Modern and progressive dodoitsu

Meiji authors: We live in a…

This is actually from some “Modern and progressive dodoitsu” (kinsei kaikwa dodoitsu) published in volume 3 of Kibi dango magazine (1879). The author is one Shōyō Makoto (or Shinjin?) 逍遥眞人, not to be confused with Tsubouchi Shōyō 坪内逍遥—although his(?) name is a reference to the same passage from Zhuangzi. (In short, the zhenren 眞人 is the “true person” who has mastered the art of xiaoyao you 逍遥遊 “unfettered wandering.”)

Anyway, the deal with these dodoitsu is that their otherwise unremarkable gags include “modern and progressive” vocabulary written in katakana. Here are a few examples, with the M&P vocabulary in bold and quick trots for reference (alas, I do not have time to give these lines the translatorly attention they deserve).

Yongu giruru no/ sugata o kaete/ nushi no waifu to/ iwaretai
(The young girl wishes to change her form and be called his [your?] waifu)

Wocchi sagetari/ būto o haite/ neko ni misetai/ kaikwa-fū
(Dangling a watch and wearing boots—a progressive [or civilized, etc.] mien one wishes to show the cat)

Raitoharuto no/ omae o shirazu/ horeta wa watashi no/ kaikaburi
(Falling in love without knowing the light-hearted [i.e., frivolous, unfaithful] [side of] you was my overestimation [of you])

(Note: “Light-hearted” here corresponds to uwaki, which literally does mean “floating spirit” but nowadays almost always means “straying, cheating” in the romantic sense. Not sure off the top of my head about the situation for uwaki or indeed “light-hearted” in 1879!)

And of course:

Sosaichii de no/ kujō mo shirazu/ gonsai-kurui no/ nōburuman
(The nobleman crazy about his mistress, ignoring the complaints in society)

Author: Matt

I live in Japan and read less books than I used to before I had kids, but still quite a few.

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