Wednesday, May 5, 2010


happou, "eight-directions".

This is a continuation to the previous topic. To discrib the Prime Minister's Okinawa visit, a popular news colum applied this word. It argues, the Prime Minister has been trying to be 八方美人, "being everybody's friend", but it only ended up with 八方ふさがり, "being hemmed on all sides", and may even be 八方やぶり, "being vulnerable to every kind of sttacks". It was obviously an incisive comment.

In the Chinese as well as the Japanese tradition, "eight directions" has little to do with the modern concept of 3D or 4D. Rather, it literally means dirctions of N-E-S-W and NW-SW-SE-NE.