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Japanese Help Needed

Discussion in 'Research' started by Ban, May 3, 2017.

  1. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Hello everyone. This should be a fairly quick question but I need some help with it. In my retro-futuristic world almost all countries have united into larger federations. One of these is a very rich and populous, high-tech union of England, the Benelux, Denmark, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and the Indonesian island of Java. My story is about the chaos that comes about after the death of a major crime boss. Now my story (atleast not this one) does not take place in this union, but a branch of the North-sea/Orient Union's criminal element will be present.

    The criminal organisations in the Union are a mixture of the Japanese Yakuza and the more individualist-minded gangs of the North-sea countries. What I am looking for is a Japanese name for this organisation. From my relatively limited knowledge of Japan I know that the Dutch were for a time the only westerners allowed to enter the isles. The study of western knowledge gained through the Dutch was called Rangaku. I thought that perhaps I could call the organisation Ranga-go, which I believe translated to the Western way. Another option I thought of with the generous help of Google Translate was "Nishi no Michi" which sounds cool and would translate to Way of the West.

    Suggestions, help, advice, etcetera would be very welcome.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Neat idea, but I don't think I can help in a useful way. Google translate is about all I have.
     
    Ban likes this.
  3. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Ran in rangaku means Dutch; gaku means study. I've no idea what Rangago would mean but I can assure you it's not Western Way.
     
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  4. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I read that Rangaku had become synonymous with western studies over time. But I need something else anyway if the word is split in Ran and Gaku, instead of Ranga and Ku as I initially thought.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  5. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I know next to nothing about Japanese, but a search today turned up this:

    ‘Wayo setchu’ (also written ‘wayousecchu’ or ‘wayo secchu’) literally translates as ‘the compromise between Japan and the West’ but actually refers to the blending of Japanese and Western styles and concepts. ‘Wayo’, written 和洋, means ‘Japan and the West’, and ‘setchu’ (折衷) means ‘compromise’. (Source.)​

    I've perused various searches of the term, and it seems to be applied to food, architecture, and art the most, although as that link suggests, it could be used with just about anything and describe a blended Japanese-Western style. So this might be something you could play around with.
     
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  6. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Good find FifthView. That's definitely something to play around with.
     
  7. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    That is indeed the case, but ran itself means, well orchid, but in terms of geography it means Dutch, like for example Rankoku means Holland and Ranjin means Dutch people. I do second using FifthView's suggestion of wayousecchu, perhaps with a dou, hou, or ryuu (dou and hou both mean way, ryuu means current) as a suffix.
     
    Ban likes this.
  8. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I love the scope of the idea.
    But... Does it just cover criminals in England or the whole of the UK?
    Are the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish not involved? Another rival power base?
    And don't forget that what ever the "official" name of a crime organisation, there will be a plethora of local colloquial names in some way derived or soften to suit their native native language. I don't feel it would be realistic that a criminal in London would call anything "Wayo setchu"... Wayo-Mayo, The Wavies, Colmans [Mayo sort of rhyming slang in Londoners are involved] or anything else if there were MLE [British Caribbean, British Asian etc] influences, that I have little to no knowledge of.
     
    Ban likes this.
  9. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Interesting, I wonder if the word orchid might have been derived from the word Dutch as well, or vice versa. From what I've read a good number of botanical exchange happened between the Dutch and the Japanese during Japan's isolation. Maybe a linguistic connection was made somehow.... Aaaand I strayed from the subject. Anyways, I very much like wayousecchu-dou or wayousecchu-hou as the official term for the organisation. It sounds great and is fairly easy to remember. Thank you KillerB's.

    Because I didn't want the UK to be too dominant in the North-sea area of the Union, I decided to separate the countries comprising the UK. Northern Ireland has reunited with Ireland in this world. Both Ireland and Scotland have joined a European federation together with France, Germany, Spain, Italy and some smaller nations scattered throughout the continent. Wales chose to stay with England but has become even less powerful over time.

