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31 July 2009 @ 06:23 pm
Seeking a little insight  
Hello, hello! I am working on a little essay on Orihime and the Shun Shun Rikka and, due to my limited knowledge of Japanese/Japanese culture and general disinclination to just pull things from my ass, I wanted to run a few quick questions by some informed people before finishing it up.  Any comments would be greatly appreciated. 

I tried to pose the questions in a way that would make them easy to answer quickly, but if you think a question is overly complicated and/or irrelevant, feel free to just say so.  (You may also feel free to laugh at me, if any of my questions seem ridiculous :D)  

Question 1. The translations I have found for the names of the Shun Shun Rikka’s members seem to be pretty consistent: Shun’o (舜桜) translates as “Althea”, Ayame (あやめ) translates as “Iris”, Lily (リリィ) translates as “Lily”, Biagon (梅巌) translates as “Ume”, Hinagiku (火無菊) translates as “Daisy”, and Tsubaki (椿鬼) translates as “Camellia”. I’ve learned that most of these flowers are native to Japan. So are these names just the word you would use for these flowers in Japan? (Instead of picking some daisies, you would pick some hinagikus?)

Question 2. Concerning Lily, as the name is originally Latin I’m guessing it was incorporated into Japanese? So “Lily” likely refers to lilies in general and not a specific type of lily? Is that right? Also, do specific types of lilies have different names in Japanese, just like they do in other languages (“Lily” just means “lily” and not “tiger lily” or “water lily” or anything like that)?

Question 3. How do you say lotus flower in Japanese? Are lotus flowers generally considered synonymous with water lilies in Japan?

Question 4. Other than Baigon (ume/plum blossom) are any of the other flowers commonly associated with something you would regularly eat in Japan? I did not think so, but I know different plant parts – flowers, bulbs, roots, etc. – are more widely eaten in different parts of the world. I just wanted to make sure Baigon is the only member of the Shun Shun Rikka that would seem to be related to a fruit/food from a Japanese perspective.

Question 5.  Are tattoos of Japanese flowers popular in Japan?

Again, my sincerest thanks!!!

Thanks, Deb, for allowing my quasi-spamminess. :o)
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kohi_no_torakohi_no_tora on August 1st, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
The answer to 1) ties into 2). Yes, as far as I know those are the normal names for the flowers in Japan except for Lily. (Don't use that in fanfic though. For the Shun Shun Rikka it's fine since they're being used as proper nouns but in narration and dialogue this is one of the cases where it's better off using the perfectly servicable English words)

The issue with Lily is that the Japanese word for the lily flower (covering all varieties though specific varieties have specific names as well) is yuri. It is also used to describe female/female romantic and/or sexual relations. Considering that Orihime was standing right next to Chizuru when it happened Kubo may have changed the name to the romaji to keep the readers minds above their navels (Didn't work. I am convinced that Lily represents the part of Orihime that likes Chizuru's attention)

[Japanese Cultural Fun Fact: The term yuri to describe female/female relationships stems from a gay magazine whose editor coined the terms barazoku (rose tribe) and yurizoku (lily tribe) to refer to the gay and lesbian community in Japan respectively. The term metamorphosed into just yuri and spread to the English speaking fandom while the term barazoku morphed into just bara and referred to a specific sub-community within the gay community in Japan (muscle I believe)]

3) Don't know either way.

4) I know Lotus roots and a variety of chrysanthemum are used in Japanese cooking (thank you Iron Chef) but I don't know about the others.

5) NO! While it is slowly changing in Japan tattoo = yakuza. Chad probably manages to squeak under by explaining it as part of his foreign heritage but it probably contributes to some of his image problems as a violent troublemaker.
secila80: Orihime Robotsecila80 on August 1st, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.

Considering that Orihime was standing right next to Chizuru when it happened Kubo may have changed the name to the romaji to keep the readers minds above their navels
Lol, I hadn't thought about that. Fascinating.

I love fun cultural facts! Thanks for the bonus!!!
ouriouri on August 1st, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Day-lily buds and petals are edible, but I don't know about other varieties of lily - or about the other flowers.
secila80: Orihime Robotsecila80 on August 1st, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
stray_mikeneko: Thudstray_mikeneko on August 1st, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
1. According to my dictionary, Shunou and Baigon are not really the names of flowers, while the kanji in Hinagiku’s and Tsubaki’s names are different from the kanji in the flowers’ names.
Tsubaki does mean camellia, and so does the first kanji in his name, but the second kanji is “oni” (demon).
Hinagiku is pronounced the same as “daisy” but written with the characters for “fire,” “nothingness,” and “chrysanthemum.”
Baigon’s “bai” does mean ume, but you’d pick an “ume,” not a “bai.” The “gon” means severe, harsh, solemn, or awe-inspiring
Shun, apparently, is a (rare?) kanji used in emperors’ names. It does mean “althea” or “rose of Sharon,” but that plant would normally be pronounced “mukuge” and written with different kanji. The “ou” is the kanji for sakura.

3. (based on the dictionary again)
Hasu (蓮) = Indian lotus
Suiren (睡蓮) = water lily
Renge (蓮華) = lotus flower.

5. I’ve heard that people with tattoos will often be barred from swimming pools in Japan. :P
secila80: Orihime Robotsecila80 on August 1st, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks. This is really useful. If I may ask a followup or two . . .
So there were several different ways Kubo could have formed a word pronounced like "daisy," but he chose to do it with the characters for fire, nothingness, and chrysanthemum? Also, is there like a grammatical or phonetics reason Kubo went with Baigon instead of Umegon, since they would seem to mean the same thing?

Hilarious icon, btw.
stray_mikeneko: Thudstray_mikeneko on August 1st, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, he could have used other kanji to get the same sound. As for the pronunciation, my Japanese class wasn't very thorough about the rules of kanji, but I think that when kanji form compounds, both kanji are supposed to have either the Chinese reading (onyomi) or the Japanese reading (kunyomi). It's not usually mixed. In this case, both "bai" and "gon" are onyomi, while "ume" is kunyomi.
secila80: Orihime Robotsecila80 on August 1st, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
secila80: Orihime Robotsecila80 on August 1st, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the clarifications on tattoos being a no-no in Japan. Half of everything I read said absolutely not because they are still strongly associated with criminals there, and the other half said they were rising in popularity with younger crowds. I wanted to clarify.

So Lily could be a member of the yakuza?! Interesting. Lol.
_debbiechan_: Orihime the next time we meet_debbiechan_ on August 1st, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)

Some of the most innocuous characters in Bleach have tattoos--Chad, Renji, Hisagi. All tough-seeming but pure of spirit guys. Hisagi even writes poetry according to Kubo in the Official Bleach Bootleg. The one Yakuza character in Bleach--well, Yakuza-like--is Iba and he wanted a promotion in SS so he could make money for his family.

Kubo-sensei doesn't do caricature.

And maybe even with the fairies, I suspect there's some multi-layering going on. Tsubaki the demon camellia? LOL.

My best guess is that Lily's tattoo is because Kubo likes decorative trills here and there.
secila80: Orihime Robotsecila80 on August 1st, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
Kubo-sensei doesn't do caricature.
So true! The more I look into the fairies the more complicated they get -- Kubo loves his layers. I love that he gave Orihime such a complicated zanpaktou. Who says the big-breasted beauty has to be one-dimensional? Not Kubo, lol!

Hisagi writes poetry?! He just gets hotter and hotter. ;P