Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #49, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Our final guest for Winter 2017 is 寿限無(ju.ge.mu) 寿限無(ju.ge.mu) 五劫のすりきれ(go.kou no surikire) 海砂利水魚(kai.ja.ri.sui.gyo) の(no) 水行末(sui.gyou.matsu) 雲来末(un.rai.matsu) 風来末(fuu.rai.matsu) 食う寝るところに住むところ (ku.u.ne.ru tokoro ni su.mu tokoro) やぶらこうじのぶらこうじ (yaburakoujinoburakouji) パイポパイポパイポのシューリンガンシューリンガンのグーリンダイグーリンダイのポンポコピーのポンポコナ (paipopaipo paipo no shuuringan shuuringan no guurindai guurindai no ponpokopii no ponpokona) の(no) 長久命の長助(chou.kyuu.mei no chou.suke), a fictional character from a traditional rakugo work featured in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, a historical drama Anime which had its Season 1 aired in Winter 2016, returning one year later in its currently airing Sequel. This post considers Season 1 and Season 2 up to Episode 11, so if you are as smart as my guest, Jugemu Jugemu Gokou no Surikire Kaijarisuigyo no Suigyoumatsu Unraimatsu Fuuraimatsu Kuuneru Tokoro ni Sumu Tokoro Yaburakouji no Burakouji Paipopaipo Paipo no Shuuringan Shuuringan no Guurindai Guurindai no Ponpokopii no Ponpokonaa no Choukyuumei no Chousuke, you should be aware of possible spoilers.
寿限無(ju.ge.mu) is a Japanese folktale and one of the most famous stories in Rakugo. Unlike Yumekin (S1E4 by Sukeroku), Shinigami (S2E9 by Yakumo) and other plot-oriented works, the story portrayed in Jugemu is very simple, its charming point being the repetition of an astounding long name and the problems derived from it. Konatsu presented a shortened version on S2E4, as the original detailed each name before moving on with the story. Despite being long, the ideas portrayed in each chunk are rather simple, as we will see below. お名前は？
(Because of the overwhelming number of kanji, I will excuse myself from adding images for each of them.)
寿 brings the idea of longevity, present in words like 寿命(ju.myou; life span) and the verb 寿く(kotobu.ku; to congratulate, to wish one well). It is also featured in 寿司(su.shi), although here simply as an 当て字(a.te.ji; when kanji are assigned to a word for phonetic purposes rather than underlying meaning).
限 represents limit or restriction, as in 限定版(gen.tei.ban; limited edition), while 無 denotes absence, as in 無料(mu.ryou; free, no charge). Putting these two together gets us 無限(mu.gen) or 限り無し(ki.ri.na.shi), both meaning limitless, boundlessness, infinity. Back in the Anime Dimension W (Winter 2016), Coils were referred as 無限の可能性(mu.gen no ka.nou.sei; limitless possibilities) and 無限のエネルギー(mu.gen no enerugii; limitless energy).
Thus, and as mentioned in the Rakugo piece itself, 寿限無(ju.ge.mu) represents eternal life.
五劫のすりきれ(go.kou no surikire)
Japanese Numbers can get pretty hectic once you go past the everyday life ones likes 十(juu; 10), 百(hyaku; 100), 千(sen; 1000) and 万(man; 10.000). At first you will make combinations like 十万(juu.man; 100.000), 百万(hyaku.man; 1.000.000) and 千万(sen.man; 10.000.000), but next, instead of saying 万万, we have 億(oku; 100.000.000) then you exhaust combinations, move to the next one, etc. Following this concept, 20 billion would be 二十億(ni.juu.oku; 2 x 10 x 100.000.000). This would be quite simple and we know people like to complicate things, so we also have cases like 五劫(go.kou), where an arbitrary ‘big number’ receives an special kanji outside of the regular rules. 劫(kou) means 4 billion, thus 五(go; five) times that, 20 billion.
すりきれ(surikire) comes from 擦り切れる(su.ri.ki.reru; to wear out). So in this chunk here we have something that would take 20 billion ‘units of time’ to wear out. This whole concept comes from a Japanese legend where a heavenly maiden would descend onto our world once every 3000 years, her dress rubbing against a given rock each time. 一劫年(ik.kou.nen; 4 billion years) was said to be the time it would take for the accumulation of those rubs to split up the rock. Yeah, seriously. Anyway, the idea here is that 一劫年(ik.kou.nen) is a lot of time, but 5x that is even more, so by naming the kid after that you are blessing him with a life that continues through countless years.
