in Japanese, because there is no k in Japanese; only ka, ki, ku, ke, and ko.

    "Bokto" is, I suppose, one way bokuto might be pronounced (bo-k[u]-to), but it doesn't have a seperate meaning.

    Anyway, that's just one example; you're more likely to get good information on Japanese language here than you are at your school.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Hi all,

    Going from memory, I seem to recall that "keiraku" in accupuncture refers to the energy lines that the various tsubo are located on. If this "keiraku" is the one being referred to, then perhaps "keiraku-to" is intended to mean a sword that cuts along a particular line corresponding to an energy line.

    Probably the best thing to do is to ask Russel though, since he is the founder. I would assume he wouldn't name kata he created without knowing what the intended meaning is (?)

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    Unfortunately, Russell's Japanese language skills aren't very good.

    For example, he once explained to me that a bokuto was a crude wooden sword, while a bokto was a fine wooden sword.

    The problem, of course, is that there is no such word as bokto in Japanese, because there is no k in Japanese; only ka, ki, ku, ke, and ko.

    "Bokto" is, I suppose, one way bokuto might be pronounced (bo-k[u]-to), but it doesn't have a seperate meaning.

    Anyway, that's just one example; you're more likely to get good information on Japanese language here than you are at your school.
    Well, he actually speaks pretty good Japanese from what I have heard (his ex-wife was Japanese so I know he was exposed to it in the past), and I have heard him have brief conversations in Japanese with other speakers. I believe he learned mostly through conversation, and not through actual written Japanese. That is where, I believe, the distinction between "bokto/bokuto" came from. Some individuals put a little more inflection on the "u" than others. Consider a situation in which you are learning a language based on associating objects with words and someone holds up a pretty basic looking bokuto says "look at this bok'to" then you might associate that word with a lower quality wooden sword. This might be especially true if at another time someone else shows you a fairly nice bokuto and this time you hear "bokuto". Based on that distinction one might think that it was two different words in reference to two different objects. Of course, if no one points out that it is the same word, then the error becomes self reinforcing since anytime you point at a wooden sword and say "bok'to" or "bokuto" you will technically be correct even though you have a different association for those two words. Similarly, when I hear a lot of non-native japanese describe objects on the sword, specifically the tsuka, they tend to pronounce it "tsooka" instead of "ts'ka" (with a subtle "u" inflection).

    However, I don't want this to devolve into a discussion about Mr. McCartney. Again, the names of the other 12 kata are correct, it was only this one that I was having trouble with considering I didn't have hiragana or kanji to verify the translation. I think that as Sukeyasu pointed out, kairaku is probably the correct romanization. On the other hand, by taking Nathan's comment into consideration and given the bunkai of the kata, I can see how keiraku could fit in as well. I did email Mr. McCartney for further clarification based on everyone's insights.

    Thanks your help everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Baxter View Post
    ...Consider a situation in which you are learning a language based on associating objects with words and someone holds up a pretty basic looking bokuto says "look at this bok'to" then you might associate that word with a lower quality wooden sword. This might be especially true if at another time someone else shows you a fairly nice bokuto and this time you hear "bokuto". Based on that distinction one might think that it was two different words in reference to two different objects.
    Yep; that's exactly what I think was the likely case.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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