Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kano - jita kyoei 自他共栄 in judo

Kano Jigoro Sensei, the founder of judo, taught the core ideas behind the practice of judo are jita kyoei 自他共栄 (calligraphy on left) and seiryoku zenyo 精力善用 (calligraphy on right). My previous discussion of seiryoku zenyo is

Typically I see the characters for jita kyoei 自他共栄 translated as "Mutual Benefit", "Mutual Benefit & Welfare", or "Mutual Prosperity". In my experience as a student of budo and language, often the translations are not literal, but poetic interpretations of the original language. So let's take a character by character breakdown and see what we discover.

I now have access to a Chinese calligraphy site. The images I am posting are in the kaisho 楷書 on the left, and the ancient seal script 篆書 style on the right. Here at The Dragon's Orb we aim to educate!



So the first two characters make up the idea of 'jita' - "self and others"


The above version of the character looks to be the simplified Chinese version. You can see from the image on the right it had more strokes till recently. For those with good vision the original looks like this 榮. The modern Japanese has also been simplified, but the angles of the lines of the top radical are slightly different 栄.

be prosperous

So let's construct the most literal translation.

1. Self and others together prosper
2. Me and others both prosper

Lowry Sensei uses the translation I like: "you,me together shine"

I feel like the common translations work pretty good for getting to the heart of the message, "Mutual Benefit", "Mutual Benefit & Welfare", or "Mutual Prosperity". However it is interesting to note that idea of benefit is implied and not literal in the Japanese. 'Flourish' and 'Prosperity' are the original ideas presented.

1 comment:

  1. I like one similar to Nick's, "You and me going forward together."

    Though, again, like my preference for seirokyu zenyo, it's not the most literal of translations.