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Old 10th January 2020, 01:46 PM   #1
Hans
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Question on a Japanese history image

What exactly does it say over the pyramid looking buildings with crosses on them on the upper right image?


[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by Hans; 10th January 2020 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 10th January 2020, 07:53 PM   #2
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Could you send me I higher resolution scan of just the writing

I will PM you a link to send them direct to my Dropbox account
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Old 11th January 2020, 11:34 AM   #3
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My Japanese neighbour is having trouble reading this. She thinks the first character might be "picture" or "illustration" or perhaps "figure" as in a book.

The rest is not clear enough to read.

One further comment is that neither of the two BW drawings look like they are in Japan. The one on the left appears to be a depiction of the Colossus of Rhodes

The one on the right looks suspiciously like the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome


Note the columns on which there were at one time, statues of angels

I think angrysoba lives in Japan, and I'm sure one of our members here is married to a Japanese women (Belz perhaps) . You might try asking them.
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Old 11th January 2020, 11:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
My Japanese neighbour is having trouble reading this. She thinks the first character might be "picture" or "illustration" or perhaps "figure" as in a book.

The rest is not clear enough to read.

One further comment is that neither of the two BW drawings look like they are in Japan. The one on the left appears to be a depiction of the Colossus of Rhodes
The one on the right looks suspiciously like the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome


Note the columns on which there were at one time, statues of angels
Yes I noted the Colossus and wondered if it was part of a piece on the 7 ancient wonders and those might be the pyramids. Totally misrepresented. I can read Japanese to some degree but couldn't make these out - sometimes the old academic Japanese which can use more Chinese characters and therefore be harder to read - which is the factor here. Thanks for trying.

I was interested as a fringe fellow is using that image to say that the Japanese had 'pyramids' in Hiroshima and THAT is why we bombed it....yeah I know extreme crackpottery.
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Old 11th January 2020, 12:40 PM   #5
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In the illustration on the right there are palm trees. That suggests not Japan but a Pacific island somewhere, possibly the south Pacific. Where there are buildings like this...



It also shows them as having Christian crosses mounted on the roof, i.e. some sort of church. That plus the "ancient Greek" colossus suggests that the document itself is possibly some form of history textbook written by western Christians for the Japanese. This would probably date it prior to the Tokugawa shogunate, and may make it Portuguese in origin, possibly Jesuit.
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Old 11th January 2020, 04:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Yes I noted the Colossus and wondered if it was part of a piece on the 7 ancient wonders and those might be the pyramids. Totally misrepresented. I can read Japanese to some degree but couldn't make these out - sometimes the old academic Japanese which can use more Chinese characters and therefore be harder to read - which is the factor here. Thanks for trying..
My neighbour did say that some of the characters looked more like what she called "old Chinese". She said the they might be "kanji", Chinese characters that are sometimes used in Japanese language.
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Old 11th January 2020, 05:05 PM   #7
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The drawings are based on engravings designed by Maarten van Heemskerck of the 7 (or actually 8) wonders of the world. The drawings are of the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pyramid of Giza.
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Old 11th January 2020, 05:20 PM   #8
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Here is another source of those images, a Russian language wiki page

https://history.wikireading.ru/38802

The caption under the image says

"Fig. 28. Engraving from the Japanese book of 1805 (written from old Danish sources).."

This is possibly referring to this Japanese Picture Book of 1805

https://picclick.com/JAPANESE-PICTUR...636326110.html
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Old 11th January 2020, 05:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
My neighbour did say that some of the characters looked more like what she called "old Chinese". She said the they might be "kanji", Chinese characters that are sometimes used in Japanese language.
Knowing that from my Chinese lessons, I asked my Chinese-Malaysian wife if she could read them, and she said 'No, it's Japanese'.
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Old 11th January 2020, 05:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Here is another source of those images, a Russian language wiki page

https://history.wikireading.ru/38802

The caption under the image says

"Fig. 28. Engraving from the Japanese book of 1805 (written from old Danish sources).."
The link to the book on the webpage is incorrect. Here is the correct link to the book (Oranda tsuhaku. Edited by Shiba Kokan. Toto: Shunparo, 1805):

https://www.ndl.go.jp/nichiran/e/dat.../117-006r.html
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Old 11th January 2020, 11:16 PM   #11
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I notice that the first character above Colossus and the fourth character above the Pyramid are the same. Perhaps "ancient" or "wonder" or "western" or even "Dutch"?

Above Colossus is appears the 4th, 5th and 6th characters may be 銅巨島 which would be "copper/bronze" and "giant" as in "Colossus" and "island" as in the island of Rhodes. Just a guess though. I don't know any Japanese.
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:13 AM   #12
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I have no idea what I am doing, but to throw out a really wild guess.

Maybe the 4th character above the pyramid is 國 for "country". And that is followed by a combination character of 及プテ for ji-pu-te as a phonetic spelling of "Egypt".

