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pomme homme

Traditional Chinese characters in archaic Japanese

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pomme homme

I'm posting this in the hope that someone can help me.

In the course of research for an article I'm writing, I have been referred to a file of documents which may be relevant to that. However these documents were created in the 1930s in Japan and a Japanese speaking friend tells me that she cannot read or translate the documents into English because the majority of them are written in 'archaic Japanese' which, she says, uses traditional Chinese characters. A Chinese, mandarin speaking friend has told be that whilst on the Chinese mainland simplied modern characters are used nowadays, in Hong Kong and Taiwan the traditional Chinese characters are still taught and used and so someone living or having been educated in either place should be able to read the documents, at least to the extent of providing a general translation giving the gist of their content. I wonder if anyone can confirm this to be the case and, if it is, suggest where I might turn for assistance in obtaining a general translation, giving me the gist of the content of the documents, so that I can determine if they are relevant and, if so, which are and to what extent (so that I can focus upon obtaining a translation into English of these alone).

May I offer my thanks in anticipation of someone on this forum being able to help me with this somewhat strange request!

pomme homme

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skylee

Most well-educated Mainlanders can read traditional Chinese characters, which are currently in use in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. If your Chinese friend is well-educated, s/he should be able to read them too. But it is Chinese we are talking about. And you say your documents are in "archaic Japanese' (but how "archaic" can they be if they were created in the 1930s?).

You might wish to post some clear photos of those documents here. Some people on this website might be able to read them.

That said, these are "Chinese" forums. :D

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Hofmann

Educated Mainlanders should be able to read Traditional Chinese.

 

1930's Japanese is modern Japanese. Even if they use Traditional characters, educated Japanese should be able to read it.

 

Edit: Maybe it will use historical kana orthography also, but I don't think anybody with a high school education will have trouble reading it.

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Buramu

I reckon it can't be too hard. Every educated Japanese person should be familiar with the older orthography. I believe the only things which may give some trouble would be more obscure vocabulary and more archaic grammatical structures, but still..

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pomme homme

Thank you, skylee, Hofmann and Buramu for your responses. If I can download copies of the documents in question, and post them here, it may make matters clearer.But for someone who neither comprehends, reads, speaks or writes any form of Chinese or Japanese, I am very reliant on anyone whose linguistic skills are better than my own!

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pomme homme

Attached are two sample pages from the file of documents. They derive from a consular source and concern a fatal aeroplane crash.

 

post-56716-0-94039900-1400241552_thumb.jpg

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Buramu

I had a go at it, but I have a difficult time deciphering some handwritten characters, so I can't really translate much. I'm sure this is probably not of much help overall, but it was a fun little mental challenge xD

So it's a telegraph sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the content of the telegraph starting on the left-hand page...

 

From the left-hand page:

主管:歐亞(局?)長      主任:(*?)   昭和十一年八月八日起草

宛 :在瑞典 白鳥 公使    発 :有田大臣

件:山本飛行士墜死ニ關スル件  記錄件名:各國航空事故(*?)信(*?)件

 

第八號:
六日「コペンハーゲン」発同盟 (*?)外ニ(於?)テ(*?)人山本飛行士墜死セル旨ノ報道アル處其ノ氏名取調ベ回電アリタン(依賴報)Billy N. Yamamotoナルニ(*?)テハ

 

Supervision: Office Chief Europe-Asia    Senior Staff: (illegible)    Drafted 11th year of Showa, 8th of August (the year 1936)

Addressee: Ambassador Shiratori to Sweden    Sent: Minister Arita (Minister of Foreign Affairs as is stated on the right-hand page)

 

Case: The Case Concerning the Falling to His Death of Pilot Yamamoto
Recording File Name: Aviation Accidents of Each Nation (unintelligible)

 

Item Eight: (Here it gets kind of hard to read as I seem to be missing quite a few characters)

 

It says something about on the 6th "Copenhagen"...pilot Yamamoto having plunged to his death...to examine/investigate his full name stated in the report...having done that to then report back (to Arita?)

 

On the right-hand page the full name of pilot Yamamoto is written down as 山本誠行 (Yamamoto Masayuki), with exclamation dots on his first name, Masayuki.

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skylee

I am not sure what you are looking for. But that is a document / draft telegram from  to Shiratori (白鳥), the japanese ambassador in Stockholm to from the minister of foreign affairs Arita (有田) about a plane crash killing a pilot called Yamamoto (山本). The date is 8 August 1936 (11th year of the Showa reign).

My Japanese is very rusty so I might read something wrong. But I think such documents can be read by most educated Japanese.

Edit - I later read Buramu's post and realised that I was wrong about the reading of 白鳥. I have amended my post above.

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pomme homme

Thank you, Buramu and skylee for your endeavours. And I'm pleased that the mental challenge was fun for you, Buramu!

 

I wondering whether the difficulty experienced by my Japanese speaking friend was more in deciphering the handwriting rather than the nature of the characters. Maybe something like trying to reader a doctor's notes!

 

I don't want to clog up this forum by posting more documents from the file. Thus if there is anyone who can and wants to help further, please send me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll then e-mail copies of the documents to you.

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skylee

You would need someone who understands Japanese, regardless of nationality.  Chinese people not knowing Japanese can only read the Kanji (Chinese characters) and not the kana (Japanese alphabets).

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pomme homme

Thank you, skylee. Your suggestion makes much sense. I'm beginning to think that my Japanese speaking French friend might have experienced more difficulty with the documents than might have been the case with a well educated, native Japanese speaker. However my problem is that there is not an abundance of well educated, native Japanese speakers in my part of rural France! But I'll try to find a way around this problem.

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Hofmann

Might not help much, but I think hat *外 is 郊外.

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陳德聰

This scan seems to be incomplete... There is more to that last sentence that isn't shown here. Here's a full transcription of the handwritten portion Buramu already provided, but using hiragana rather than katakana. This may be easier for you to get your friend to read:

 

六日「コペンハーゲン」発同盟 郊外に於て邦人山本飛行士墜死せる報道ある處其の氏名取調ベ回電ありた*ん(依賴報)Billy N. Yamamotoなるニに於ては

I'll PM you to see if you need any more help.

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pomme homme

Thank you. I suspect that the continuation of the telegram is to be found on the next page of the file. But as I'm unable to read or comprehend the characters, I don't know what, by way of attached documents, I'm posting! Anyhow, I shall look forward to receiving your PM - because I both need and will be most grateful for any help that may be offered to enable me to know what is in the documents that make up the file.

 

P.s. I apologise that I've not addressed you by name, but I'm back to the 'lack of comprehension of Chinese characters' problem, as well as a lack of them on my QWERTY keyboard!

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