Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Greater East Asia Cooperation Manifesto

Today, on Boing Boing, a link to a WWII-era Japanese propaganda pamphlet was posted. Unfortunately for many, the pamphlet was obviously in Japanese. I decided to translate the pamphlet for those who want to know what was said. Additionally, for those who are interested in the Japanese language during this era, it is a good study, I think. There have been various changes in the method of rendering words. This is especially noticeable in a pamphlet written almost entirely phonetically. For example, the verb 追い払う in it's あ form was rendered as おひはらは. Thus, ひ has become い and one は (but not both!) have become わ. Additionally, at the bottom of the cover page, we can see there are some kanji that have been changed to more simplified forms. For example, 弁 was written 辯, which is painful to even look at ;)

I also postulate that, since this pamphlet was written nearly completely in Katakana (a relatively modern script used to render foreign words; sound effects; and the effect of underline, bold or italics in English) with some Thai thrown in, that the book reflects the Japanese idea that
1) foreigners cannot learn Japanese fully (hence the lack of Kanji), and
2) foreigners are to be discriminated against. This foreign script is reserved almost completely for foreign loan words, so I postulate that, by using Katakana in this pamphlet, it is expressing a belief that foreigners are to be differentiated from Japanese, the same way loan words are differentiated in the language.

To describe to those who do not speak Japanese what this would be like, imagine all French-based words in English bolded such as:
I just moved into a cul de sac I swear I've seen in a dream. Talk about deja vu!

But I'm a Japanese language major, not Japanese culture. Before making any judgements like that for yourself, I'd suggest seeking out someone more knowledgeable than me and asking.

Now, without further ado, here is the translation.

Cover:
Greater East Asia Cooperation Manifesto

Small picture:
[From left to right (kind of)]: Burma [now Myanmar], Rangoon [capital of Burma], Thailand, Bangkok, Indochina [now Vietnam], Hanoi

p.3-4
Various countries and cities listed:
China [known as Chuukwaminkoku at the time, which is taken from "Chuukaminkoku", the Republic of China], India, Burma, Ranguun, Thailand, Bangkok, Indochina, Saigon, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Palembang [capital of Sumatra], the Indian Sea [rendered as Indoyau instead of Indoyou (インド洋)], Java, Hong Kong, Manchuria, Nanking [Nanjing], Shanghai, Japan, Philippines, Manila, Borneo, Celebes Island, New Guinea, and Australia. There is also one city in China that I cannot make out, but appears to be Toukeku or something like that.

Also, it should be noted that in the Philippines, there are bags labeled "sugar" and "hemp". In Java, there is a bag labeled "sugar" as well.

Japanese text in the upper-right:
Please look at this. America, England, Holland and others, by military force, were suppressing and doing bad things like this to us of Greater East Asia.

p.10-11
The same countries and cities are depicted.

Text:
By our hand, Japan restored Greater East Asia and rose to our feet. [the verb カヘサウ is old, but I'm sure it is a more classical spelling of カエソウ which is the volitional form of カエス, to return or restore]
And, the strong Japanese expelled [this was very difficult to discern, let alone translate, because the verb is currently written オヒハライマシタ but was written オヒハラヒマシタ, with some of the 'h'+vowel losing the 'h' over time, but not all of them] the enemy from Greater East Asia.
---
p11
Japanese books are read from R to L, top to bottom, so, from UR,

Strong Japan
**
Manchuria, who will become prosperous.
**
China, who made an alliance with Japan.
**
Philippines, who became independent.
***
---
p12
Thailand, which became more expansive.
the neighboring countries of burma, indochina [I guess, it's Indochina the country, but the text is illegible due to image compression].
**
Burma, who became independent.
**
The people of Java and Malay, who became happy.
**
The Indian army, who drove out England

Text at the bottom:
Independence Mythology
Currently, in Manchuria, everyone has begun to combining their power and work.
Japan and China formed an alliance. The Philippines and Burma became independent. Thailand grew larger. The people of Java, Malay and others, too, will, by important duties, come together to work. India, too, has driven out England.
From now, we will make the countries of Greater East Asia friendly to one another.
---
Our Military Commander

