Koban - 1839 and 1903

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Feb 2 19:31:21 UTC 2013

They're the same in English, but completely different in Japanese. The "police box" meaning has a long "o."

AFAIK, we still have koban in the US, though maybe the concept has been abandoned. At one time, there was a movement to adopt the system. I recall seeing one in San Fran, but it looked shuttered. See https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=122842.

See also http://ow.ly/hmw3h for one in Baltimore. Here's a page mentioning Santa Ana, Detroit, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea: http://ow.ly/hmwcX. My understanding is that Brazil is moving forward with mass implementation of their modified version, and that other Latin American countries are looking to adopt it as well.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

On Feb 2, 2013, at 6:27 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:

> So 'koban" = "some kind of coin" or "police-station / office of police".
> I am reminded of "piss-house", which = "privy" or
> "police station".  (And "insulting name".)
> Joel
> At 2/1/2013 10:28 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> 1. The earliest citation I find for koban
>> (<Japanese 小判, the coin) is 1839 (http://ow.ly/hlSKj)
>> The Asiatic journal and monthly register for
>> British and foreign India, China and Australasia, Volume 29:
>> The peasant's hospitality is rewarded by the
>> present of a Japanese gold coin, called a _koban_, and worth £1.6s. 6d.
>> This meaning is in Wiktionary
>> (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/koban), but not the OED or AHD.
>> 2. For kōban (< Japanese 交番, police box),
>> Basil Hall Chamberlain and W.B. Mason mention it
>> as a gloss for "police-station" in 1901 at http://ow.ly/hlT1b.
>> In 1903, the word appears italicized and glossed
>> as "office" with reference to the police (http://ow.ly/hlT8y):
>> Here you always find two policemen--one on duty,
>> walking up and down the street, the other in the _koban_ (office) resting.
>> This meaning is in Wikipedia
>> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dban), but not the OED, AHD or Wiktionary.

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