What is a chōnin?

What is a chōnin? No, wait, don't look at the Wikipedia article. I think that this story from Nishikawa Joken 西川如見's Chōninbukuro 町人袋 ("Bag [of knowledge] for chōnin" is more illustrative:

At a lively gathering of many chōnin, one said "The samurai-stink of samurai, the scholar-stink of scholars, and the miso-stink of miso are most disagreeable." An elder replied, "Exactly so. And yet, the chōnin-stink of chōnin is a delight." In this there is truth indeed.

I'm just going to come out and say it. Chōnin = hipster.

Popularity factor: 5


The Russian equivalent were the rznochintsy:


Er, make that raznochintsy. (mutter mutter no preview function mutter)

Tim May:

Do hipsters ever admit to liking the hipster-stink of hipsters, though?


Okay, how about: chōnin would be hipsters if none of them ever admitted to being a chōnin and in fact "chōnin" was mostly a label used to disparage nonconformity and mask the envy of the labeler.


The first time I heard about chonin is from Naruto but after reading this post, I'm glad you have cleared it up for me.

By the way, I have a blog called NyNyOnline that focuses on Japanese sub-culture. If you have time to take a look at it and tell me how to improve my blog, please get back to me.

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur

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