Japanese Language & Literature

>Edward Seidensticker, a famous Japanese translator, whose "landmark translations of novels by Kawabata, in particular Snow Country (1956) and Thousand Cranes (1958), led, in part, to Kawabata being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968" doesn't seem to think learning Japanese is really worth the effort:

>"Were America to come to me and ask if it should learn Japanese, I would be tempted to reply: "America, if you have all that spare time, go learn French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian instead. You could learn them all in about the time it would take you to learn Japanese, and you would find richer rewards waiting at the end of the struggle than you would find after your conquest of Japanese".

where is this quote from and do you agree with it? i couldn't find it anywhere - is it from an interview?

  1. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >do you agree with it?
    Absolutely. I studied japanese for one and a half year, actually I live in Japan, it was a waste of time. It's an awful language full of retarded and unspoken social rules. Their literature doesn't attract me and I don't get along with the japanese people (putting aside my beloved wife).

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >I studied japanese for one and a half year
      Lol. This means absolutely nothing.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Your opinion means absolutely nothing.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          You don't understand Japanese, homosexual. I do. Get the fuck out of here before you embarrass yourself any more.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >I went to a different culture and got mad that it was different, refusing to learn
      Dumbfuck weeb. It's a trope at this point.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >putting aside my beloved wife
      Based and romantic-pilled

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      you're a weeaboo sexpat who's mad the women didn't wanna fuck you instantly bc you're an "exotic" white guy. maybe you should just stick to tokyo at epcot or something bud

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >you're a weeaboo sexpat who's mad the women didn't wanna fuck you instantly bc you're an "exotic" white guy.
        That's a legitimate cause for anger, anon.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I mean, yeah. It's painful to see a smart guy who learned Japanese for 5 years sounds like a retard when he speaks Japanese.
      You could learn French AND German instead without that much of struggle.
      People who learned it for only a few years often end up like him and start blaming Japan and Japanese instead of Improving their Japanese skills.
      That's basically what he means. You guys seem to have missed the point.

  2. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    [log in to view media]

    He wrote the preface to Jared Taylor's first book before his cancellation.

  3. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    [log in to view media]

    It's gonna take more than that to cure my yellow fever

  4. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Personally I've always felt that one should learn a language if it's likely they'll live in or at least visit regions where it's natively spoken. Otherwise even if you do regularly read texts written in that language, are you really giving yourself enough immersion to retain it? For most people it's a significant commitment, it might as well pay off. Unless of course you're especially interested in comparative linguistics or something.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      there's always other methods for immersion
      TV, film, news etc -- question is whether you'd enjoy/be interested in it

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Thanks to the internet you can also freely communicate with people from that country.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Aristocrats could write essays in Greek and Latin by the time they were 9

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        This tbh but more like 15 instead of 9. See Enoch Powell, for example. Sorry but 9 is retarded.

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          In the middle ages it was more like 9 (for Latin).

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Yes, but that's because Latin was rather common, as it was used in documents and in litrugy, also majority of books at the time were in either latin or greek. It technically wasn't a dead language back then

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        This tbh but more like 15 instead of 9. See Enoch Powell, for example. Sorry but 9 is retarded.

        Not having to do any actual work nor being destroyed by consoomerist propaganda does that to you.

  5. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    ITT: weebs

  6. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I only want to learn because manga. Japan can't produce serious literature.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      can‘t you just read the translated classics like the tezuka stuff

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Umineko is serious literature.
      Don’t know anything about Murakami or more classic stuff, maybe he’s great maybe he’s not, idk.

