October 19, 2011

Jutsu == Jitsu

Sorry about not posting much lately. After six years of doing this, I'm running out of things to say. (I started this blog in October of  2005, a couple of months after I wrapped up USS Clueless.)

I just now confirmed something I'd long suspected. I long wondered whether the Japanese pronounced 術 jutsu as "jitsu". I'd long known of the martial art we call "jiu jitsu", but jitsu doesn't mean that. So was it a case of dumb gaijin mispronouncing it? Or is it a case of Japanese pronunciation drift?

In the second episode of Dog Days, Becky uses the term bojutsu to refer to study of fighting techniques using a staff (i.e. a bo) and she pronounced it "bo-jeets", dropping the trailing "u" sound, as is commonly done in words ending with -tsu.

So it really is the Japanese pronunciation. Given how regular their pronunciation is, it's a bit strange to run into an exception. I wonder how it happened?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 09:41 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 165 words, total size 1 kb.

1  I remember somebody talking my ear off once about a martial art he was into called "jiu <i>jutsu</i>" and how it was "real" unlike the "jiu <i>jitsu</i>" that was corrupted by the west or some such. So maybe there <i>is</i> a difference in pronunciation that popped up when the name of the martial art was anglicized. I was sort of tuning the guy out, so I don't remember all of what he said, but my IKIA Syndrome picked up on the pronunciation difference. Now I'm curious if that was what he was droning on about.

Posted by: CatCube at October 19, 2011 09:55 AM (20436)

2 More likely, he was confused.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 19, 2011 10:04 AM (+rSRq)

3 Definitely can't rule that out.

Posted by: CatCube at October 19, 2011 10:14 AM (20436)

4 It's strange though, because kenjutsu isn't pronounced kenjitsu to my knowledge.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at October 19, 2011 10:37 AM (AJZdn)

5 Don't give up on posts!  I like reading your anime and language topics.  You're doing fine, and I look forward to skimming the posts from each week.

Posted by: Tom Tjarks at October 19, 2011 06:19 PM (U97ou)

6 I'm not giving up. It's just that my posting rate has been gradually declining.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 19, 2011 06:25 PM (+rSRq)

7 Could just be that we've had a couple of seasons of lousy shows that don't provoke a lot of commentary.  (Frankly, I haven't picked up a single episode yet of the few shows I was going to try).

Posted by: Mauser at October 20, 2011 01:13 AM (cZPoz)


There have been good shows. Last summer was a bust, and this season is too (for me).

But last spring gave us Dog Days and Sengoku Otome and Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, all of which I watched and enjoyed. (And Dog Days is now one of my favorite shows.)

Winter 2010 had Infinite Stratos, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Fractale. Gosick. Dragon Crisis. Rio. Not all of those were top drawer, but I watched them all.

Fall 2010 had Samurai Girls. Summer 2010 had Asobi ni Iku Yo, Shukufuku no Campanella, and Strike Witches 2.

Spring 2010 gave us Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou.


Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 20, 2011 09:30 AM (+rSRq)


But last summer there weren't any shows I felt like following, and this season I'm stuck mocking Maken-ki.

Maji-koi had the potential to be good, at least based on the first episode, but now it isn't even worth mocking.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 20, 2011 09:48 AM (+rSRq)

10 Sena's... let's say Sena's good looks compel me. I am afraid a little that TomoSuku turns out like Ichizon, but from the outside it seems compelling.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at October 20, 2011 11:39 AM (9KseV)

11 CatCube, in my experience, the "authenticity" arguments in martial-arts training are just marketing of the "our burgers have special sauce" sort. What most instructors discover if they try to provide actual authentic training is that their class goes from forty hobbyists with good jobs to five earnest-but-poor students who are willing to stand in horse stance for two hours practicing one punch.

The solution that seems to work best is to make the regular classes friendly to hobbyists and attractive to women, and then offer special seminars on weekends for the hardcore. This keeps the bills paid, and recruits a higher class of hardcore student.

I remember a lot of do/jitsu/jutsu differentiation in the late Seventies and early Eighties, as well as instructors who'd just arrived with Mysterious Secrets From The Orient, handed down in their pure, uncorrupted form. We soaked up a lot of nonsense from the magazines of that era.


Posted by: J Greely at October 20, 2011 01:03 PM (fpXGN)


There was also a lot of "Kung fu is superior to Karate!" and similar drivel going on back then.

Much of this was the fault of Bruce Lee.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 20, 2011 01:39 PM (+rSRq)

13 My youngest brother is in the honest-but-poor category, having tried out several different martial arts in years past. These days, it helps that there's a professional fighting organization (MMA) and thus it's a lot more common for trained fighters to get into a fairly serious bout with someone from a different martial arts tradition. (Bro tapped out in about 20 seconds in his one MMA match, which would be approximately 19 seconds more than I personally would expect to last...)

Turns out that it's not that it's all crap, so much that there's a lot of different things you can do for the mental preparation, and most of them get you more or less in the right place. Same with physical conditioning - there are a lot of "right answers", though it's fair to say there aren't any easy ones, and that everything has a component of "work really hard and sweat a lot" in it.

I've enjoyed the two eps of Tomodachi I've seen so far (Yozora and Sena have the kind of antagonistic relationship I enjoyed watching between Kuroneko and the sister in Oreimo, but without the icky incest undertone and also easier on the eyes). Other than that, nothing I'm following regularly - watched most of Mawaru Penguindrum, which has an intriguing premise and some real humor, but has overstayed its not-making-sense welcome the same way Utena did.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at October 20, 2011 03:21 PM (GJQTS)

14 I can't add anything to the Japanese pronunciation or martial arts discussion (I originally typed "marital arts" and would that have been a different discussion!), but I second what Avatar says about Tomodachi

I'm stunned that Ben-to is also turning out to be good.  It reminds me of Gravion Zwei, in that I can see another "is it parody, or parody played straight?" argument.  Or of Arakawa Under the Bridge in that everybody's crazy,

Posted by: ubu at October 20, 2011 06:15 PM (GfCSm)

15 "Ha!  Your Leaping Tiger Kung-Fu is no match for my Frightened Piglet Style!"

- from an old Convention Button.

Posted by: Mauser at October 22, 2011 02:30 PM (cZPoz)

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