Widely known 海 (umi; sea).
Drawing its meaning from 砂(suna; sand), 砂利(ja.ri) mainly means gravel. Uh… think of those small crushed stones that you see near rail tracks. Yeah. That is gravel. Or small rocks if it makes it clearer. Off-topic, students who can’t keep up with the school are sometimes called 砂利子(ja.ri.nko; lit. pebble kids). I’ve seen a couple of reasonings for this, including the idea that a kid like that will grow up to be just another pebble in the road.
水魚(sui.gyo) is formed by 水(mizu; water) and 魚(sakan; fish). They appear together in yet another interesting expression, 水魚の交わり(sui.gyo no maji.wari; lit. mixed as water and fish), used to depict a close friendship.
All together, 海砂利水魚(kai.ja.ri.sui.gyo) makes a parallel of the number of small rocks (砂利) in the sea (海) to the number of fish (魚) in the water (水), both uncountable quantities, once again to bring the idea of something endless.
水行末(sui.gyou.matsu) 雲来末(un.rai.matsu) 風来末(fuu.rai.matsu)
Here we have three expressions that follow a similar pattern to describe from where something come or to where it goes. For the first word, as we have seen in the previous name, 水(mizu) is water and 行末(gyou.matsu) means fate or destination. In the second and third we have 雲(kumo; cloud) and 風(kaze; wind), followed by 来末(rai.matsu; something akin to ‘origin’ but not an actual word in itself). Thus these three could be seen as, respectively, where water eventually goes; from where clouds originally comes; from where wind originally comes. The idea is once again depicting something without borders, endless.
食う寝るところに住むところ (ku.u.ne.ru tokoro ni su.mu tokoro)
This may look daunting at first, but it settles down once you realize this is not a single word, but a phrase.
食う(ku.u) means eating, but it is different from your usual 食べる(ta.beru; to eat) because nowadays it emphasizes a rather primitive idea. Think of devouring or gorging. You could even go further deep by using a kanji variant, as in 喰う(ku.u) or a variant reading, like 食らう/喰らう, both read as ku.rau. And while 食べる(ta.beru) is mostly restricted to the act of eating, 食う(ku.u) can also denote teasing, to defeat or even to have sex with a woman. If you noticed, I said ‘nowadays’ up there, because according to this site, 食べる(ta.beru) is actually a fancy word derived from 賜る(tamawa.ru; to be given something, often used in religious context), while 食う(ku.u) meant, from the start, the action of eating. Here we could theorize about how the social aspects eventually made the term closer to religion to be the norm, while the other one was eventually associated with something guttural.
Woah, now that was a huge off-topic. Sorry. Besides 食う(ku.u) we have 寝る(ne.ru; to sleep) and 住む(su.mu; to reside, to inhabit). ところ is a general word for ‘place’, sometimes appearing in its kanji form, 所.
This whole expression means ‘a place to eat and sleep’, a concept often summarized in Japanese by the word 衣食住(i.shoku.juu), formed by 衣(koromo; clothing), 食(shoku; meal) and 住(juu; shelter).
やぶらこうじのぶらこうじ (yaburakouji no burakouji)
This one is trickier, what of all these hiragana with no kanji to give us a clue. The basic premise here lies in やぶらこうじ(yaburakouji), which has an extra ら(ra) there, possibly to indicate plural. Once you remove it, you get 藪柑子(yabu.kou.ji) or Ardisia japonica, a plant native to eastern Asia, used for ornamental purposes and in traditional Chinese medicine. For naming purposes, it comes as a symbol of robustness, as it is active throughout all the Seasons.
パイポ(paipo), シューリンガン(shuuringan), グーリンダイ(guurindai)
ポンポコピ(ponpokopii) and ポンポコナー(ponpokonaa)
These five names belong to a (fictional?) royal family in 唐土(moroko.shi; Ancient China). In the kingdom of Paipo, King Shuuringan was married to Queen Guurindai and their kids, Ponpokopii and Ponpokonaa had a prosperous life, thus by adding these names you also promote this idea to your kid. Or at least so it seems! These names sound very strange even from an Asian point of view, so it is argued that the intention here is even more satirical than the rest of the work.
