« translators of the silk road (dream journeys part 3) | Main | falling in love with life: the roses of alhambra »

March 10, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Many of you probably aleady know that 仁 (in japanese "jin") is one of the most commonly used Kanji in the names of the imperial family (for males). Like Emperor Hirohito...

Just like in Chinese, it is a homonym with "person"-- both pronounced "hito" (for kanji compounds like in names).

Also the above mentioned coupling of "jen" with "yi" 仁義 is associate with the yakuza so the word is not used much in modern times, though it means "formal greeting" in modern japanese.


Great post!

I'm dead tired, my non-Beijing-adjusted kid's behavior is wearing me down. I'll just try to say a bit here, and then I'll reserve whatever I have left in the tank for a post tomorrow on this over at my place.

On Yu:

I realize you think that his treatment is problematic, but I think Fingarette is onto something interesting here (well, that is, if I am reading him accurately). Some numbered thoughts:

1. I don't think Yu being opposite for Ren means that the person of Ren is "so integrated that no such worries or sadness or upheavals of heart/mind any longer arise for that person." I'm not sure Fingarette needs to say this. A ren person can be quite sad, and very torn up over this or that.

Instead, what I think Fingarette *wants* to say (I think he misses this move), is that Yu is a *mood*. This is much like, I think, the treatment of moods in existentialism (specifically in Heidegger). Moods are not feelings, nor are they interior to the person. They are "atmospheric" and say something about the "flavor" of a social situation. Think here of Heidegger again: where 'fear' is an emotion, 'anxiety' is a mood. Fear is of this or that object, whereas 'anxiety' highlights something about the way in which the agent is situated *in* the world (in an unsettled way, specifically). "Yu" is similar to anxiety, I think. Because Fingarette is focused on feelings, he misses the intersubjective moods of the existentialists. Ren, I think, also has mood-like qualities.

I'll hold off on this for my post. There's a lot here to say.

2. If "yu" is a mood, then you can have a certain set of "feelings" like unhappiness, say, or sorrow, and still not be "yu". I can display my grief over the death of a friend without it yielding a kind of anxiety-specific unsettledness. My grief can be very "familiar" with respect to my "at home-ness" within the world. I think the two are consistent.

I'm being a bit cryptic here, I'm sorry. Let me hold off for my post for a full explanation.


Please see my latest comment at A Ku Indeed! in which I (re-)consider one or two points I'm glad you've raised here.


I love it! Hurry and write it, copyright it, live it! I suggest starting with the meaning of the word in German that Heidegger uses. And then make the point connecting it to sound and the confucian bells, the sound of virtue.... I will-- no doubt-- go off on a total Dreyfus inspired Helen of Troy tangent too (the book I have been impatiently waiting for, Helen of Troy: Goddesss, Princess, Whore just arrived too so I am good to go).

Fingarette, was no where near saying this either. This is Pure Panza. Though I like to think your loving Peony may have indirectly inspired you to reach this surprisingly excellent move :)

As I mentioned in the 1st Fingarette post, at the same time I am reading Fingarette's book, I am also reading Hall and Ames' book-- as well their article, "Getting it Right: Saving Confucius from Confucius" (thank you to the friend who sent it as I am enjoying it very much!!)

It is interesting to me that people seem to be split between Fingarette versus Hall & Ames-- why is that again?? Their works are in many ways complimentary to each other.

Their approaches, of course, could not be more different. And both approaches are very interesting and helpful, I think. Hall and Ames' more lingusituc approach I find to be particularly helpful in my case. Despite huge gaps in time and distance, a surprising amount of the philosophy is very accessible to modern japanese sensibilities, I'd say. There are gaps-- and when that happens, Hall and Ames have really come to the rescue. For example on "yi"... there is just no real modern japanese equivalent as 義-- like in modern Chinese I see-- is used in a plethora of compounds to denote things like "meaning" ("isms") or duty, so because of that I just could not comprehend the meaning in Confucius. There is just very little cross-over with the modern language.

This paper, though, by Hall and Ames has been tremendously helpful in illuminating the connection that 義 has with 宜しい。At first, I would have wanted to translate 義 as "appropriateness"... well, I still like that, but then what is the difference between 義 and 宜?So, yes, that has been very interesting.

I wonder in modern Chinese how 宜 is used. Many of you know that 宜 in "yoroshiku" "yoroshii" is one of the most commonly used words in Japanese. I say it on a daily basis. Even to friends. But in my business, I never don't use this word-- and often in short emails will use it several times. It is un-translatable really. But asking for someone's favor.

To collaborate like that in scholarship-- it's rare isn't it?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)