Monday, January 14, 2013

Kiritsubo, 1.3

On to the third sentence!  Kiritsubo's troubles are further described.

Her palace service morning and night also caused nothing but shock in others' hearts, and perhaps she bore the weight of [people's] spite, for she became very ill, and tended to be at home with a vaguely lonely appearance, and [the Emperor] looked on her more and more with great pity – he did not heed the criticism of others, and his actions were sure to become an example for the world.

First, the headnotes:


Kiritsubo taking the resentment of others is described metaphorically as bearing a weight, so the word ofu is used. What is meant here is that the weight of these grudges pile up and she becomes sickly.


Shinshaku (1758): She tends to go home.


The word sato here means her parents' house, as opposed to her residence in the palace.


hyo: The Intimate often goes home due to the spite of others, so the Emperor cannot meet her. He views her with great pity, and soon does not listen to any criticism of his behavior. This is indeed how peoples' feelings work. This story element grows as the tale moves on; the reader should pay close attention to it and savor it.


Shinshaku (1758): This is the basis for the comparison to Yang Guifei later.

Then in the 語釈 appendix we have four words:


miya refers to the palace, and tsukae means being dispatched there and working.  Now then, this word changed to refer to palace service beyond just the Emperor's quarters.


Genchu yoteki (1830): The poetry collection of Ono no Komachi says [poem 48]:"In my own thoughts that others do not know, when I do not meet him for a time, even my body grows warm." From the "Yugao" chapter: "His head hurt, and his body felt hot."  From the "Wakana ge" chapter: "[Lady Murasaki]'s body was warm, and she felt bad..." From the "Tenarai" chapter: "The fever that had been going on for a while has lessened, and she seems calmer..." Such examples all deal with the fact that a sick person's body has a fever, and is hot (atsuki), so the term atsushi is used.  Eventually the sickness itself was described as atsushiu.


Tama no ogushi (1796): This means she is weakened from illness. The Genchu shui's claim that the weight of illness is thick (atsui) does not fit with the way the term is used in the Tale.


Nevertheless modern sources seem to support Keichu's theory that the "thick" illness, rather than the heat, is the origin of the term.  (Incidentally, although many modern editions agree with Hagiwara's あつしく, Heian-period evidence suggests it was probably pronounced あづしく.)

 不快ナ ワヅラフ

fukai na, wadurafu (患う)



All the words that are mono plus something have the meaning of "dealing with things," and it simply means that somehow the state arises on its own.  Here too, this means that there's nothing specific, but simply towards one thing or another she is lonely.  The ge syllable is derived from 気, and means that the state is being viewed from someone else's point of view. It should be translated as sou ni.



Genchu shui (1698): In the Wamyō Ruijushō, it says "The I ching says 'That tree is hard and has multiple trunks.'  The teacher says: 多心 is read as nakagokachi."  Looking at this, anything-gachi has to do with the character 多 ("many").


The Wamyō Ruijushō is a 10th century dictionary/thesaurus.  It contains a lot of quotations from classical Chinese sources with Japanese equivalents given in Man'yo-gana.  Sometimes only kanji are given with no sources.  I need to look up the I Ching quote in a modern edition to get a better translation.  I'm also very doubtful of Keichu's theory here and I don't understand why Hagiwara thought it was worth quoting.


  1. I feel that Hagiwara and Kogakushas in general tend to be etymology junks, and they didn't have the tools to separate the different qualities of etymologies, unlike the Junggrammatiker. Japanese, without non-Ryukyuan kin languages, is hard to etymologize with certainly even for us modern people, anyway.

  2. I'm not sure whether you actually mean "etymology junkies" or "producers of junk etymology", but I like either reading, the newbie. I agree that their work is basically at the premodern level of "woman = woe-to-man" but in a project like Chris's it is still important because people did believe it at the time. It's like, even if we did demonstrate conclusively that that word in the Koine Greek New Testament just meant "young woman", we would still need to know that it was understood as "(literal) virgin" for most of the Church's history.

    I looked up 多心 in the 日本国語大辞典 and their second example was:

    書陵部本名義抄〔1081頃〕「多心 川云師説奈加古可遅〔周易〕(「古」「可」に濁声点あり)」

    So I guess we can safely read it, even written with a 可, as "nakagoGachi"? (I did not know the word "nakago" before reading this post, either. Thanks!) The context for the I Ching quote seems to be "[the trigram 坎], when applied to trees, means strength and 多心 [many/well-trunkedness, if Keichu is correct]." It looks suspiciously like Keichu wants "a lot of X/Xing" to be the central/etymological meaning and so he has pulled out a relatively obscure case where a word using 多 happened to be translated -gachi in Japanese. (Are there other -gachi words in the WMRJS, I wonder?) But as we know etymologically the word has nothing to do with multiplicity, it's related to 勝つ "win", and the meaning "much Xing" is secondary, deriving from the base meaning of "tendency towards/favoring X/Xing".

    Keichu's argument (if I am construing it correctly) doesn't even make sense on its own terms: if nakagogachi means "many-trunked" or "well-trunked" shouldn't satogachi just mean "many-homed" or "well-homed"? Who could complain about that?

    1. Neither Keichu nor Hagiwara put a dakuten there (I don't think the Wamyosho uses dakuten at all; you have to look to other sources like the myougisho you quoted to get those.) But as you say it makes sense to read it "gachi" since that's the whole point of the citation.