Sign in to follow this  
Rattlebones

"Kuroboshi" defeat

Recommended Posts

Need some help here from my erstwhile Japanese forum-mates.

In a number of article about day 4 the writers said something like this quote

Baruto looked set to taste his first "kuroboshi" defeat of the 15-day tournament when he was tipped off balance at the start of an absorbing encounter at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

I think they are referring to Kuroboshi the animator in some way but I don't necessarily understand the reference. All I can think of are some Japanese anime where someone is standing on 1 foot waving their arms, tottering...

Is that the reference?

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFAIK, kuroboshi ("black star") refers to the way that wins (white stars) and losses (black stars) are represented in sumo customs. Not more, not less. In that way, a kuroboshi defeat is tautological, as kuroboshi simply refers to a loss.

Edited by Randomitsuki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You obviously haven't been listening to Hiro Morita.

Right, just ask the gyoji referee, he'll tell you all about wins and losses...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much.

So essentially it means loss, meaning it was either a poor translation or poorly written.

At least it makes sense... now...

Edit -- well I don't get to see matches and hear commentary much. Used to watch basho that people uploaded but they quit doing it so I'm stuck reading the reports now and watching highlites on youtube

Edited by Rattlebones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"at the start of an absorbing encounter" should have set off a few "MACHINE!!" alarms..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"at the start of an absorbing encounter" should have set off a few "MACHINE!!" alarms..

FWIW, it's originally a Kyodo article, not sure if just translated directly from a Japanese original or written specifically for their English-language service.

Edit: A slightly longer version.

Edited by Asashosakari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"at the start of an absorbing encounter" should have set off a few "MACHINE!!" alarms..

FWIW, it's originally a Kyodo article, not sure if just translated directly from a Japanese original or written specifically for their English-language service.

Edit: A slightly longer version.

OK, then it's someone trying to be really 'literary'. Anyone who has ever heard of an "observing encounter" please raise your right hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"at the start of an absorbing encounter" should have set off a few "MACHINE!!" alarms..

FWIW, it's originally a Kyodo article, not sure if just translated directly from a Japanese original or written specifically for their English-language service.

Edit: A slightly longer version.

OK, then it's someone trying to be really 'literary'. Anyone who has ever heard of an "observing encounter" please raise your right hand.

If I didn't know better, I would have thought you were referring to Tiger Woods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In defense of the maligned Kyodo writer...

Tautologous repetition is the price some people think you should pay for trying to educate general readers. Think about the knots English-language papers get themselves in trying to describe Japanese food, culture or anything that isn't instantly replicable in English. If I had a yen for every time some Japanese editor at the Yomiuri had tried to put mawashi belt, dohyo ring, or gyoji referee into my copy I would be a millionaire. A millionaire in sterling.

The practice is understandable but it does feel like your copy has been violated when someone "clarifies" the meaning for you...so not much of a defense, on second thoughts.

(Edited for clarification)

Edited by James H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyone who has ever heard of an "observing encounter" please raise your right hand.

Sounds like my first marraige..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tautologous repetition is the price some people think you should pay for trying to educate general readers.

That word caused smoke and debris to come out of my computer as I desperately tried to understand what it meant..

The name of my next band- Tautologous Repetition.

(or Observing Encounter)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tautologous repetition is the price some people think you should pay for trying to educate general readers. Think about the knots English-language papers get themselves in trying to describe Japanese food, culture or anything that isn't instantly replicable in English. If I had a yen for every time some Japanese editor at the Yomiuri had tried to put mawashi belt, dohyo ring, or gyoji referee into my copy I would be a millionaire. A millionaire in sterling.

The main problem - at least in my impression - is that when it's written as in the article, or spoken as Hiro Morita does, it comes across not as an explanation, but as a modifier, e.g. "gyoji referee" must be some special type of referee (as opposed to some other type of referee also present in sumo), even though that's true only in a most cursory sense and clearly not the meaning that the writer/speaker is going for. The reception of "kuroboshi defeat" that started this whole thread suffered from exactly the same issue, and IMHO that's on the writer's head, not the reader's.

At least in writing it's possible to avoid it by different punctuation ("kuroboshi" (a defeat) instead of the way the article had it, or the ever-popular "kuroboshi", or a defeat which I personally hate for abusing the "or" construction), because that is just clunky but not outright misleading, so then it's "only" a question of how the writer feels about it - apparently not too well in your case. But the spoken version really, really grates, because it's not even possible to infer the intended meaning from context unless you already know the context well enough to not need the double-language expression in the first place, or the context is painstakingly explained every time you use such a construction, in which case you might as well go with the explanation right away and avoid the construction altogether. It's commendable that the idea is to educate the audience, but this seems to be a rather misguided idea as to how to go about it.

Edited by Asashosakari

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's commendable that the idea is to educate the audience, but this seems to be a rather misguided idea as to how to go about it.

Completely agree. I think that any writer / editor with the time or inclination can work out a way to explain without using tortuous, or tautologous (apologies Kinta), phrasing. The idea that the annoyance comes from, for example, 'gyoji' describing 'referee' is spot on.... and for me it also is reminscent of Orwell's disgust (in Politics and the English Lang) at neoligisms that mixed Greek and Latin for no reason except pretense of profundity.

Not that this is exactly what is going on here, more that it is so ugly and unnecessary that it does end up making one repeatedly headbutt the nearest hard object.

I don't have any real ideas how you 'educate the audience,' except to describe what you see in clear terms that hopefully illustrate your enthusiasm (or justified lack of) for what just occurred. When people get interested in something, they tend to try to educate themselves.

I was going to write a para about the difficulties facing a foreign writer because of sumo's perception in the english-speaking world and how its intangible elements are what makes it interesting, but I realized I was disappearing up my own backside and so stopped.

(Nish - insert your own joke here. )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's not so different from English. We have our "tuna fish".

Oh, then we have "sweetbreads" and "mincemeat"... I give anyone credit for learning English as a second language. It's a slippery eel and there are so many repeating redundancies (to, two, too) (read, read, red, reed, Reid) (there, their, they're)...

Frankly, I am in awe of anyone who can successfully deal with 3 or more tongues. I can only manage one, and I butcher that one plenty enough too in addition as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was going to write a para about the difficulties facing a foreign writer because of sumo's perception in the english-speaking world and how its intangible elements are what makes it interesting, but I realized I was disappearing up my own backside and so stopped.

This is one of the strands of a presentation I'm preparing for a big translators' conference next month in Miyazaki. Another is the disconnect between the mental images and the reality of sumo -- though this is diminishing these days as real coverage, TV and film, books, magazines and newspapers, increases. But the dreadful piece of journalese in the item under discussion makes it clear that this is a hack trying too hard to make something sound interesting; diametrically different from the clear and well-written articles we used to get in the DY when James was working for them.

Orion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this