nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment

Mediocre Jedi

New Member
russian
Hi, people! I'm completely ignorant in japanese and do not know any native or japanese-speaking folks, so I'm asking on the internet). There is a line in Hagakure, that goes "There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment." How would it be written in japanese? I know there are several ways of writing (kanji, kana) - what way was it supposed to be written in original? What is the difference in writing horizontally or vertically (you write horizontally on the forum for example)? Some of my questions may seem to be stupid. And they probably are).
 
  • Hi, Jedi!
    Luckily I found that text on the web:
    "端的只今の一念より外はこれなく候" (Tanteki tadaima no ichinen yori hoka wa kore naku sōrō).
    http://www.dl.saga-u.ac.jp/OgiNabesima/haga.htm (Image of the original text: The left page, line 2)
    http://hagakureweb.p2.bindsite.jp/cn3/cn6/pg259.html

    Please note that this sentence is written in the old grammar, so it's largely different from today's spoken language.

    What is the difference in writing horizontally or vertically (you write horizontally on the forum for example)?
    In short, vertical writing is the traditional way and horizontal is the modern way. In the age of Hagakure all texts were written vertically, but today we use both just depending on layout (Perhaps there are still some formal texts that need to be written vertically, though).
     
    Well... To be honest, the original calligraphy (cursive writing) is so hard to read to me.
    If I read correctly, each line in your attempt corresponds to the English line below:

    端的只今の "of the present moment"
    一念より外は "other than the single purpose"
    これなく候 "There is surely nothing"

    And I think it's quite natural (We usually insert a break after "...の" or "...は" that behave as prepositions). But I recommend you ask someone to proof-read.
    Even though calligraphy is very artistic, many of today's Japanese people have a hard time to read it (like me). So maybe you should consider using other font.
     

    Mediocre Jedi

    New Member
    russian
    Thanks! But have I put the lines together wrong?
    If each part goes:
    端的只今の "of the present moment"
    一念より外は "other than the single purpose"
    これなく候 "There is surely nothing"
    Then the whole line 端的只今の一念より外はこれなく候 would go "of the present moment other than the single purpose There is surely nothing". Or am I completly missing something here?)
    By the way, there is a spot between the right and the middle lines of handwritten cursive (i'm talking about the picture which is split in three). Is it just a spot on a paper or a part of the writing?
     
    The word order of Japanese is different from European languages so there's nothing wrong :)
    For example:
    I ate sushi. => 寿司食べた。 (I sushi ate)
    (は and を are particles, called joshi in Japanese, that work like prepositions in English)

    By the way, keep in mind that you have to read a vertically-written text from right to left. So the part "端的只今の" is the rightest line in your three-line picture (You've already aligned them correctly!).

    By the way, there is a spot between the right and the middle lines of handwritten cursive (i'm talking about the picture which is split in three). Is it just a spot on a paper or a part of the writing?
    I guess it's just a spot on old paper.
     

    Mediocre Jedi

    New Member
    russian
    Then it turns out that if you read it from right to left (as it is supposed to be read) you get the right japanese order of words. But if you read it from left to right like this:
    これなく候 "There is surely nothing"
    一念より外は "other than the single purpose"
    端的只今の "of the present moment"
    Then you get the right european order of words! Is it supposed to be that way? I guess it's just pretty hard to grasp the concept for me)
    And how do you think: If this handwritten quote was a part of a drawing, which also included two words written in other style (kanji for example), would it seem grotesque and out of place due to the difference in styles?
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    It is just coincidence. A more complex sentence in Japanese or in English cannot be translated into another language by reading from the opposite side.

    two words written in other style (kanji for example)
    If "style" means kanji, hiragana or katakana, then please realise that the hakagure quote contains kanji and hiragana. Adding a few extra lines or words in kanji does not break the stylistic rule. A regular Japanese sentence is written with kanji and hiragana and katakana at the same time. Katakana is now basically for sound symbolisms (e.g., onomatopoeia) and European loan words. I don't know much about how it was used in the time of hagakure. I think there was no effort at establishing standard writing conventions back then.
     

    Mediocre Jedi

    New Member
    russian
    Thank you for your reply, Flaminius.
    Yes, I supposed it to be a coincidence or it would be pretty strange.
    As you probably guessed, I don't have much expirience with japanese, so everything is new to me. I just saw some people on forums speaking about writing whole sentences in kanji, so i thought it was one of the ways of writing.

    The question about fear and hope is now a new thread:
    fear, hope
     

    Attachments

    Last edited by a moderator:

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    writing whole sentences in kanji
    Ah, this was once done before hiragana was invented (10th century at the latest). Hagakure is from the 18th century, so the all-kanji style should not be employed for it.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top