Feb 24, 2010


This is an advertisement of a lottery that I saw in a train. This time, I try to explain it.

We pronounce it as "ni-o-ku-e-n, katte-ma-tsu-da-ke, u-mee-ha-na-shi"(におくえん、かってまつだけ、うめぇはなし). It is written in Haiku(俳句) style, 5-7-5 syllable poem.

Normally, we write it as "「二億円 勝手待つだけ うめぇ話」(In my translation, "(The first prize is) Two hundred million yen. It is only "buying it and waiting (for the result) for you to do. It is a very good chance for you because you can get it without any other efforts."

But, the writer uses 「松(まつ)」"pine", 「竹(たけ)」"bamboo", 「梅(うめ)」"Japanese apricot" instead of 「待つだけうめ」. Why?

It is a kind of "word play". We often use 「松竹梅」 as a sign of celebration. So, the writer use them to make the copy more interesting.


ジョン said...

I knew that there was some wordplay that I was missing, but it's more jampacked than I'd realized. I'm pretty fond of this sort of wordplay, personally, and thank you for taking the time to explain it. It's pretty clever.

Maki said...

It's nice of you that you explained the pun on Kanji character.
This advertisement reminds me that not just spring but also the Japanese apricot and its next happy story (梅え話) would come toward us. That would make us feel happy. ^_^

bikenglish said...


Thank you very much. I will continue to find a good example of "wordplay" in Japanese.


I have got a new word, "pun", because of your comment. Thank you.