Our military commander,
Strong Japan's military commander
Rides a horse, clip clop clip clop,
We salute,
From astride the horse,
He smiles,
The military commander also
granted us a salute.
Our military commander,
Gentle Japan's military commander.
---
22-23
Contribution to the Military for the World's Advancment ["shinun" is written phonetically, so I am left assuming it is 進運, which is composed of two characters, "advance" and "military", which makes sense in context of the following paragraph]
We of Greater East Asia will combine our power and bring about the destruction of America, England, and others [implying the other colonial powers]. However, we will become friends with the good countries of the world. Together we will study and spread our splended culture [trans. ブンカ was written ブンクヮ at this time, which romanizes to "bunkwa" instead of "bunka", which also explains why Lafcadio Hearn's tome of Japanese ghost stories is romanized as "Kwaidan" instead of "Kaidan", which is the modern rendering of the word] throughout the world.
Also, we will send to other countries necessary goods they now lack. Furthermore, we will improve the world more and more. Our hearts are one. Come on, with everyone let's walk upwards together.
---
p18-19
page-width pane with teacher and students:
We study Japanese.
on the chalkboard:
Father of Japan.
[The text is too small to confirm, but, what looks like:]
nighttime, shark, father (ヤカン サメ オトウサン)

On the entrance gate to the schoolgrounds:
Japanese Language School

Next page:
We will go to Japan to study.

Value of Culture [unclear because it is written phonetically, but this makes sense with the following paragraph]
No matter how we studied America, England, Holland and others [implies other colonial powers], and no matter how we worked, we were not able to achieve happiness. However, from now on, the more we work, the more we study, we will achieve happiness.
We will study hard.
We will work hard.
Then, increasingly, we shall become prosperous. Furthermore, the people of Greater East Asia shall study Japanese in order to conference with each other.
---
p14-15
Coexistance, Mutual Prosperity [written both in Kanji and Katakana]

At the bottom:
Coexistance, mutual prosperity
The people of Greater East Asia, bring a correct heart from long ago. The bring various splendid languages and splended religions [this is an educated guess, due to the fact that it is an old word, but I believe the ケウ became キョウ due to phonological changes, which would make what appears to be シュウケウ into シュウキョウ, which is "religion". This also fits with the context].
The languages and religions are different. However, with our correct hearts, let's become friendly like brothers. Let's be this way through fun and pain.
America, Holland, England, and others fear that Greater East Asia will prosper, and we will not forget that together they made us compete. We will become friendly, and if we help each other out, we will definitely attain happiness.

76 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

First - I enjoyed your translation of the propaganda booklet. Outside of some ultra-nationalistic elements, that's not the kind of thing you'd come across much in Japan (no accident, I think, that it was a souvenir from an Allied WAC)...
About your postulation on why katakana instead of the more usual hiragana/kanji combination - I can't completely disagree with your interpretation that it's for foreigners, and as such written more simply. Given the extreme Japan-centric worldview espoused a the time, it's not unilkely on the surface.
However, you may be reading a bit much into it - katakana isn't as recent as you might think. There are some reasonably old documents written in Japanese (unlike the Chinese that was the language of officialdom until darn near the modern era) that use the katakana script, and katakana was used as okurigana when Japanese began to be used in more official circles. Sure, the modern tendency is to use katakana to write foreign words, but that wasn't always the case. Wikipedia's got a pretty good article here.
It wasn't untl the postwar era that Japanese orthography was standardized. Prior to the postwar period, katakana and hiragana coexisted more or less happily, with katakana being primarily used in official documents and men's writing, and hiragana being used in literature, personal correspondence, women's writing etc. Heh - I don't have to impress on you the tremendous gender differences in Japanese! (I've always found the softer feminine speech to be much more appealing, but it eventually gets to be less than fun to be a 変な外人.) Being an official document, the choice of katakana may simply reflect that official nature.
It's my impression (and I'm no expert on the history of the written language - I'm a religious historian) that the more rigid, less fluid lines of katakana script appealed to the more conservative mind of officialdom (who worked completely in Chinese for centuries). Katakana, after all, is derived from a more formal Chinese script, while hiragana is derived from more calligraphic forms. It seems no accident, then, that literature (for a long time written by women - or by men with female pen names) was written in hiragana.
My 2 cents...

