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Re: Issa : under a tree, on a rock

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  • lbolenyc
    ... literally ... Issa ... however, ... avoid ... opportunity ... should: (1) ... but ... translate ... E3%81% ... logdging ... whereever ... one ... in ...
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 1, 2008
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      --- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, "Greve Gabi"
      <gokurakuatworldkigo@...> wrote:
      >
      > > >
      > > > in a cloudburst
      > > > under a tree, looking miserable
      > > > a minor official
      > > >
      > > > yuudachi ya juka sekijou no ko yakunin
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > by Issa, 1819
      > > >
      > > > Shinji Ogawa explains that the phrase, juka sekijoo, which
      literally
      > > > means to sleep or dwell under a tree and on a rock, figuratively
      > > > denotes "being a monk practicing austerities." Here, he says,
      Issa
      > > > uses the phrase to mean "poor," or "petty." It seems to me,
      however,
      > > > that the minor official is literally standing under a tree to
      avoid
      > > > the rain, a visual image that provides Issa with this
      opportunity
      > > for
      > > > word-play.
      > > >
      > > > My dilemma as a translator, then, is to decide whether I
      should: (1)
      > > > mention the literal level of being under a tree and on a rock
      but
      > > lose
      > > > the figurative meaning of practicing austerities; or (2)
      translate
      > > the
      > > > figurative meaning (Shinji suggests the middle phrase, "how
      > > > miserable") but lose the literal image of the official crouching
      > > under a tree.
      > > > My compromise: I keep the tree but lose the rock, adding
      > > Shinji's "miserable."
      > > >
      > > > Tr. David Lanoue
      > > > http://cat.xula.edu/issa/
      > > >
      > >
      > ....................................................................
      > > .....
      > > >
      > > > juge sekijoo
      > > >
      > > > checking other online dictionaries
      > > >
      > > > taking one,s lodging at the roadside in the wilderness
      > > > Buddhist Ascetic practise, sometimes also expressed as
      > > >
      > > > sekijoo juge
      > > > (juGE, under a tree ... is the reading of Buddhist texts)
      > > > on a stone, under a tree
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > my first try
      > > >
      > > > cloudburst ..
      > > > a petty official camps
      > > > by the roadside
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I need a better word for .. camping, staying over night, taking
      > > > shelter over night ... or something like that.
      > > > Will ponder later.
      > > >
      > > > koyakunin, implies the petty too
      > > > http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?enc=UTF-8&p=%E3%81%93%E3%82%84%
      E3%81%
      > > 8F%E3%81%AB%E3%82%93&stype=0&dtype=3
      > > >
      > > > I can imagine him trying to save a penny for the overnight
      logdging
      > > > and rather taking shelter outside on his long trip to ...
      whereever
      > > he
      > > > is going.
      > > >
      > > > "looking miserable" is maybe a bit too much interpretation.
      > > >
      > > > GABI
      > >
      > >
      > > Hmmm...what is interesting about this haiku? It seems to me to be
      one
      > > of those haiku which is half-senryu.
      > >
      > > Gabi san, there are English expressions, "to sleep rough,"
      > > and "roughing it," which mean, respectively, "to spend the night
      in
      > > the open without shelter," and "to live without the usual
      comforts of
      > > life."
      > >
      > > So, one way your translation could go would be:
      > >
      > > cloudburst...
      > > a petty official roughing it
      > > by the roadside
      > >
      > >
      > > but frankly, I think you need the interpretation of "looking
      > > miserable." And I think the scene is a day scene and not a night
      > > scene.
      > >
      > > Who is this "minor" or "petty" official? I found a definition of
      the
      > > word 'juka' by itself, which gave as its meaning: "Confucianist."
      > > The 'juka' I found may be a homonym for the word Issa used, but
      maybe
      > > Issa meant the word he used to suggest a Confucianist meaning as
      well
      > > as a Buddhist meaning. And I found as a meaning for the
      > > word 'koyakunin': "Low ranking samurai with various light duties
      such
      > > as guarding the gate or patrolling the grounds."
      > >
      > > And looking up "Japanese Confucianism," I find this: "Neo-
      > > Confucianism (especially Chu Hsi Confucianism) was the most
      important
      > > philosophy of Tokugawa Japan in government and education."
      > >
      > > So, during the 'sengoku jidai' period of Japanese history, "the
      age
      > > of the country at war," even a samurai of the lowest rank would
      > > ideally be imbued with the martial spirit, would at his best be
      > > influenced by Zen Buddhism, and would be expected to stoically
      endure
      > > austere conditions, even unto death.
      > >
      > > Who had this 'koyakunin' become by Issa's time? Although still
      > > allowed to carry a sword (or maybe not?), he was a minor or petty
      > > official, imbued more with neo-Confucian values than with Zen
      > > Buddhist values.
      > >
      > > I think Issa might be mocking the 'koyakunin's' samurai heritage
      or
      > > pretensions. Gone is the samurai stoicness. Instead of enduring
      the
      > > cloudburst as if it were part of a Buddhist austerity ritual, the
      > > minor official, a samurai in name only by Issa's time, looks
      > > miserable under the tree.
      > >
      > > Do you think my interpretation has any plausibility?
      > >
      > > Larry
      > >
      >
      > Hi Larry and all,
      >
      > yuudachi ya juka sekijou no ko yakunin
      >
      > this koyakunin is difficult to interpretate just like that, I find,
      > but Larry, you did a great pondering !
      > juka, the Confucianist connection, is a different kanji altogether
      and
      > maybe not implied here.
      > http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?enc=UTF-8&p=%E3%81%98%E3%82%85%E3%81%
      8B&stype=0&dtype=0
      >
      >
      > I do not see this koyakunin sooooo miserable (considering just the
      > words Issa gives in his ku).
      >
      > It seems the only one Issa wrote about a yakunin or even ko yakunin,
      > so he was not much occupied with this class of lower ranking
      samurai.
      > The Lord of Kaga features much more often ... grin ...
      >
      >
      > ishi no ue ni san nen ... sitting on a stone for 3 years
      > is a proverb in Japanese.
      >
      > I once had a friend who had planted a huge flat stone in his garden,
      > overlooking the sea to Oshima island, spending each morning in
      > meditation there ... without a coushion, of course !
      >
      > Gabi


