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Re: Hunting In Japan
Active Kutakian
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From 松戸市、日本
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Okay,

Counter for rabbits is the same as for birds. For example, ichiwa, niwa, sanwa and so on and so forth. The kanji used is 羽 which is used as a counter for birds and also means "wing". The reason that the counter for birds is applied to rabbits is because the Buddha prohibited eating animals, but did not count birds as "animals". So by applying the counter for birds to rabbits, it became okay to eat rabbits.

Ben, you can send me a free copy of your book to my address in Matsudo...thanks!;) ;) ;)

Posted on: 2004/3/5 13:30
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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What did the Japanese Hunt with back in ancient times and what do they hunt with in modern times? What tools?

Posted on: 2004/3/6 6:28
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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Quote:

Kizaru wrote:
Counter for rabbits is the same as for birds. For example, ichiwa, niwa, sanwa and so on and so forth. The kanji used is 羽 which is used as a counter for birds and also means "wing". The reason that the counter for birds is applied to rabbits is because the Buddha prohibited eating animals, but did not count birds as "animals". So by applying the counter for birds to rabbits, it became okay to eat rabbits.


Interesting ...

On the list of counter I found two references:
羽 - wa - birds, hares
耳 - ji - rabbits (pairs)

According to the list the counter for "rabbits" as opposed to "hares" is the same character as mimi (ears) which would make sense to me - but do you then have to count every rabbit you have twice?

As for hunting there is a copy of the scroll for the Inatomi Ryu from 248 years ago which give diagrams for targets when shooting including deer, birds, boar etc as well as targets and humans (in armour) both standing and mounted. You can find a copy of this in Hatsumi-sensei's book "Knife and Pistol Fighting".

I was at the Kabuki-za when one of the actors fired a teppo (musket) from the hana michi right next to me as a part of the play Chushingura (47 ronin). He was hunting (poaching?) at night and taking a shot at a boar but hits a famous highwayman instead.

The fuse of those old guns gives off a quite a smell - I understood why in movies like the Seven Samurai how they could all be ducking for cover from just that distinctive smell without having seen the gun. I would imagine it would be very hard to sneek up on a wild animal with teppo.


Posted on: 2004/3/6 11:34
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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Hachigoro wrote:
but do you then have to count every rabbit you have twice?


I hope not. (I haven't heard of '耳' before. We don't use it in our daily life at all.)

BTW, do you know how to count shoes? It's 一足(Issoku), 二足(Nisoku),.....
As you know, '一足' means a pair of shoes, in other words, shoes for 2 feet. I don't know the reason.


Sorry to be off-topic. Should we start a new thread?

Posted on: 2004/3/6 12:25
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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Quote:
Kizaru wrote
Counter for rabbits is the same as for birds. For example, ichiwa, niwa, sanwa and so on and so forth.


Pin pon! (That's Japanese for "You're correct!")

While the answer to the first question is "ichiwa, niwa, etc. just as if they were birds" the Buddhism answer provided to the second question is only part of the answer.... There is an additional sociological perspective in addition to the religious perspective that was discussed.

Traditionally, people who worked with corpses--human or animal--were not the most respected in Japanese society. You could probably trace this to the religious perspective, or the idea that spirits do exist in every living creature. Where living creatures are killed (or the bodies destroyed) is where the spirits will "haunt." This explains why people like my wife get the willies when seeing old armor or the locations of famous deaths/suicides. Anyway....

Tanning/skinning as a profession has traditionally been handled by the "eta/burakumin" (the "fifth class" of society, also known as the "unspeakables" because they are rarely discussed). Members of the eta class are so looked down on that they are rarely accepted as brides/grooms of non-eta people. It is an unfortunate aspect of society that is widely understood but rarely discussed. Those who dealt with corpses were doing the "dirty work" that society needed, but in return for affiliating themselves with the work, they tainted themselves and all their decendents FOREVER! Anyway, I digress again....

By counting rabbits like birds, the hunter could "defile" himself by dressing/tanning the animal himself, yet still not become a social outcast himself. It's a strange idea that a change in a name change alters whether or not the action was damnable by society, but such is the case according to an account I read while studying at Waseda.

Combine this with the religious perspective already expressed and you have the complete picture of the story. Granted, many (younger) Japanese these days aren't even aware that rabbits are counted as if birds, let alone the complex (unspeakable) history of this linguistic quirk.

I first discovered it while looking at some old Japanese grammar books written before the War, which I had found in the Waseda Library, back when I cared about strange grammatical trivia. I wish I remembered the title, and I KNOW I could never find it again if I tried. I guess my caveat to this post is to take the description as an unverifiable tidbit. I am confident enough in the content, however, to actually post the description....

Quote:

George_Ohashi wrote:
I haven't heard of '耳' before. We don't use it in our daily life at all.


I have to agree with Joji. I've never heard '耳' before either. It sounds pretty "modern" if anything.

-ben

P.S. For those of you who enjoy historical grammatical tidbits, here is another one concerning the use of the form "-te aru" as in "tsukute aru" (It has been built). This phrase was first introduced in the 20th century because there was no equivalent phrase in Japanese to match the "has been" form of English. It's kinda hard to teach phrases in English that have no equivalent in Japanese, so the phrase came to being in the early 1900s, if memory serves. The source, again, escapes me, but is in the Waseda Library if you wish to go and sit for hours like I used to do when I had nothing else better to do. I would be curious if anyone has ever seen a usage of "-te aru" prior to 1900....

Posted on: 2004/3/6 15:09
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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since there is a good amount of drift already...

Quote:
I was at the Kabuki-za when one of the actors fired a teppo (musket) from the hana michi right next to me as a part of the play Chushingura (47 ronin).

Timing..

I just got Chunshingura today from netflix! (along with kunoichi ninpo cho and zatoichi with shintaro katsu :) )

BTW in case anyone has not had a chance, netflix rocks!

Ok back to hunting, where is that wasscally wabbit?

Posted on: 2004/3/6 15:18
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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Ben wrote :
While the answer to the first question is "ichiwa, niwa, etc. just as if they were birds" the Buddhism answer provided to the second question is only part of the answer....


Well, you have to tell us what kinds of birds they are...

Posted on: 2004/3/6 16:07
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Re: Hunting In Japan
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bencole wrote:
Quote:

George_Ohashi wrote:
I haven't heard of '耳' before. We don't use it in our daily life at all.


I have to agree with Joji. I've never heard '耳' before either. It sounds pretty "modern" if anything.


I would have thought it would rather be archaic or regional?
Rather than adding counters I thought the modern Japanese were simply letting more and more of them fall into disuse?

Quote:

bencole wrote:
The source, again, escapes me, but is in the Waseda Library if you wish to go and sit for hours like I used to do when I had nothing else better to do.


I didn’t spend much time involved in intellectual lubrications at the Waseda Library but I did have quite an interest in Japanese word origins from regularly watching Shimura-ken’s TV show. He had a regular segment where they were all in a classroom and guess at origins of words sent in to them and .............
.....................................................
...........sorry............ I’ll get my coat.

leaves the room

Posted on: 2004/3/8 14:50
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