    I should also note that this is a world of high urban-rural polarisation. With the invention of certain transportanional technologies, large cities have managed to grow ever-larger while smaller cities and towns significantly declined because they could not be connected to the grid. This means that a high-tech society like the Union consists primarily of a number of massive metropolises surrounded by extended areas of agricultural and unused land. In the context of England, London has become even more of an economic and political powerhouse while many other major cities in England were reduced to towns and small cities.

    I think your point on London and by extension other new metropolises like Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Antwerp, is even more important in my world than in the real world. If alkmost everyone in a country lived in a small number of urban centres then I would assume that people would hammer down on maintaining their urban/national identity even more as a counter to globalisation. Wayo-Mayo, the Wavies, Colmans all sound like great suggestions to me. I especially like the Wavies. On a similar note, I should also try to come up with some interesting colloquial names for the dutch, belgians and danish as well.
     
  10. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Well, according to my dictionary Holland is "oranda" and thus a Dutch person is "orandajin", Dutch language is "orandago". So "ran" as "Dutch" is probably a shortening of that. Though "oranda" may just be a Japanese pronunciation of "Holland" to begin with. The dictionary tells me "ran" means orchid, newspaper column or war, riot, rebellion depending on which kanji it's written with.
     
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  11. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Oh alright, Ran is a shortened version of Oranda. Then Oranda/ran probably comes from Orange. As in the House of Orange, our monarchical dynasty. The rans of orchid, newspaper column, war, riot and rebellions (that's a lot of Ran) must be coïncidental then.
     
  12. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    The ran of orchid isn't a coincidence. The Japanese use kanji to refer to foreign countries which don't seem to have any relationship with each other and the ran of orchid is used to refer to Holland. Another example of such is Beikoku, which means America but is written as "rice country". And I think we might be getting a little off-topic here.

    ETA: AMERIKA and ORANDA (i.e. America and Holland written in katakana) are probably more common these days than Beikoku and Rankoku but the latter are still in usage and are definitely useful for historical purposes.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
    Ban likes this.
  13. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Going off-topic is no problem if it's this interesting. Besides we've basically answered the main question already.

    So rankoku means "land of the orchids". Do you also happen to know if the word Oranda comes from Orange? Oranda could simply be an extension of Ran, but because to the importance of Orange to the Dutch and the similarity between Orange and Oranda I would assume that these are related. On the other hand it would be very coïncidental for rankoku and oranda to both have "ran" in them if those terms weren't related.

    Linguistics never fail to confuse.
     
  14. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    The similarity between ORANDA and Orange is a coincidence. オランダ (ORANDA) is simply a phonetic transliteration of Holland to Japanese, probably from the Portuguese Holanda. The Japanese render the /l/ as an /r/ since they don't have an /l/ and both sound close enough to them. The 'ran' of orchid might have been chosen because of the 'ran' in ORANDA, but since I can't figure out a pattern in the other country kanji, I'm inclined to believe it's also a coincidence. I could be wrong about this one though!
     
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  15. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    That was my thinking as well. (With all my expertise from watching a lot of anime and reading a lot of manga. ;) )

    TheKillerBs, do you study Japanese? Can we come to you with other questions in the future? I also will be heavily using Japan and Japanese culture in my odd alternate universe setting. But I am merely an amateur observer and lover of all things Japanese. One of these days I may actually get around to studying the language in depth. But today is not that day.
     
  16. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Thank you for the detailed responses. It's very strange how close oranda is to orange without there being a relation between the two, but that's just the beauty of linguistics I suppose. Languages are big messy balls of nonsense with lots of unrelated things poking out, but if you research it long enough it all makes sense, sort of.
     
  17. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Studying might be a grandiose term for the snail's pace at which I've been learning the language, lol. I do know a bit, but I'm still very much a beginner. I'd be happy to answer your questions, as long as they're within my ability, and mostly regarding the language. Also, if you ever decide to take the jump, keep in mind that you'll need lots of hard work and discipline to get any level of proficiency. Kanji are a right pain.
     
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