      Gabi san,

      I think that Prof. Lanoue has identified the problem for the
      translator of this haiku: do you translate the figurative meaning of
      the expression 'juka sekijou' or do you translate it literally. In
      your translation, whether you have the petty official "camping" by
      the roadside or "roughing it," it seems to me that you lose both the
      literal "under a tree, on a rock," as well as the figurative meaning
      of "practicing austerities." Is "under a tree, on a rock" how you
      get "roadside" by the way?

      Would a literal translation be:

      cloudburst
      sleeping under a tree, on a rock
      a petty official


      Would a figurative translation be:

      cloudburst
      the petty official becomes
      an ascetic


      The literal translation doesn't have much humor and seems mostly a
      trivial observation.

      And frankly, the idea of a petty official suffering from inclement
      weather as a result of trying to save money on a night's lodging
      doesn't strike me as all that humorous either, or at least not
      wittily humorous

      If this haiku doesn't have a humorous point to it, it comes off
      seeming rather flat.

      The key to understanding/appreciating this haiku seems to me to be in
      the meaning of 'yakunin'. In Issa's time, who were 'yakunin'? What
      did they look like? How did they act? How were they perceived by
      society at large? Why would Issa compare a 'yakunin' to a monk?

      Prof. Lanoue has translated 78 haiku that Issa wrote using the
      word 'yuudachi', clearly a haiku topic if there ever was one. After
      reading the English translations of Issa's 'yuudachi' haiku which
      Prof. Lanoue has translated, I find that some of the haiku are more
      interesting, better if you will, than others. I would put this haiku
      among the "others."

      Larry
    • Greve Gabi
      yuudachi ya juka sekijoo no ko yakunin in a cloudburst under a tree, looking miserable a minor official Kobayashi Issa Tr. David Lanoue this is indeed a tough
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 1, 2008
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        yuudachi ya juka sekijoo no ko yakunin

        in a cloudburst
        under a tree, looking miserable
        a minor official

        Kobayashi Issa
        Tr. David Lanoue


        this is indeed a tough nut to translate !

        another of my tries

        cloudburst ...
        the harsh life
        of a petty official

        Tr. Gabi Greve, free translation



        I added it up here so far, will check on the Ko YAKUNIN more later.
        http://wkdhaikutopics.blogspot.com/2008/06/official-yakunin.html


        I found one of my Daruma with the " ishi no ue san nen"

        sitting on a stone for three years !


        thanks , Larry, for being persistent, even if this might not be a
        haiku to the best of your liking !

        yuudachi, evening shower, is of course a KIGO
        http://worldkigo2005.blogspot.com/2005/05/evening-shower-yuudachi-05.html


        GABI
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