  7. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Maybe it was true in 1968.
    Modern Japanese pop culture (anime, manga, LNs, VNs) is one of the most flourishing artistic movements in the world right now and it has produced many works of great value. So there’s a lot of fantastic art in Japanese now. But of course most of the important works have been translated to English, so there’s no need to learn the language yourself.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      there are some all right pop culture works and i have spent thousands of hours on them but there aren't many works which could even remotely be considered as good
      they absolutely pale in comparision to classical literature like a novel written by mishima for example
      currently i am reading muramasa which is regarded by many as the best eroge and while it is solid it also suffers from typical flaws of otaku media
      the only decent untranslated otaku works are probably by mareni, setoguchi, romeo and some niche GAGAGA writers or something

      Umineko is serious literature.
      Don’t know anything about Murakami or more classic stuff, maybe he’s great maybe he’s not, idk.

      i am not sure if this a bait post but i hope that you grew out of liking umineko once you get older
      i liked it too – when i was 16 – but no adult should consider this horribly paced escapist mess as something worth reading

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >currently i am reading muramasa which is regarded by many as the best eroge and while it is solid it also suffers from typical flaws of otaku media

        is it genuinely good or does is it just one of those /jp/ meme games where its the "untranslated kamige that changed my life" until it get translated and it becomes a 7/10 trashy VN anyways

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >until it get translated and it becomes a 7/10 trashy VN anyways
          It becoming trash may or may not be connected with the quality of the translation.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        also thoughts on subahibi

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      bro just because you watch anime doesn't mean japanese media is good.

  8. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Why do people get so buttblasted about weebs learning nip?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Projection mostly

  9. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    that interview must be from before anime and manga became a billion dollar industry, making more money than Marvel comics and DC combined.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      who cares about anime and manga?
      anime are a waste of time for infantile manchildten with the exception of a few competent directors

      when it comes to manga i would make more exceptions but most remotely good works have already been translated

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Manga translations are usually pretty ass, especially manga that's better written than average to begin with. Official translations are usually low effort and if it's a fan translation, the person who translated probably doesn't even know Japanese.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >who cares about anime and manga?
        people who use entertainment for entertainment and not for social signalling

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >people who use entertainment for entertainment and not for social signalling
          Not being a moebuta spending his entire existence being addicted to escapist garbage is not social signalling. Be honest and tell me that most works of otaku media aren't absolute dog shit and even the good works often pale in comparision to good literature or even life-action movies. Obviously one just want to have some fun from time to time and I am also very fond of cool action stuff like Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon or whatever but I think that anime is quite the waste of time – a majority at least.

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Not being a moebuta spending his entire existence being addicted to escapist garbage is not social signalling.
            I never said anything about being addicted to anything. if you spend more than 90 minutes on a weekday watching anime or whatever, then you should stop breathing. except the same applies to reading literature.
            >Be honest and tell me that most works of otaku media aren't absolute dog shit and even the good works often pale in comparision to good literature or even life-action movies
            most of media is dog shit. even good literature is in most cases 10% very good and 90% decent-ish but boring and unentertaining. also, certain films are going to always top otaku media, but they're hard to find without having to sit through a lot of average shit. for lighter entertainment otaku media is overall better, and as I grow older I tend prefer that, and then use non-fiction writing, rather than cinema / literature, when I want some "deeper" entertainment / self-development.
            >but I think that anime is quite the waste of time – a majority at least
            I don't even know what that's supposed to mean. the only way I can make sense of this is if we're assuming that one has to either spend 8 hours every day watching anime or else not watch it at all. in that case obviously anime is a waste of time. but that's not what I was talking about.
            I'm not going to be working or meeting people 100% of my waking time, and when I don't, I'd rather use that time chilling to some cute anime girls than slogging through some 2deep4me literary masterpiece waiting for it to get good. and if I have the appetite and the energy for something deeper, then, once again, I'd rather learn some Roman history or read insightful commentary on current events than watch about any film ever, not to speak of tv shows with 10-hour seasons.

            • 2 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >if you spend more than 90 minutes on a weekday watching anime or whatever, then you should stop breathing. except the same applies to reading literature.
              Yes, how dare anyone spend more than the allotted amount of time per day enjoying themselves with anything at all

              • 2 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >with anything at all
                I was talking only about passive consumption of anime, manga, tv shows, literature, etc. nothing more.

  10. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Lol how do proud Japanese feel about the only reason to learn their language being anime. I guess this is like their version of white culture becoming blacked huh.