長久命の長助(chou.kyuu.mei no chou.suke)
Here we have two names, 長久命(chou.kyuu.mei) and 長助(chou.suke).
長 brings the idea of something long, as in the adjective 長い(nagai; long or lengthy) and also used as a very common suffix in everyday life, as in 校長(kou.chou; principal of a school), 課長(ka.chou; manager) and 社長(sha.chou; president of a company). 久 also brings a similar idea, but now exclusively related to time, as in 久しぶり(hisa.shiburi; it’s been a while). Together they form 長久(chou.kyuu; perpetuity), which also is the name of a Japanese Era (1040-1044). Lastly we have 命(inochi; life), so 長久命(chou.kyuu.mei), like many others names above, is a wish for a long life.
In 長助(chou.suke) we see 長 again, this time followed by 助, a kanji present in words related to help or assist. The idea here is that the person will be blessed by assistance for a long time.
寿限無(ju.ge.mu) 寿限無(ju.ge.mu) 五劫のすりきれ(go.kou no surikire) 海砂利水魚(kai.ja.ri.sui.gyo) の(no) 水行末(sui.gyou.matsu) 雲来末(un.rai.matsu) 風来末(fuu.rai.matsu) 食う寝るところに住むところ (ku.u.ne.ru tokoro ni su.mu tokoro) やぶらこうじのぶらこうじ (yaburakoujinoburakouji) パイポパイポパイポのシューリンガンシューリンガンのグーリンダイグーリンダイのポンポコピーのポンポコナ (paipopaipo paipo no shuuringan shuuringan no guurindai guurindai no ponpokopii no ponpokona) の(no) 長久命の長助(chou.kyuu.mei no chou.suke), a kid apparently blessed with a ridiculously long life.
When I started writing the draft for today’s post, I was wondering about which Jugemu performance was better. Konatsu in S2E4 carried many intrinsic feelings and it was hard to not get emotional when seeing how those few minutes in front of that small crowd were deeply meaningful for her. I was personally apprehensive in fear that something would go wrong. Maybe the kids would start whining that they would prefer to have Yotarou or she would get nervous and compromise the presentation. As the charmed audience chant echoed through the hall, I was sure that Konatsu’s heart was racing as mine was. It was beautiful, liberating. Rakugo Shinjuu had a multitude of brilliant scenes, but make sure you give this one a proper love. It deserves. And also, she deserves.
And then we have Yakumo on S2E11. The cushion that let’s you bring someone in had 信乃助(shin.no.suke) on it, making Jugemu an appropriate pick, contrary to what he did back in S2E4 when performing ‘Akegarasu’, a bawdy story. I’d argue that it wasn’t just about Shin-chan though. Rather, it was about Yakumo himself. In no other point of his life he would be able to perform Jugemu with such happiness. Surely, it wasn’t as vibrant as Konatsu’s, but it was still a mood that wouldn’t be possible for the troubled soul that was Yakumo back on Earth. Furthermore, Jugemu is, albeit simple, a story about parents who wanted their kid to be the most blessed child of this world, a sentiment that plays well into Yakumo’s affection for Shin-chan. So yeah. He also deserves.
One last thing that I only noticed now. 信乃助(shin.no.suke) has 信(shin), which was the nickname of Sukeroku before becoming a trainee under Yakumo the 7th and 助(suke) is also there on 助六(suke.roku). I wonder if 信乃助(shin.no.suke) was Sukeroku true name as well.
Thanks all for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading, not only for today but over this whole Winter 2017. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu was my Anime of the Season and it will be hard to debunk it over the title of Anime of the Year as well. If for some reason you didn’t pick this one, I reinforce, once again, to give this a try. Reminder that I covered the names of both Sukeroku and Yakumo in Onamae #46 and Onamae #47, respectively. Next weekend I’ll be attending Anime Japan 2017, so instead of our usual schedule I’ll do a summary of my experience there. Onamae #50 will be back in April 2nd as I welcome Spring 2017. See you all then!