Nov 14, 2010

AERA's short message

"AERA"(アエラ) is a weekly magazine released by Asahi Shimbun(朝日新聞). I am looking forward to seeing a short message in its advertisement on a newspaper each week because it let me chuckle every time. It contains a kind of "word play".

This time, I try to explain it. We often use only one Kanji character to express a country's name or itself. For example, "米(べい)" means the United States of America. "仏(ふつ)" means France. "露(ろ)" means Russia and it also can be pronounced "つゆ". And "つゆ知らず in Japanese means that (a person has) "unconsciously" (done wrong or done something that he does not plan to do at first).

So, "日本の領土とは、露知らず?" has two means. The first is "it(or he) did something but it has been unconscious that it is Japanese territory". Another mean is "Russia has not known (or learned) that it is Japanese territory".

There has been a dispute on small islands near Hokkaido(北海道) between Japan and Russia. It is one of on-going issues that Japan has faced now. You can learn more about this problem here.


ジョン said...

Heh. I also really enjoy wordplay like this, especially in Japanese. I didn't know that expression, so thank you.

Japanese certainly has more than its share of territorial disputes. I wish that these could be resolved already, but I understand that they are sensitive, delicate issues too.

bikenglish said...


These kind of issue is very sensitive problem. But ordinary people including me live every day without considering about it because they live far from place where the conflicts have happened.

Japanese might be the most happiest people.