Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hey Hey swing Big Hip !

don't dip your butt

David English
don't dip your butt
in that mud!
big butterfly

-Issa, 1817
55 years old. married at 52 years old with Kiku, next year he get first son but soon died. From January to June stayed in Edo, and returned to Kashiwabara.

sakuo Japanese
その泥に 尻をつけるな 大蝶々
sono doro ni siri wo tukeru na ou choucho

Issa Original
ぬかるみに尻もちつくなでかい蝶 一茶
nukarumi ni shiri mochitsuku na dekai chô

David comment
Issa's last phrase, dekai chô, is mysterious. Chô is written with the kanji for "butterfly," but I have not been able to track down an exact meaning for dekai.

Shinji Ogawa comes to my rescue, explaining that dekai is a colloquial word for ôkii ("big"). He notes, "An average Japanese can easily associate it with the preceding word shiri ("butt") to form a noun, dekai-shiri ("big butt"), which is suggestive of a feminine figure.
Adding to that, the word chô ("butterfly") also suggests femininity."I wonder if Issa might be playing with the homonym dekaichô: the exhibition of a holy image at a temple or shrine; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 1121? If so, is he implying that the butterfly itself is a holy image, an embodiment of Buddha perhaps...or is this connection just a coincidence?

sakuo Comment
Issa watched a big butterfly that is an avatar of young sexual woman.
Can’t you see the young woman walk like a butterfly flutteringly?

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