Japanese Translation, Please
January 11, 2017 11:56 AM   Subscribe

I have a small Japanese quartz wristwatch, and would like a translation of the script on the front and back. It would be helpful if anyone knows the approximate value. Thanks.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium to Shopping (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I believe the characters are Chinese, not Japanese.
posted by zer0render at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2017


Yeah, those look like Chinese numerals on the face.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:12 PM on January 11, 2017


Ok, I was fooled by the red circle on the dial, thinking it was a rising sun. So I need a Chinese translation.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:14 PM on January 11, 2017


It's Buddhist stuff.

Front: pretty sure that's 阿彌陀佛 (in Mandarin, I remember it being ah mi tuo fo) - popular 'chant'. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amit%C4%81bha

Back: it's telling you where the watch came from (some temple - I can't make out the location) + more Buddhist stuff in the center, probably another verse/chant. I'm not up on that (and I also can't make out all the characters) so it's hard to translate. But yeah, find yourself someone who is well versed in that stuff - they'll be a better source.
posted by aperturescientist at 1:13 PM on January 11, 2017


It's from Guangzhou (廣州)
Yes Buddhist (福田) - "field for growing happiness" aka domain for practices leading to Buddhist enlightenment
Bottom row is literally an address
And it's in traditional Chinese, not simplified, so older than 1949
posted by sestaaak at 1:23 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]


Actually not exactly just a chant, but the name of a Amida (as known in Japan, which I am most familiar with), one of the most widely-venerated Buddhist "deities" (Amida is not a deity) in Mahāyāna Buddhism, which is observed in China, where this watch is from.

Amida resides in the Pure Land, a heavenly realm that is sort of like heaven. Amida's "primal vow" is that all one must do to be admitted into the Pure Land (as opposed to hell) is to recite or chant his name "Amida". That's it. The practice is known as the "nembutsu."

Pure Land Buddhism became popular in Japan for this very reason--in a society where 99% of people could not read, Buddhism was only practiced by the nobility. The peasantry, who could not read, were damned forever.

By simply reciting the nembutsu, a lot of peasants could go to "heaven" (the Pure Land). I don't know the specifics of China, but I'm assuming it's the same thing there (afaik the concept of "nembutsu" came from Tendai scholars in China).

Interesting-looking watch, though, but it most definitely employs a contemporary Chinese... aesthetic.
posted by My Dad at 1:28 PM on January 11, 2017


And it's in traditional Chinese, not simplified, so older than 1949

Guangzhou is next to Hong Kong, which uses a version of traditional Chinese characters.
posted by My Dad at 1:30 PM on January 11, 2017


Good, helpful answers, everyone! Thanks.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:45 PM on January 11, 2017


The top and bottom lines identify it as a souvenir from Dafo Temple in Guangzhou. The middle two lines are Buddhist sayings.

重修廣州大佛寺留念
廣種福田
功德無量
地址:惠福東路惠新中街
posted by bradf at 2:07 PM on January 11, 2017 [3 favorites]


Traditional characters don't necessarily mean older than 1949 in the Mainland. They're still used sometimes there, especially on things that are considered decorative/old-fashioned.
posted by bearette at 2:48 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]


And it's in traditional Chinese, not simplified, so older than 1949

The watch, if quartz, is absolutely not pre-1949.

Or alternately, you have evidence that time travel is possible.
posted by danny the boy at 2:48 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the value is... very little. As in cost of production is probably a few dollars, and I don't believe there to be anything remarkable or collectable about it. Take a look at alibaba if you want to see how truly inexpensive Chinese made quartz watches can get...
posted by danny the boy at 2:58 PM on January 11, 2017


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