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      probably the same how americans think about the world learning english to watch hollywood movies which is to say they don't think about it all

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        that's not why people learn english at all. no one even watches hollywood movies today. and unlike hollywood movies must japanese look down on anime and the like except a limited number of popular movies.

  11. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I'll learn Japanese when they make romaji an official transcription. I'm not learning those chink drawing shits.

  12. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    [log in to view media]

    >Where is this quote from
    Page 322 of his book This Country, Japan

    https://archive.org/details/thiscountryjapan00seid/

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Thank you very much. Do you know if he wrote mentioned anything else about that topic? I can't access the book.

      >currently i am reading muramasa which is regarded by many as the best eroge and while it is solid it also suffers from typical flaws of otaku media

      is it genuinely good or does is it just one of those /jp/ meme games where its the "untranslated kamige that changed my life" until it get translated and it becomes a 7/10 trashy VN anyways

      >is it genuinely good or does is it just one of those /jp/ meme games where its the "untranslated kamige that changed my life" until it get translated and it becomes a 7/10 trashy VN anyways
      I have only read three chapters so far and until now it is nothing mindblowing but still much better than almost every other work of otaku media. The pacing is solid and it never gets really boring which is a genuine rarity when it comes to eroge, the characters also seem rather well-written so far although i am not too fond of the romance. I also appreciate that the foreshadowing in the game is tasteful and the author doesn't think that you are lobotomized. I also like how the writer plays around with perspectives sometimes. Just give it a try if you are interested – the short prologue was more than enough to make me continue playing and the prose is above-average too.

      also thoughts on subahibi

      >also thoughts on subahibi
      Subahibi was somewhat "life-changing" to me in a sense because I played it when I was much younger too and never really had any experience with philosophy and so on and also made me meet many new people. It was also one of the main reasons why I started learning Japanese a few years ago although I have decided to stop continuing that because I am not as interested in otaku media as a I used to be. I am sure that there are many great untranslated works and most of the competent writers like mareni, setoguchi, romeo are not (properly) translated but i would prefer to invest my time in something else. I am also more than pleased of the professional translations of the Japanese classics – especially because I don't need to rely only on the English translators. But yeah, I am not sure if I would call SubaHibi "good" in retrospective. It is a very rough work with many problems but I still think that it's rather charming and would still recommend it to interested people because of some rather touching moments like Kimika's ending for example. Definitely one of the better works of otaku media but it still feels a bit weird to see adults praise it as this life-changing literary masterpiece when it's just this unpolished and straightforward story which admittedly doesn't lack "heart".

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        He says he would be tempted to say the quote if he were asked, and the whole quote includes a remark about not wanting to pit Professor Suzuki out of a job (prof suzuki being someone he mentioned earlier teaching foreigners about japanese culture) in a joking way.

        It’s not nearly as anti-learning japanese as that section you’ve quoted makes it out to be.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Forget what I said. Fuck this cursed language. I am unable to give it up.

  13. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I'll learn Japanese when they make romaji an official transcription.

  14. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    [log in to view media]

    Someone gave me Sorai's philosophy recently, hoping I will understand a bit more about Japanese way of thinking as this apparently was a big influence in the Meiji era as well as in modern times. I've got a backlog though, so not sure if I have time to read it until next year.

  15. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >guy who sells japanese translations for a living doesn't want you to learn japanese
    shocking

  16. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    is there a chart?

    • 2 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      There are some just google
      the usually mentioned writers/works are:

      heike monogatari
      genji monogatari
      pillow book
      matsuo basho
      tanizaki
      soseki
      akutagawa
      kenzaburo oe
      dazai
      ogai mori
      sayaka murata
      mishima
      kawakami
      kawabata

      check out the tls by rubin, nathan, keene, seidensticker and tyler

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Thanks.

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Strange list

        • 2 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          wanted to include some modern ones likes murata and kawakami
          those were the ones which sticked out to you, right?

          • 2 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Yes

      • 2 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        let me also add kobo abe and tsurezuregusa

  17. 2 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Yes. For literature there are better choices. It’s worth it for non-literature media.

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