マヨイガ / 迷い家

Riccardo91

Senior Member
Italian
Dear Japanese forum,

I've encountered the term マヨイガ (迷い家) in a cartoon, and I'm trying to understand more about the origin of the word.

At first I thought it could be translated as "lost house" (same structure as 迷い子, "lost child"), but after searching for information about this legend "house for lost people" or "illusory house" (from 迷い = illusion) seemed to make more sense to me. Then I read on Wikipedia that 迷い家 is actually 当て字, which complicates the matter.

When you look at how it's described in the cartoon, it does seem to mean "house for lost people":
ここはマヨイガ。 迷い込んだ人をもてなしてくれる家だよ

Is the term perceived this way by native speakers? Or is it the author playing with words?
Is there as established etymology for マヨイガ?

Thank you so much for any help. :)
 
  • Riccardo91

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you! I read the article, but if I have interpreted it correctly 迷ひ処 seems to be an alternative spelling of the word, and not its origin. I fear this could be 当て字 too.

    Let's see if someone else can give us some insight.
    Thank you for your time!
     

    ktdd

    Senior Member
    Mandarin - Beijing
    Well, it ultimately has to mean something, and an appropriate kanji representation of that meaning is possible. Not all kanji are created equal, is all I'm saying. There are several factors to consider in our case.

    1) The spelling of 迷ひ処 tells us that it came from before the WWII. Kanji was more widely used back then and people in general had a better mastery of it.

    2) One of the readings of 処 is か (or in the case of voicing, が). As a native morpheme, it routinely combines with continuative forms (連用形) of verbs to form new words, e.g., ありか, すみか, かくれが.
    On the other hand, 家 as か is an on (or Chinese) reading. It usually exists in words that are borrowed as a whole from Chinese, such as 廃家, 隣家, 商家, 酒家. When the character 家 does get attached to continuative forms of native verbs to mean some kind of a house, it takes on the kun reading of や or いえ, e.g., 空(き)家, 売(り)家, 貸(し)家, 借(り)家.

    3) Interestingly enough, かくれが has different spellings, too. 隠れ家 is the more common one. It is used to refer to a hiding place, or a hermitage. But 隠れ処 is older. Here's the relevant etymological notes from 日本国語大辞典:
    【隠処】(「が」は場所を意味する「か(処)」)
    【隠家】(「かくれが(隠処)」の「が(処)」を「家(か)」と解したことによるか)
    Apparently the original meaning of かくれが is simply 人目につかないところ. It is also evident from its usage in 源氏物語 that this "place/場所/ところ" needn't be a concrete one:
    女御の君、ただこなたを、まことの御親にもてなしきこえたまひて、 御方は隠れがの御後見にて、卑下しものしたまへるしもぞ、なかなか、行く先頼もしげにめでたかりける。
    現代語訳)女御の君、ひたすらこちらを、本当の母親のようにお仕え申し上げなさって、御方は蔭のお世話役として、謙遜していらっしゃるのが、かえって、将来頼もしげで、立派な感じであった。

    In conclusion... I have too much time to kill. That's all.
     
    Last edited:

    Just passerby

    New Member
    Japanese
    Hi Riccardo91-san and ktdd-san,

    Excuse me for cutting in. I checked about "マヨイガ" & ”迷い家”. As you mentioned, both are 当て字。It's correct but needs more its details. I tried to explain about the contents of Wikipedia in Japanese

    As you know, "マヨイガ" is a phantom house in the mountains that is said to bring wealth to visitors, which is handed down in the Tohoku and Kanto regions.

    This folklore became widely known by the collection of stories, "Tono Monogatari" of the folklorist, Kunio Yanagita.
    It's written based on the stories he had heard from locals in the region.

    About the etymology and notation, "マヨヒガ" is a name which is actually used in Tono. Based on this, in various current literature, it is written as "マヨイガ" or "迷い家" as modern "kana" usage and 当て字.
    "マヨヒガ" is an actual name and "ヒ" is pronounced "イ". And, "マヨイガ" or "迷い家" is used to make easier to understand.

    Answer:
    >Is the term perceived this way by native speakers? ->I think it's a little bit different, see above.
    >Or is it the author playing with words? ->I think No, to make easier to understand
    >Is there as established etymology for マヨイガ ->I think Yes. Formerly, it's handed down in the Tohoku and Kanto regions.

    I hope this helps you!
     
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