12:54 PM  
Blogger Timothy Takemoto said...

Yoshinori Kobayashi, the right wing manga artist writes similar things. His manga are immensly popular often making the bestseller top ten. I can't remember which manga it was ("Goumanizumu Zengen" or "Sensou Ron") but the picture of Asian being divided among a lot of fat whities is an image that both this propoganda leaflet and

I find myself sympathetic to an extent.

It is true that there were a lot of white colonies in Asia.

It is not entirely clear whether white colonies were on the increase or decrease. Aparently there were some pre-war devolution concessions being made by colonists in Asia. Singapore was in the process of becoming independent, or so it could be claimed. After the war some colonists attempted and sometimes succeeded in returning. Some left.

Again it is far from clear to me the extent to which Japanese imperialism was in opposition to European imperialism or, a copy of it, or worse. Did they, for instance, use Katakana because they felt the Asian hordes were beneath the use of kanji, or because they wanted to make it easier to read?

I think that the right wing line is that unless Japan invaded manchuria and Korea these places might be over run by whites, (I believe there was a race for Korea against the Russians but I am not sure), where already overun by whites, or represented resources that were otherwise controlled by whites. To them, it was either join the imperialists or walk the slippery slope towards colonisation.

This is a propoganda leaflet, but there are still quite a lot of people that think it is just an expression of the truth, even today, I think.

I agree with the sentiment of the last paragraph. Rather than spending money on learning English, I think that Japan would do better to encourage Asians to speak Japanese. This is already happening but the Japanese are rathe prevented from putting funds into the promotion of the Japanese language due to the poor image of this previous attempt at doing so.
Japanese remains well suited to being used as an international language however, I believe.
http://www.eigodaigaku.com/archives/en/000158.html

By the way, I think perhaps that "bunkuwa no kouyou" is "bunka no kyouyou" = Sharing Culture.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelson's has a list of pre-WW2 kana combinations and the modern standardized combinations as well as obsolete characters such as ゐ、ゑ。

For instance if I recall correctly something like きお would now be written as きょ.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is also one city in China that I cannot make out, but appears to be Toukeku or something like that."

I believe the city you're referring to is 重慶(チョウケイ)or Chongqing.

"Chongqing served as the secondary capital of the Kuomintang government for eight years from November 1937 to October 1945"
http://www.chinaonyourmind.com/chinatravel/chinacity/chongqing.html

"...the Zero made its debut in an air battle over Chongqing in 1940."
http://japanfocus.org/182.html

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Paul Battley said...

I also translated the text, probably at the same time. Here's my take.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few notes on the translation.
10-11
私たちの大東亜を、私たちの手にかえ
そうと、日本は立ち上がりました。
Trying to restore our Greater East Asia to our (own) hands, Japan rose up (in defiance).
12
ジャワやマライの人々も、大切な役目について働いています。インドもイギリスを追い払おうとしています。
People such as the Javanese and Malay are also playing an important role. Even India is trying to expel the British.
これから、大東亜の国々は、それぞれ立派な国になり、互いに仲良くするのです。
From now on, the countries of Greater East Asia, each becoming outstanding nations, will together maintain friendly relations.
22-23
The title does not mention the military. It's just "Contributions to World Progress".
私たちは、一生懸命勉強して、私たちの優れた文化を世界に広めます。
Working with all our might, we will extend our advanced culture to the world.
さあ、みんなで足音高く進みましょう。
So, let us proceed together with loud footsteps.(i.e., with confidence)
18-19
アメリカやイギリスやオランダは、私たちがどんなに勉強しても、働いても、幸せにしてくれませんでした。
No matter how much we studied and worked, countries like America, England and Holland didn't make us happy.
よく勉強しましょう。よく働きましょう
Let's study hard. Let's work hard.
そして、大東亜の文化をいよいよ盛んにしましょう。また、大東亜の人々が互いに話し合うことのできるように、日本語を学びましょう。
And then, let's make Greater East Asian culture flourish all the more. Also, so that the people of Greater East Asia may be able to talk with each other, let's learn Japanese.
14-15
昔から正しい心を持っています。
have always had true hearts(i.e. been righteous people).
それぞれ立派な言葉、立派な宗教を持っています。言葉は違い、宗教は違っても、私たちは正しい心で、兄弟のように仲良くしましょう。楽しみも苦しみも共にしましょう。
Each has splendid languages and teachings. Even though our languages and teachings differ, let us relate as brothers through our righteousness. Let us face good times and bad times together.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Mutantfrog said...