Seems like a long shot, but maybe there is something there. Does anyone know if Japanese even works like that? That character and the second to last one above Colossus look like kanji followed by a two katakana on top of each other, but I could certainly be wrong.
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
I notice that the first character above Colossus and the fourth character above the Pyramid are the same. Perhaps "ancient" or "wonder" or "western" or even "Dutch"?

Above Colossus is appears the 4th, 5th and 6th characters may be 銅巨島 which would be "copper/bronze" and "giant" as in "Colossus" and "island" as in the island of Rhodes. Just a guess though. I don't know any Japanese.
I've just traced the characters into a Traditional Chinese checker, and then tried to copy that character into Google translate from Japanese to English.

The first character above the pyramid means drawing, the second terrace or pedestal (or station).

The first character you refer to (i.e. 4th) is guo in traditional Chinese, meaning country. In Japanese it has the same meaning (but is said kuni). The character before in Chinese is mi, making mi guo. According to google translate it means USA in Japanese, but perhaps just America would make more sense.

5th begins duo in Chinese, ta in Japanese, both meaning many/more, but the second part of it doesn't seem to be extant in Chinese.

Similarly the 6th starts yue, and seems to be iwaku in Japanese, meaning 'says'. Not much help.

The 7th begins ni in Chinese, doro in Japanese, meaning mud or plaster. I can't get the second part of it.

That's probably confused the issue more than clarified, but I wonder if that pyramid might be more South/Central American, given the crosses and different shape from the Egyptian pyramids.

Last edited by gypsyjackson; 12th January 2020 at 03:26 AM. Reason: Much more research done.
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Old 12th January 2020, 02:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gypsyjackson View Post
The first character you refer to is guo in traditional Chinese, meaning country. I just looked it up in Japanese, and it has the same meaning (but is said kuni).
That was my guess in the post above. I think the idea of a phonetic Egypt is far more dubious. It looks more like 多 which would translate as "many" or "a lot". So that would mean...I have no idea. I'm in way over my head.
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Old 12th January 2020, 04:02 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
That was my guess in the post above. I think the idea of a phonetic Egypt is far more dubious. It looks more like 多 which would translate as "many" or "a lot". So that would mean...I have no idea. I'm in way over my head.
Yeah, I saw that after I posted (took a while to check each character and write it up). In Chinese the descriptor comes before the country, but not sure in Japanese.

You can actually (I think very commonly) spell countries phonetically in chinese, too. Malaysia is ma lai xia, Singapore is xin jia po, Canada is Jia na da. Again not sure about Japanese.
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Old 12th January 2020, 06:04 AM   #16
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The book apparently is Oranda Tsuhaku (Dutch Navigation) by Shiba Kōkan (1747-1818)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiba_Kōkan

He was famous for introducing foreign knowledge to Japan (mainly from Dutch sources).

The kanji itself is somewhat difficult to read, although we can make out some individual characters. I can read Japanese to some extent and my wife is Japanese, but this is an old book from the Edo period and it's not easy to read for a modern reader.
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Old 12th January 2020, 06:31 AM   #17
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It's certainly Japanese. The picture on the left says something Copper giant something something .. I believe it's just name of the place, and it's clear from the picture it's Rhodes. The picture on the right imho does the the same, except I have no idea what it is. The characters I can read, those on the right, make no sense, I suspect it's the transcription of the name's place.
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Old 12th January 2020, 07:07 AM   #18
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BTW, here's a better resolution image. Not sure if embedding is allowed, so click the link.

https://www.ndl.go.jp/nichiran/e/dat.../117-006l.html

It's much easier to read the writing here.
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Old 12th January 2020, 07:21 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
I have no idea what I am doing, but to throw out a really wild guess.

Maybe the 4th character above the pyramid is 國 for "country". And that is followed by a combination character of 及プテ for ji-pu-te as a phonetic spelling of "Egypt".

Seems like a long shot, but maybe there is something there. Does anyone know if Japanese even works like that? That character and the second to last one above Colossus look like kanji followed by a two katakana on top of each other, but I could certainly be wrong.
OK, I think I've figured out that it's probably meant to be read from right to left, not left to right. The rightmost characters have what's called "yomigana" which indicate how they are to be pronounced. We know the image on the left is supposed to be Rhodes, and sure enough if you read the characters from right to left you can see the yomigana ロデス (rodesu) followed by the kanji for island 島 (an older variant I think), while on the image to the right you can read ヱケプテ, which I believe is meant to indicate Egypt, albeit that's not how it is written in modern Japanese. ヱ (we) is a kana character that is seldom used anymore. The 'w' in we is probably silent, like the 'w' in wo (ヲ in katakana or を in hiragana).

https://www.ndl.go.jp/nichiran/e/dat.../117-006l.html
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Old 12th January 2020, 08:32 AM   #20
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I am very curious about what the corresponding page in the book says. It appears to have some kanji, but it also has some symbols that are very simple and are repeated. I am finding it difficult to figure out how that can translate to anything meaningful.

