Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Kotoba Asobi: Dajare – Learning the Japanese Style of Wordplay 2

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/19 Traditional Culture , , , , , ,

In our last post about Kotoba Asobi, we learned about Japanese palindromes or kaibun. In this post, we will learn another type of kotoba asobi which is the dajare or Japanese puns.

Pun/Dajare

Pun – no, not that Japanese word for bread. That is pan! Pun is a form of word play which uses unrelated words of the same pronunciation (homophones), words that are spelled the same but have different meanings (homograph), metonymy (calling a thing or concept not by its own name but rather by the name of something it is associated with), and metaphors. A recent trend on Facebook, vaguely called Facebook Names, has got people changing the lyrics of a song to names of people.

dajare_1

The expression honno kimochi can be translated as “mere or just feelings” and is usually heard when someone is giving a gift. The expression can also be spelled as hon no kimochi which has a different and silly meaning: a book’s emotion. (Image from AC-Illust)

While English puns tend to be an ordinary sentence replaced with the aforementioned type of words to make the situation absurd or change the meaning, in Japanese, puns, which are called dajare (駄洒落), tend to have the same syllables said twice, carrying a different meaning the second time yet still making a completely understandable sentence.

dajare_2

The different types (spelled here as tai-pu) of Tai (Japanese for sea bream): koishitai (in-love tai), okoritai (angry tai), nemutai (sleepy tai), and tabetai (hungry tai). In Japanese language, ~tai is added to a word to express “want”. For example, tabetai, from the verb taberu which means “to eat”, means “want to eat”. (Image from AC-Illust)

Same as the English puns, Japanese puns are funnier to the teller than the receiver. When delivered, Japanese puns are to be said with a straight face, and are often reacted to with an even straighter face, as no one finds them funny. In Japan, listeners react to not funny jokes, especially dajare, by describing it as samui (寒い, lit. meaning cold).

Examples

Let’s learn some of these dajare and their meanings:

  • ニューヨークで入浴 (nyūyōku de nyūyoku) – taking a bath in New York

New York when spelled in katakana is ニューヨーク (nyūyōku), 入浴 (nyūyōku) means to take a bath

  • アルミ缶の上にあるみかん (arumi kan no ue ni aru mikan) – a mikan (Mandarin orange) on top of an aluminum can

Aluminum is shortened as アルミ (arumi) in Japanese, 缶(kan) has the same sound of its English translation, can. ある (aru) means to exist, and みかん (mikan) is a mandarin orange.

  • イルカがいるか (iruka ga iru ka?) – Is there a dolphin?
  • 塩がないのはしょうがない(shio ga nai wa shō ga nai) – It can’t be helped if there is no salt.

塩 (shio) is salt in Japanese while shō ga nai is an expression that means “it can’t be helped”

  • スキーが好き(sukī ga suki) – I like skiing.

スキー(sukī) is from the English word ski while 好き (suki) means “to like”.

  • 傷んだ廊下にいたんだろうか (itanda rouka ni itan darou ka?) – You were in the damaged hallway, weren’t you?

This one’s kind of clever. It formed a coherent sentence from using the same phrase twice. 傷んだ (itanda) means damaged, 廊下 (rouka) means hallway, いたん (itan) is the past tense of iru which means “to exist” and だろうか (darou ka) is a combination of two expressions is a sentence ender which can be translated as “right?”.

Dajare are also associated with oyaji gags (親父ギャグ), oyaji meaning “old man”, as an “old man” would be considered by the younger generation most likely to attempt dajare.

Do you know any dajare? Share it with us in the comments section below!

Before I end this post, here is some skit which shows how Japanese words can be fun and at the same time difficult featured in our previous post about urban legends:

output_bEcjc2

References:

1. Playing With Words Japanese Style: Kotoba Asobi. Tofugu.

2. Dajare. Wikipedia.

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Osafune sword craft centre

Osafune in Okayama : The land of Japanese sword – Part 2 –

Bizen Osafune Japanese sword museum (1) About 30 minute walk from the Kagato station. It’s an institution with a sword museum, a shop, a forge and a sword craft centre. It cost me 500 yen (in November 2014) to enter the museum, but others were free. There were no swordsmiths nor craftsmen except one when […]

Read Article

go_19x19

Let’s Play “Go”! – Terms and Strategies

In our previous posts about Go, we learned that Go is a game which originated in China (Go History) and we also learned its basic rules (Go Rules). In this post, we will learn about strategies and other terms in Go. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see […]

Read Article

kana cards

Kotoba Asobi: Kaibun – Learning the Japanese Style of Wordplay 1

The Japanese language is a very beautiful and fun language. On the contrary though, it’s also a very difficult language for non-native speakers. A word in English can have many translations in Japanese depending on the context. Wrong pronunciation of a certain Japanese word can also mean another non-related word. A fun way to learn […]

Read Article

45962658_bc8b950e07_m

Shuubun no Hi or Autumnal Equinox Day

Today is Autumnal Equinox Day or 秋分の日 (Shuubun no Hi) in Japan. It is a public holiday which usually occurs on September 22 or 23 or the date of southward equinox in Japanese Standard Time (UTC+09:00). Automnal Equinox Scientifically speaking, the autumnal equinox is the day when the sun crosses the equator from the Northern […]

Read Article

Family crest of the Tokugawa

Mystery tour : Muramasa , a cursed blade – Part 2 –

Muramasa (2) Blessed swords for hostile forces against Tokugawa If “Muramasa” blades really harm the Tokugawa, they are very fortunate weapons for enemies. Nobushige Sanada (1567 – 1615), much more commonly known as Yukimura Sanada, who was against the Tokugawa, is said that he carried “Muramasa” sword(s) with him. There is also a legend that […]

Read Article

Shogi_osho

Shogi, The General’s Board Game – Shogi Pieces

Last time, we talked about the history and origin of the game shogi. In this post, we will learn the pieces use in shogi. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – […]

Read Article

4421620285_5227d3f439_m

Onsen

Japan is one of the countries located along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”.  Countries along the “Pacific Ring of Fire” have high seismic and volcanic activity.  This explains why earthquakes are common in the “Land of the Rising Sun”.  There are many  volcanoes in Japan.  In fact, approximately ten percent of the world’s active volcanoes […]

Read Article

kamishibai

Kamishibai – Storytelling Through Paper Theater

Kamishibai (紙芝居, literal meaning: “paper drama”) is a form of storytelling that originated in Japanese Buddhist temples in the 12th century, where monks used emakimono (picture scrolls) to convey stories with moral lessons to a mostly illiterate audience. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing […]

Read Article

10933010884_bef367e053_z

Kendo, The Way of The Sword – Kendo Techniques

Kendo techniques are divided into shikake-waza (to initiate a strike) and ōji-waza (a response to an attempted strike). Kendoka who wish to use such techniques during practice or competitions, often practice each technique with a motodachi. This is a process that requires patience. First practicing slowly and then as familiarity and confidence builds, the kendoka […]

Read Article

Firefly watching - upclose

Japanese Seasonal Events: Firefly Watching 2

Firefly watching in Shirochi, Takahashi In Okayama prefecture, there are at least seven places listed on the website that I visited. I decided to pick one with easy access and free parking area. The viewing spot is located in Ochiai-cho, Shirochi, Takahashi-shi. In other viewing spots, artificially-reared fireflies are released to join other wild fireflies. While in […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