Actually, the use of katakana isn't as strange as you think. It was only during the 1940s that the use of hiragana as the dominant script for writing Japanese words was standardized, and the further you go back, the higher the proportion of texts written in a mixture of kanji and katakanata, instead of kanji and hiragana as we are used to.

Based on the kanji used in this booklet, I would say that it was probably written for first graders.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

役に立つかどうか分からぬけど、歴史的仮名遣いについての一覧で:
http://park3.wakwak.com/~be-yan/basyou/study/kanadukai.pdf

10:36 AM  
Blogger Kyle Goetz said...

Anonymousへ:ありがとう、役に立った!

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pamphlet is obviously for non-Japanese consumption. The use of katagana
should not be over-interpreted. Notice that all the scenes are of children
and that the text and artwork is of a juvenile nature. It is fairly clear
that the pamphlet is intended for use by children learning Japanese, hence
the limited use of kanji, just as in any text for foreigners studying the
language.

Don't over-analyze, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Chinese characters were well known throughout E. Asia, (used in China, Korea,
Indochina, Singapore, Manila) are not of Japanese invention, the notion
that non-Japanese are not smart enough to learn them is weak, given that
non-Japanese invented them.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pamphlet is obviously for non-Japanese consumption. The use of katagana
should not be over-interpreted. Notice that all the scenes are of children
and that the text and artwork is of a juvenile nature. It is fairly clear
that the pamphlet is intended for use by children learning Japanese, hence
the limited use of kanji, just as in any text for foreigners studying the
language.

Don't over-analyze, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Chinese characters were well known throughout E. Asia, (used in China, Korea,
Indochina, Singapore, Manila) are not of Japanese invention, the notion
that non-Japanese are not smart enough to learn them is weak, given that
non-Japanese invented them.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Sun Bin said...

yes it is 重慶(チョウケイ)or Chongqing, judging from the geographic location. aka chungking in old spelling -- i believe it was spelled as kanji (like keio university), japanese spell Guangzhou in Kanji to be "koshu" as well.

remember the movie chungking express and chungking mansion in HK?

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog, especially after my unsuccessful translation into English the Vietnamese equivalent of your smart translation "Coexistance, mutual prosperity" on page 14.

Perhaps it is also interesting to add that the church in the image on page 15 seems to be the Saigon Notre Dame cathedral, where I pass on the way to work everyday.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Paul D said...

To be fair, proper typeset English does differentiate foreign words and phrases, but with italics and not bold type. "The artist's trompe l'oeil work lacks a je-ne-sais-quoi when the gestalt is examined." Not a great sentence but you get the idea.

I agree with the sentiment that Japanese could play role as an international language. Japan's economic power and vibrant pop culture already attract many people to the language. For what it's worth, I just moved to Japan to study the language myself.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

運 in 進運 does not mean "military." You're thinking of 軍.

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Its written in katakana because its a booklet for children. Whos calling who racist dimwit.

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Anonymous Robert said...

Is this still an active blog? I have a small pocket type Japanese book that my Great Uncle gave me that my Grandfather brought back with him from the Phillipines when he served in WW2. It has a little pocket in it and about 40 pages, half with blue tabs and the other with red tabs. I was wondering if anyone can tell me anything about it?

10:36 AM  
Blogger Kyle Goetz said...

Robert, I don't really post any more, but you could scan some pages or take some photos and I could take a look at them (I don't have much time anymore, though, since I'm a busy grad student); however, I could definitely put them up here for people to take a look at and chime in with their ideas.

11:22 AM  

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