Despite the fog, Mount Fuji is beautiful

fenixpollo

moderator
American English
A family friend wants a tattoo with the following phrase, in Japanese.

Despite the fog, Mount Fuji is beautiful

This is the attempt made by a relative of mine who is a third-year student of Japanese at university:

雲がいってかかわらず、富士山がきれいですね。

My relative says it doesn’t sound natural but doesn’t know how to improve it. Is anyone willing and able to help? We would really appreciate it.
 
  • Flaminius

    hedomodo
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Hi,
    I am well aware that the Japanese sentence sounds quite differently to non-natives, but this is to me no more than an awkward advert line. Having said that, I will tackle this as a translation challenge.

    雲がかかっても美しい富士山

    I rendered the line a bit poetic. In a flowery language, adnominal clauses are considered more elegant than a sentence (富士山は美しい). For calligraphic works, punctuations are not used.
     

    Just passerby

    New Member
    Japanese
    Hi fenixpollo-san,

    I'm new member. I reached to this thread while I was searching some English phrases. I'm not good at speaking English well but I can read and write a little. I was very surprised about this thread. And, I registered and replied.

    It seems to me that you need to give advice to your family friend to consider again and learn more Japanese a little.
    I sometimes see that some foreigners had funny or strange tattoos in Japanese.
    If your family friend want strongly, I suggest the following sentence in consideration of your English one, "Despite the fog, Mount Fuji is beautiful".

    "霧こめてなお美しき富士の山"

    It's seems like more Japanese "hike" poetry with using traditional Japanese phrase. It's kind of old fashion style but not speaking language. "Hike" has 2 rules both the syllabary of 5-7-5 and including the season word as follows.

    The Japanese syllabary:
    "Ki ri ko me te - na o u tsu ku si ki - fu ji no ya ma". It can count by 5-7-5.

    The season word:
    "霧" is "fog" means "autumn".

    I hope this helps you!
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    A family friend wants a tattoo with the following phrase, in Japanese.

    Despite the fog, Mount Fuji is beautiful

    I have to ask: Why? That seems such a random thing to have permanently inked on one's body.

    雲がいってかかわらず、富士山がきれいですね。

    That would not be at all suitable for a tattoo. Aside from the inappropriate register, it uses the character 雲, which literally means cloud, not fog. Obviously, the clouds at the summit of a mountain are basically the same as fog, but it would help to know why your friend chose the word fog. (I can't resist the urge to tell a moderator about the need for context. :))

    What is the end result your friend seeks? Is it just something that looks beautiful? Or is there some personal meaning in the phrase? Your friend should know that Japanese speakers will probably laugh (inwardly, of course) upon reading this tattoo.
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    Obviously, the clouds at the summit of a mountain are basically the same as fog, but it would help to know why your friend chose the word fog. (I can't resist the urge to tell a moderator about the need for context. :))

    What is the end result your friend seeks? Is it just something that looks beautiful? Or is there some personal meaning in the phrase?
    It's a fair criticism, and I apologize for not explaining the motive behind the tattoo. My understanding is that the friend wants to say something like, "the mountain is still beautiful even when it's shrouded in fog." They think of it as a metaphor for human character, as a way of saying, "despite a person's flaws, one can still be beautiful" or "a person is still beautiful even when one's flaws obscure that beauty."
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    My understanding is that the friend wants to say something like, "the mountain is still beautiful even when it's shrouded in fog." They think of it as a metaphor for human character, as a way of saying, "despite a person's flaws, one can still be beautiful" or "a person is still beautiful even when one's flaws obscure that beauty."

    I see. Thanks for the explanation.

    Here is my attempt:
    霧に隠されても、美しい富士山
    Phonetic transcription: kiri ni kakusaretemo, utsukushii fujisan.
    Rather literal translation: Even though hidden by fog, beautiful Mount Fuji. (This construction, without a main verb, is common in Japanese, as mentioned above by Flaminius.)

    The version given in #3 is nice because it is a haiku, but I don't know if your friend could appreciate that level of Japanese.

    The character 霧 (kiri, fog) is rather complex and could be difficult to write as a tattoo for someone not skilled in writing in Japanese with an ink gun, so I recommend that your friend take the time to find a specialist tattoo artist. I have seen many Japanese and Chinese tattoos that look like they were written by a child.

    The final choice of the wording is a matter of personal preference. The other suggestions given above are also fine.

    If your friend does get this tattoo, please ask him/her to give you a photo and post it here so we can see it.
     

    SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    霧がかかろうと美しき富士
    霧がかかろうと富士は美しきかな
    霧隠れ富士もまた美なり
     
    Last edited:

    Just passerby

    New Member
    Japanese
    Hi fenixpollo-san,

    I added some comment about my sample Japanese. "霧こめてなお美しき富士の山" and new suggestion.

    "こめて" is ”罩めて" in Chinese character. We can write "込めて" or "立ち込めて" as well.
    It means "to hang over; to shroud; to enshroud; to envelop; to screen".

    And "富士の山:fuji no yama" sounds more beautiful or attractive than just" 富士山:fuji san" for the traditional Japanese poetry, "短歌:Tanka" or "和歌:Waka" (including "俳句:Hiku").

    That reminds me, "山岡 鉄舟: Yamaoka Tesshu" a kind of samurai of the end of Edo period wrote the following "短歌:Tanka".
    "晴れてよし曇りてもよし富士の山 もとの姿は変らざりけり"

    It's difficult to translate for me above sentence. But it seems like "If it's sunny (openly or clearly) and if even it's cloudy, Mt.fuji is nice (beautiful). Because it's never change (immovable) of the (original) appearance (looking) . "

    So, I realized the phrase "if even it's cloudy, Mt.fuji is nice (beautiful)." is same as "Despite the fog, Mount Fuji is beautiful"!?. Probably, the answer for you is "曇りてもよし富士の山", isn't it?

    Tesshu is left many famous sayings. Maybe, your family friend wants to refer from one of those (the samurai's sayings).
     
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