I found translate.yandex.com, which can translate Japanese from an image. So I took the image of the book page and put it into Photoshop to fix the contrast to remove the characters showing through the translucent paper. I made an image with the characters all clear and bright. Then I saved that image and uploaded it to Yandex.

I set it to Japanese to English. Recognize lines. Then I got the result. It recorded the OCR for most of it. But when I clicked on the lines it would have some small English words with a bunch of other word that looked like it would sound Japanese.

Until I got to the 11th row. For that row, I got the rather concise translation of:

"Gwen Stefani is seen in New York City on Sept."

Forget about the United States dropping an atom bomb on Japan to eliminate strangely pointed Egyptian pyramids built by the aliens. The big news is that an obscure Japanese author in 1805 predicted the existence of Gwen Stefani. Either he was a psychic or a time traveler. Or maybe Gwen Stefani is a time traveler. This is big news. Giant news. 巨新着!!!
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Old 12th January 2020, 10:09 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
I am very curious about what the corresponding page in the book says. It appears to have some kanji, but it also has some symbols that are very simple and are repeated. I am finding it difficult to figure out how that can translate to anything meaningful.
It's Kanji (Chinese characters, though not necessarily with the same meaning as in Chines) and Katakana (one of the phonetic alphabets used in Japan), used here for word ending, conjunctions, etc (these days Hiragana is normally used for those) and foreign words.
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Old 12th January 2020, 12:28 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
The drawings are based on engravings designed by Maarten van Heemskerck of the 7 (or actually 8) wonders of the world. The drawings are of the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pyramid of Giza.
Also, those aren't crosses on the top they're 5G Ultra-Wideband antennas.
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Old 12th January 2020, 01:28 PM   #23
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Thank you all for your efforts and translations. Another weird fringe attempt to distort history defeated.

Okay, it was too nutty to believe in the first place but I was born in Japan and can read it to some degree and to be honest I could make no sense of the caption - the comment above explain why I couldn't and therefore was justified to come running here!

Thanks again to all.
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Old 15th January 2020, 12:59 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
I am very curious about what the corresponding page in the book says. It appears to have some kanji, but it also has some symbols that are very simple and are repeated. I am finding it difficult to figure out how that can translate to anything meaningful.

I found translate.yandex.com, which can translate Japanese from an image. So I took the image of the book page and put it into Photoshop to fix the contrast to remove the characters showing through the translucent paper. I made an image with the characters all clear and bright. Then I saved that image and uploaded it to Yandex.

I set it to Japanese to English. Recognize lines. Then I got the result. It recorded the OCR for most of it. But when I clicked on the lines it would have some small English words with a bunch of other word that looked like it would sound Japanese.

Until I got to the 11th row. For that row, I got the rather concise translation of:

"Gwen Stefani is seen in New York City on Sept."

Forget about the United States dropping an atom bomb on Japan to eliminate strangely pointed Egyptian pyramids built by the aliens. The big news is that an obscure Japanese author in 1805 predicted the existence of Gwen Stefani. Either he was a psychic or a time traveler. Or maybe Gwen Stefani is a time traveler. This is big news. Giant news. 巨新着!!!
Just to be sure, you have to read it in columns from right to left. I.e., starting in the top right corner, you read downward and then when you reach the bottom of the page it continues from the top of the next column to the left. It appears that it starts in mid-sentence.

Translating into modern Japanese, for the first two columns I get:
溢れて次第に西北に流れて地中海に注ぐ ([something] overflows and then flows to the northwest to pour into the Mediterranean Sea.
then something about Abyssinia (アビシニイ) something about it becomes a great river. I think he must mean the Nile river.

You can flip through about 8 pages of the book starting here:

https://www.ndl.go.jp/nichiran/e/dat.../117-001r.html

ETA: This was written before the modern concept of using a period or full stop to end a sentence, so it's a little hard to see where one sentence ends and another begins.
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Old 16th January 2020, 11:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Translating into modern Japanese, for the first two columns I get:
溢れて次第に西北に流れて地中海に注ぐ ([something] overflows and then flows to the northwest to pour into the Mediterranean Sea.
then something about Abyssinia (アビシニイ) something about it becomes a great river. I think he must mean the Nile river.

That's consistent with the illustration being Nubian pyramids in Sudan or Ethiopia. The proportions reminded me of them right away, though other features aren't quite right.
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Old 3rd February 2020, 02:42 PM   #26
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Looks to me like illustrations in a Japanese book of the Seven Wonders of the World. One of the pictures almost certainly shows the Colossus of Rhodes. So I would think the other was of the Pyramids of Egypt. Both seem to be second or even third hand copies of old Early Modern Times engraving of the two the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. As for the look of the Pyramids being rater steep; they were at the time frequently shown that way.
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