[Ads-l] Antedating of "Bonsai"

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Sep 6 03:38:04 UTC 2015

According to 近代文学作品名辞典 (http://www.weblio.jp/content/%E6%87%B8%E5%B4%96), the earliest appearance of the Japanese word kengai (懸崖) is 1931 (Showa 6). The bonsai 用語辞典 (http://bonsai.shikoku-np.co.jp/word/cat70/ <http://bonsai.shikoku-np.co.jp/word/cat70/>) says that kengai is where the branches droop lower than the pot.

Wikipedia (https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%9B%86%E6%A0%BD <https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%9B%86%E6%A0%BD>) has 根上り for neagari, also in the snippet.

I can imagine that “jikki" might be 実木, real tree, but I cannot find it in a bonsai context. “Nazaschi” is not according to any standard Romanization scheme and I don’t see anything like it on a couple of bonsai pages I consulted.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/home

> On 5 Sep 2015, at 19:49, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Following Fred's lead: Below is an instance of "bonsai" in an American
> periodical in December 1921. The terms: bonsai, kengai, nazaschi,
> zikki, were all italicized. I guess the publication shows the terms
> crossing over into English.
> Date: December 1921
> Periodical: Popular Science
> Article: The Smallest Ornamental Tree in the World
> Quote Page 41
> https://books.google.com/books?id=aSoDAAAAMBAJ&q=bonsai#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> Japan offers many varieties of dwarfs, but the popular kinds of these
> tiny trees are: bonsai, perfect miniatures; kengai, with long
> branches; nazaschi, with "weeping" branches; zikki, with geometrically
> arranged twigs. . .
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Sat, Sep 5, 2015 at 10:17 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> bonsai (OED 1950)
>> 1928 _Japan Times & Mail_ 11 Dec. 4/6 (Japan Times Archive)  Visitors to th=
>> e Bonsai exhibition now being held at the Hibiya Park will notice that ther=
>> e are two different kinds of Bonsai.  Bonsai is a miniature tree, and its p=
>> rinciple value lies in representing the form and appearance of a gigantic p=
>> lant in a miniature form. ... The first type is to show the shape and beaut=
>> y of an old or large tree with a miniature plant, and the second is to pres=
>> ent a beautiful and artistic composition as seen in a painting.
>> Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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