Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Out Of My Brain

Why should I care?
Why should I care?

- The Who, "5:15" (1973)

Having seemingly lost the readership of Janne Morén to my obsession with surface values and trivia, I ask the readership for a favor: allow me to offer an explanation of my zeroing in on the pronunciation of the country's name, in the form of a translation of a paragraph from an article published in Nihon Keizai Shimbun's electronic edition of 4 January 2012:

Over history, the prime ministers: "Nihon" or "Nippon"?

When Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko gave his inaugural press conference as prime minister, he said, "in order to make Nihon healthy and strong." However, in the Democratic Party of Japan's campaign commercial he said, with force, "We will encourage the revival of a healthy Nippon!" Former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro would use both Nippon and Nihon. For every time that he would shout Nippon with force in the Diet, he would repeatedly say Nihon when he would be giving a press conference about his visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Prime Minister Aso Taro, who decided that "either pronunciation is acceptable" would say Nippon in commercials but called his own book Totsute mo nai Nihon. It seems that for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, the overwhelming majority of utterances seem to have been Nippon. [My underline]

If, according to the Nikkei, Koizumi Jun'ichiro would choose which pronunciation of the country's name to use based upon whether he wanted to rouse an audience or calm it down, I am going to wonder/pay attention when NHK without explanation shifts 100% to the rousing version -- especially when the shift seems to happen when Abe Shinzo returns in glory from his own private Siberia.


Anonymous said...

I for one welcome your "preoccupation" with the pronunciation of Nihon/Nippon. NHK, in particular, seems to have genuflected to a certain SA, who, some may recall, browbeat NHK into retracting/altering a program on "comfort women" some years back (if my recollection is correct). Perhaps I am overreacting, but I feel a definite rightward bent to increasing use of "Nippon," however more or less even the score may be, according to your count.

Ἀντισθένης said...

You are right, of course, just as there are cognates in English: 'God bless America' et al. (seems imprudent to be telling God what to bless, if you purport to believe in a Christian one).

Goodbye Janne Moren.