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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:30 am    Post subject: Genpei War Weapons/Arms Reply with quote
Lately I've been translating into English an early Edo period book that shows arms, armor, and personal items of various important individuals of the the Genpei War. Things haven't been too bad although there's a lot of confusion since some weapons and armor have individual 'names' whereas others are only given functional names that just describe the item in question. Some are both like '青山' (Seizan, Taira Tsunemasa's 'Green Mountain' biwa which now also serves as an alternate name for biwa). And of course, there's the delightful mess involving the owner's multiple names, titles, etc. But anyway, I'm finished, but still had a few things I wasn't completely happy with and that I'd appreciate some input on, mostly having to do with how they'd be rendered in romaji:

1) 前立付, helmet crest-should this be rendered in romaji as maedatetsuki? I'm pretty sure it is.

2) similarly, 大袖付 great shoulder guards-oosodetsuki? I thought in this case 付 could be rendered as dsuke.

While I'm pretty familiar with armor, helmet, and sword terminology, I had trouble with some of the bows...

3) this is the description for Minamoto no Yoshitsune's bow-伏弓. Can't really decide on a good romaji reading or what exactly 伏 might be saying about the bow.

4) this is the one that's got me really confused-Nasu no Yoichi's bow, 滋藤弓. 藤 (tou) is a pretty standard second component of bow names, but I'm lost as to what 滋 might signify. Historically Yoichi is supposed to have carried a 'Shigetou' bow (McCullough translates it in the Heike as a 'rattan-covered bow'). So it's 'Shigetou bow' but Shigetou is also shown as 重藤 or 繁藤 and referred to as a 'unity bow' for the rattan wrappings with a purple (wisteria, 藤) handgrip (often said to have started with Nobunaga, but they were around way before then). I see 繁 and 滋 can have similar meanings, so maybe one has derived from the other. The drawing of the bow does indeed have rattan wrappings and a purple handgrip.

So basically, while I'm sure it should be 'Shigetou Yumi', would that translate to 'Unity Bow' in English? If not, what?

Thanks for any help-wasn't sure if I should put this here or in the arms and armor forum, but hey, we all read all of them right? Just Kidding
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nagaeyari
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Genpei War Weapons/Arms Reply with quote
Quote:

3) this is the description for Minamoto no Yoshitsune's bow-伏弓. Can't really decide on a good romaji reading or what exactly 伏 might be saying about the bow.


This is my uneducated guess about something I really do not know anything about.

Yoshitsune's bow was small and considered "weak," correct? Enough so that it would be embarrassing for it to be found? This implies "hiding" or "concealing" the nature of the bow. 伏せる (伏弓) means to conceal or hide something (such as identity or a name in an anonymous interview, etc.). Perhaps it is referring to Yoshitsune's unwillingness to have his bow "become known"...?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Genpei War Weapons/Arms Reply with quote
nagaeyari wrote:
This is my uneducated guess about something I really do not know anything about.

Yoshitsune's bow was small and considered "weak," correct? Enough so that it would be embarrassing for it to be found? This implies "hiding" or "concealing" the nature of the bow. 伏せる (伏弓) means to conceal or hide something (such as identity or a name in an anonymous interview, etc.). Perhaps it is referring to Yoshitsune's unwillingness to have his bow "become known"...?


I was thinking along these lines, or that perhaps it was implying the bow was 'dropped' or 'lost' (and subsequently 'hidden' in the sea). The bow was allegedly torn from Yoshitsune's grip in the surf at Yashima as he pursued fleeing Taira troops, and he risked drowning to recover it because he said he feared bringing dishonor to the Genji for using such a weak bow. I see another book describes the bow as 源氏伏弓, so it seems to refer to this incident. At this juncture, I think 'Genji Hidden Bow' might be my best bet. Thanks for the input-hiding the nature of the bow seems to make more sense than it being hidden in the sea.
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Looks like 伏弓 is 'fuseyumi' and means covered bow. Seems this is likely a shortened version of the fusetakeyumi bow (伏竹弓 bamboo covered bow). It could still mean lowered or hidden, however.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Genpei War Weapons/Arms Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
) this is the one that's got me really confused-Nasu no Yoichi's bow, 滋藤弓. 藤 (tou) is a pretty standard second component of bow names, but I'm lost as to what 滋 might signify. Historically Yoichi is supposed to have carried a 'Shigetou' bow (McCullough translates it in the Heike as a 'rattan-covered bow'). So it's 'Shigetou bow' but Shigetou is also shown as 重藤 or 繁藤 and referred to as a 'unity bow' for the rattan wrappings with a purple (wisteria, 藤) handgrip (often said to have started with Nobunaga, but they were around way before then). I see 繁 and 滋 can have similar meanings, so maybe one has derived from the other. The drawing of the bow does indeed have rattan wrappings and a purple handgrip.

So basically, while I'm sure it should be 'Shigetou Yumi', would that translate to 'Unity Bow' in English? If not, what?
Where does "unity" come from?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Apparently there are 64 pieces of rattan used to wrap the bow and they represent the traditional provinces of Japan (why 64 instead of 68, I don't know-maybe they weren't counting the four small islands or perhaps since this name was adopted in the early Heian it was before some of the provinces were split off from existing ones), so since the bow has all 64 it represents 'unity'.

The bow in the book does have a lot of rattan wrappings (hard to say if it's 64 or not)-and the purple handgrip-so I'm thinking it is a 'unity bow'. Otherwise, I can't really think of a good way to translate 滋藤弓 into English rather than just give a literal translation of 'luxuriant (which could be referring to the number of wrappings) wisteria'. None of the Heike translations that use an English term instead of Shigetou do this, so I'm assuming it wasn't like Yoichi had actually named the bow.
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