100 Japanese Things

In Which 100 Japanese Things Shall Be Revealed, So That You May Learn Much Japanese From Them

Thing #10: Japanese Newsweek, Cartoons and Quotes from the “Perspectives” Page June 2, 2008

Filed under: advanced,intermediate — Saleem @ 2:53 am
Tags: , , ,

Exhibit A)

Japanese text reads:



Exhibit B)



Exhibit C)




Kind of hard to understand Japanese political comics, because to get the joke you probably have to understand concrete lobbies, LDP, etc. But (for Americans), American political comics in Japanese equal=Not so bad.

On Exhibit A:

All you need to know is that 海賊 ( かいぞく )means “pirate” (in both the swashbuckling and downloading sense), and you’ve already got that one.

On Exhibit B:

悲劇 ( ひげき ) is a tragedy, and the newspapers in frame 1 (note: Japanese comic readers are used to reading from right to left, hence the numbers) lists a bunch of world tragedies, earthquakes, etc.

If you’re a flash-carder…

  1. ひ‐げき【悲劇】別ウィンドウで表示
    主人公が運命や社会の圧力、人間関係などによって困難な状況や立場に追い込まれ、不幸な結末に至る劇。トラジェディー。喜劇。 人生や社会の痛ましい出来事。「貧困がもたらした―」喜劇。

Exhibit C:

A little confusing, right? But if you miss the nuance (a bit hard to catch what’s happening in this version, I thought I got the joke but wasn’t quite sure until I verified), you can take advantage of the…


Original English versions of Exhbit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C

Yeah, I know, you’re not supposed to read translations, etc., but it helps sometimes when you get a political cartoon with the kanji for ‘superdelegates’ or some such. You can just google the cartoon’s author, dig through the archives and find the original.

Japanese Newsweek is on newsstands everywhere (uh, in Japan), fun to flip through whatever level you’re at.


The Japanese Newsweek site has an area where they list the week’s best quotes from news worldwide in their original English versions.

The catch is they’re only in English on the site, and only in Japanese in the magazine. They intend for Japanese readers to entertain themselves (and improve their English) by trying to match the quote in the magazine to it’s original.

We can, of course, flip that game. There’s some really dang fun sentences there


“Think potato, grow potato, eat potato.”

(The slogan for a recent potato festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the government is trying to get the population to adopt the humble spud in place of pricier diet staples like rice and wheat .)


“This is the first time beer has taken priority over a child.”

(Australian constable Wayne Burnett, on the arrest of a driver who had buckled up his load of beer―but not his 5-year-old son―for a trip across the Outback.)


For those of you who aren’t in Japan, here’s a couple sentences that you can try and match for kicks. OriginalEnglish page here.



Sidenote to my mom: Hi Mom! Just writing to make sure you know that I didn’t write the underwear post that appeared on this site before! That was the other guy (note the byline)! I don’t write about underwear because I’m an innocent angel! Hope all’s well – Saleem

UPDATE: Thanks to Scott for correcting my careless typing on the ”神” quote. Now fixed. Because while aliens might have been made by God, they almost definitely were not made by paper 🙂


3 Responses to “Thing #10: Japanese Newsweek, Cartoons and Quotes from the “Perspectives” Page”

  1. scott Says:

    hey, i realy like this post..come to think of it I think I’ve seen these before. In the tripple post, though, I think it should be それも神が創られたもののはずだ。 神 instead of 紙

  2. scott Says:

    and by tripple post I mean triple bonus

  3. saleem Says:

    Woah, thanks Scott. Got lazy with the auto-complete. Fixed!

    Unless, you know, the aliens were created by some kind of sentient paper. In that case the previous version was correct 🙂

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