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|April 7th, 2005, 02:11 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Let's talk about the regional cultures in Japan!
Let's talk about the regional cultures! Japan is definitely one of the most regionally diversed country in the world. I'll talk things from the viewpoint as a Hokkaidoite. If you like, please add some comments!! Or correct me if I've written something wrong. What's your region is like? Thank you.
This list below is 全国標準語ランキング - The standard Kanto Japanese language spoken ranking by prefecture.
１位 東京 1. Tokyo
２位 埼玉 2. Saitama
３位 神奈川 3. Kanagawa
４位 群馬 4. Gunma
５位 長野 5. Nagano
６位 北海道 6. Hokkaido
７位 千葉 7. Chiba
In my opinion, Kanto does have dialects in the countrysides, even the suburban small cities and towns within Tokyo Metropolis. And Tokyo has "Edo" dialect in Shitamachi (like London's Eastend Cockney) as well. For Hokkaido, Sapporo & central Hokkaido Japanese is one of the most decent standard Japanese outside Tokyo and Kanagawa. Tokyo & Kanto Japanese and Hokkaido Japanese are generally something like London & South East England English - Australian/New Zealand English kind of relationship. Some Hokkaidoite accents and words are slightly different but Hokkaido is almost 100% standard Japanese (unless you go to very rural coastal villages). Like "Nageru (to throw)" can mean "Suteru (to dispose)" in Hokkaido. But this verb is the same as English, "throw it away". I know a British comedy program, where a foreigner learning English and told "throw it away" then he really threw things away in the restaurant against the window. THIS WILL ALSO HAPPEN IN TOKYO. I know someone said "Can you throw it away, please (Gomi "nagete" kureru?)" in Tokyo then his collegue really threw trashes against him. Of course he didn't mean that, he asked his collegue to throw things away IN THE GARBAGECAN/RUBBISHBIN.
What's more, if I say the difference between Kanto and Hokkaido, Hokkaido is more casual and Kanto is more formal. So when some people from Hokkaido speak, it can sometimes sound rude to some Kanto people ignoring the senior and junior (or age) hierarchy. It's a tradition of the frontier Hokkaido from Meiji era and Hokkaido's climate is where you can't survive with formality. For instance it's nice to eat Kyoto's elegant cuisines in Hokkaido but being elegant doesn't always mean we are able to survive. Women are also strong there but this is something to do with the fact that female has also been an important workforce in the cold climate. So there's a story that the aristocrats continued to eat Kyoto's elegant cuisines in Hokkaido died due to the lack of protein during the frontier era in the past.
Anyway, this is a minor problem. If we know it, we can avoid misunderstandings between Kanto and Hokkaido as the example above. Tokyoites and Sapporites can normally get on very well. Sapporo is often known as "Little Tokyo of the north" because of the cultural similarity and corporate links.
Other regions in Japan use completely different dialects. Even if you know Japanese, for example you have to start learning Kansai dialect in Osaka. People in Osaka believe "Osakan" is the standard language so if you don't speak Osakan dialect, you'll probably look like a stranger to them. Tokyo vs Osaka is the traditional battle. Perhaps Tokyoites - Osakan Japanese are like British English vs American English. Both are very proud of their own dialects. By the way, I'm sorry to some Kansai people, please don't get me wrong but if it's for fighting, Osaka, Fukuoka and Hiroshima dialects are very frightening. Kansai dialect is what Yakuza uses. I have an impression that fightings are going on in Minami in Osaka and Nakasu in Fukuoka. You can't tell the difference between police and Yakuza in Osaka when they speak or when police are chasing Yakuzas.
An example. The reaction differs stereotypically this much when you hit somebody's car -
In Tokyo, people either ignore or say something like "I appologize you sir and we'll immediately reimburse the losses we've made".
In Osaka: "Hey dude, come out of the car and I'll fuck you up".
Well in terms of the temperament, the Hokkaidoites are also easy to snap when it comes to fighting but it's perhaps due to alcoholism and melancholy. Suicide rate in Hokkaido is almost always the highest in Japan (perhaps because being close to Russia?). But while Hokkaido's sissy gay men who often carry around knife (especially youngsters) to fight for melancholy get snapped and physically very fit Osakan gangs are too different. I think Hokkaidoites can't beat them in the real fight. People in Hokkaido should fight for love rather, which is cooler.
In other regions, there is a number of regions I can understand nothing what they are talking about (I understand English better in that regard ). It's often said Hokkaido's rural dialects are similar to Tohoku for historical reasons but Tohoku is very different. Tohoku is North Kanto (or South Ezo in the sense that Hokkaido and Sakhalin are North Ezo) and it's almost like a foreign language. Sendai uses the Kanto standard dialect however. A lot people in Tohoku seem to use their own dialects to people they know well and speak the standard Kanto Japanese in the public. Perhaps some people in south Hokkaido around Hakodate may use the dialects similar to Tohoku's due to its vicinity and history.
It's missing something. It's Nagoyan. Nagoyan dialect is quite strong as well. I have an impression that Nagoyans are extravagant - formal and very expensive marriage for example. On the other hand in Hokkaido, the divorce rate has been amongst the highest in Japan. It's quite casual. Talking about women, I liked Kyushu's women. I also quite like Osaka ladies, too. They are very friendly and their dialect can also be quite sexy as well. It's like "Be my guide when I go to Hokkaido". It's quite sweet. But I didn't like Nagano's women. Shinshu women aren't my type. They are kind of arrogant. Relationship is family to family tie? No way!!! That is Kanto's countryside, gets 360 degree different from Tokyo or Yokohama!!
Other than those, of course there are Ainu and Uchinaguchi (Okinawan). But Ainu and Okinawa are very different. They are both Jomon but in my opinion Ainu is more Siberia and Okinawa is more Polynesia historically. In Hokkaido, more than 80% of the geographical names derive from Ainu (e.g. Sapporo = Satporopet, Ishikari = Iskar, Ebetsu = Yubeot, etc.) and it's been argued that reviving Ainu language and making it the second official language of Hokkaido. Ainu has Sakhalin and Kuril dialects but doesn't reach as far as to Kamchatska, where Gilyak, Evenki, Chukchi, etc. live. They are more like Eskimo or America Indian unlike Ainu (Jomon ancester of Japan). There are some stupid stereotypes but Ainu today for instance belong to some famous Japanese ballet companies, celebrities, being the executives of companies, etc., not very known but quite prominant just like the famous pop dancer Namie Amuro from Okinawa. It's said to be that there are more than 1 million Ainu when included 1/2, 1/4, etc. mixtures. Mostly live in Hokkaido, 1/10 live in Tokyo and some in other regions.
Last edited by CO2; April 7th, 2005 at 05:21 AM.
|April 7th, 2005, 12:50 PM||#2|
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Very interesting post CO2, I learnt a lot Thank you.
I guess if there is any kind of special feature in the language spoken in southern Tokyo (Setagaya, Ota)
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|April 21st, 2005, 11:12 PM||#3|
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Omoshirokatta da yo! I didnt know that thing about police and Yakuza in Osaka, jejejeje. It would be interesting to read an article about behaviour differences between people from all Japan.
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|April 22nd, 2005, 01:08 AM||#4|
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interesting how cities so relatively close to each other can differ so much in their opinions. when i was living in Central america, the people would badmouth the tival towns and make fun of their accents even though they were so close to each other. i guess history plays the biggest role here.
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