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Episode 20 - feedback and discussion (1 reply and 1 comment)

2 years ago
Shoshinsha 2 years ago

Thank you all for another interesting episode. 

In respect to talking about what to call a tea practitioner who has students but doesn't want to use terms like "master" or "sensei." There has been an enlightening conversation on the listserv called Premodern Japanese Studies that began as how to translate "Tennō" in the context of a woman (to say emperor or empress?) that turned into what the Japanese sovereign has been called over the centuries in Japan, and then if there is an appropriate English term. Translation always involves nuances that may not exist in the original language but then get added in the second language with the pre-existing cultural baggage. 

From that tangent, my original thought took me to those plastic cards we get with our Urasenke kyojō. I don't know how other schools work it, but those cards have an English "rank," if you will (similar to martial arts). Would that be a more acceptable title? Examples on the Urasenke website here. "He is a 3rd-degree instructor in the Urasenke tradition of tea." The website does not have beyond Junkyōju (not that many people make it past that). Or, a more direct translation of the Japanese title. Junkyōju is normally translated as "assistant professor" in English. That could perhaps bring up associations with University affiliation, but might be another way of avoiding "master." "She has attained the rank of assistant professor within . . . " I also don't know how often Japanese people describe themselves as being Junkyōju or Sennin Kōshi etc. 

Thank you again,


2 years ago
marius 2 years ago

I do not care about the "assistant professor" translation, I feel the use of professor is not proper. In my mind professor is a very specific thing, and that the kyojo does not live up to my standards of what a professor is. So I would have been more happy if they chose a different translation. Is it a literal translation of the japanese word?

2 years ago

Well, it would appear that junkyōju has different English translations for American and British English. The American translation is "Associate Professor," the British is "Reader," according to the "Wisdom English-Japanese Japanese-English" dictionary that came with my computer. Kyōju would appear to be solidly "professor."