Kamikaze Course on Self Defense Japanese
What’s a Kamikaze course? I don’t know either, a new word for “crash course” maybe? It is just my discovery that when I use that word everyone reads the thread as if some divine wind is blowing their attention my way. And when I don’t need that attention, the magic word is “shelter half”.
Anyway, in another thread about the Kamikaze headband, I demonstrated how a modern $1 tourist souvenir got enshrined in this forum as a war-time item (not as sexy as a pilot’s headband, but still as a genuine factory worker’s headband.). That won’t lead to a very promising collecting future unless you want to specialize in tourist trinkets, so you need to learn a few basic things about the Japanese language.
Rap and pre-45 Japanese don’t mix
First of all, many collectors who don’t know Japanese tend to emit a sigh of relief, when they show their new purchase to some Japanese college kid and the kid can easily translate it. At least it has passed the acid test and is legitimate Japanese and not the North American language developed by militaria dealers called Janapese or fake gibberish. But you need to realize that, if a Japanese youth can read it smoothly, it is probably modern day Japanese and not pre-45 Japanese. A modern day youth that listens to rap should normally stare at the object, pondering how embarrassed he should be about not being able to read his own language.
Like reading backwards with a good sprinkling of Cyrillic.
Imagine reading everything backwards in English also with every 5th or 6th word written in Russian Cyrillic. That is approximately what you are asking the Japanese kid to do. If he reads it fluently he should forget rap and become a cryptographer instead.
Japanese is originally written vertically, starting from the top right of the page, each new line shifting to the left. Thus a Japanese book starts at what is the back cover for English or German books. There is no problem with that, as it’s always been that way, even now. But from the end of the 18th century, as the Dutch language became the interface language with the outside world, the Japanese also started to write sideways as well. Particularly with dictionaries, unless the Japanese was also written sideways, you always had to rotate the page 90 degrees to read the Dutch word. Also for scientific papers and some technical items people started to write left to right chiefly, because of the need to incorporate mathematical equations or foreign words. Because of this, some technical items like data plates for planes or machines were written left to right even during war time.
However, otherwise, even when writing sideways, the Japanese hung onto their habit of starting from the upper right corner and wrote right to left, when the space allotted could not accommodate vertical writing. This was the case for the Yosegaki flags, where the unwritten rule was not to desecrate the sun by writing in the meatball. So the space above and below the orb needed writing sideways from right to left ( there were yosegaki examples with writing in the meatball, but those were iconoclastic gestures, an exception that the fakers know US collectors like, if you know what I mean).
The Kamikaze headband might be read initially as “Kazekami” by today’s youngsters, as is the current way of reading also represented by modern versions of the head band shown below, but he will figure it out quickly, because even they know about the pilots.