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2010年11月21日 (日)

New words and opportunities buzzing in China

(  ) 内は中国簡体字を示す。発音は中国語ピンイン表記。

三蔵 sān zāng
天竺 tiānzhú
悟空 wùkōng
給力 (给力) gěilì
不給力 (不给力) bùgěilì
中国 zhōngguó
人民日報 (人民日报) rénmín rìbào
江蘇 (江苏) jiāng sū
新浪網 (新浪网) xīnlàn gwǎng
韓庚 (韩庚) hángēng


(Mainichi Japan) November 20, 2010
New words and opportunities buzzing in China

It was in 1996 that the Japanese words "jimi-kon" (low-key wedding) and "hade-kon" (showy wedding) arrived on Japan's linguistic forefront. Nowadays "jimi" (plain, low-key) and its variants are commonly used online and in manga.

A variant of this term has also found its way to China and looks likely to be remembered as the buzz word of the year. Its appearance has been traced to the anime "Saiyuki: Tabi no Owari" by Kosuke Masuda.

The anime starts when the character Xuanzang and his companions reach ancient India. The place is empty, and the only sign is one saying "goal."

"So this is India. It's pretty plain (jimi) isn't it, Master," one of Xuanzang's disciples, Wukong, says. Xuanzang then dashes forward trying to become the first to arrive, while Wukong and the others on the scene try to stop him.

In the Chinese version of the anime, "jimi" was translated as "bugeili" (dull, boring). "Bu" is a negative prefix and "geili" is a word of the Northern Chinese dialect that has come to mean "cool" or "exciting". It is a peculiar Chinese word. Perhaps because of its fresh sound, "bugeili" has spread over the Internet, along with the opposite meaning "geili," without the negative suffix, and it has even led to the coining of the English-sounding words "ungeilivable" and "geilivable."

"Geili" has since become an Internet buzz word and on Nov. 10, the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, used the word in a headline on its front page, in reference to "cool" Jiangsu province. While the use of the word was both criticized as frivolous and hailed as novel, its place as this year's top trendy word in China was certain.
 ついに今月10日。中国共産党機関紙「人民日報」1面トップ記事の見出しにネット言葉の「給力」が使われた--「江蘇給力 “文化強省”」。「江蘇省スゴッ」が軽薄か、斬新かについては賛否両論が沸騰したが、「給力」が今年の流行語大賞の地位を確保したことは確実だ。

It is interesting to note that "jimi" which has a negative meaning, was taken in a different direction in China to produce the positive "geili."

Over the past few years, China's GDP per capita growth has practically lined up with that seen by Japan in the 1960s. In 1967, a popular television commercial chanted the phrase "big is good." Japanese society, which at the time was witnessing continuing growth, was not in the mood to accept the word "jimi.

" A similar atmosphere now envelops China, and so geili," the opposite of "bugeili," has taken hold.

The day after the People's Daily used the phrase, Japanese actress Sora Aoi started using Twitter in Chinese on the major Chinese portal site Sina. In just 24 hours she secured 160,000 followers.

Sina said that the figure surpassed the 140,000 followers of Chinese pop singer Han Geng. It also far exceeds the number of those who took part in recent anti-Japanese protests in China.

The massive market of China has vitality spurred by growth. If this can be harnessed, major opportunities may await. Then the situation we can look forward to will be "geilivable." (By Hidetoshi Kaneko, Expert Senior Writer)


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