English translation: rei, respect, courtesy

01:30 Apr 11, 2005
Japanese to English translations [PRO]
Sports / Fitness / Recreation / Martial Arts
Japanese term or phrase:
The phrase is "空手道は神聖なり礼に始まり礼に終わる." It's the first of ten rules or principles (空手道十訓) of the dojo. The "礼" involves first bowing/paying respect to the altar/God, then to the head of the dojo and the various members, saying (eg)"先輩、お願いします." I'm translating the 十訓 into simple English for the use of dojo members but am a bit stuck for a simple but elegant way to say this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
KNielsen
Japan
Local time: 14:31
English translation:rei, respect, courtesy
Explanation:
In Karate context, rei is translated as rei in most cases. It generally connotes the expression of repect and courtesy, but in reality, the background philosophy of "rei" is deeper than mere "respect" and "courtesy."

Since this is a traditional common Karate rule, you can see a lot of English examples by doing a google search with "rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru."

Good luck.

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Note added at 40 mins (2005-04-11 02:11:12 GMT)
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Historically, \"Rei\" even differs from a simple bow (ojigi). I believe that this is why so many have transliterated as it is, \"rei,\" rather than translating into bow, respect, courtesy, etc., although there are several examples of these cases also.
Selected response from:

sumc
United States
Local time: 01:31
Grading comment
Since I have to keep it short and sweet, and make it something everyone can recite which includes the fuller meaning of "rei", I think I'm going to go with "karate begins and ends with respect." I really appreciate everyone's thoughtful input and helpful links as well; thanks so much.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +3begin and end with a bow
jsl (X)
3 +2A ceremonial bow in which courtesy and decorum are manifest
Ian Laidlaw (X)
5expression of gratitude/courtesy/politeness/manner
Xuchun
4Expressing gratitude to tangible as well as to intangible
humbird
3 +1rei, respect, courtesy
sumc
3Courtesy
Yakugo (X)


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
expression of gratitude/courtesy/politeness/manner


Explanation:
FYI

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Note added at 11 mins (2005-04-11 01:42:29 GMT)
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manner -> manners

Xuchun
China
Local time: 13:31
Native speaker of: Chinese
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
A ceremonial bow in which courtesy and decorum are manifest


Explanation:
The above definition comes from the book, "The Way of Karate, Beyond Technique" by Shigeru Egami. See below for a link to the related section of the book online.


    Reference: http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/gallery/introbeyond4.html
Ian Laidlaw (X)
Local time: 01:31
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nobuo Kawamura: I agree to "ceremonial bow".
1 min
  -> thanks

agree  sumc: Or, simply "Rei." (Please see my notes in the answer section-not for the points)
27 mins
  -> thanks
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22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
begin and end with a bow


Explanation:
I don't think you have to think too much about this. I think that simply saying "bow" will be enough. In fact, "begin and end with a bow" often co-occurs with "karate", according to my Google research.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2005-04-11 01:56:46 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

More links:
http://www.wskfonline.com/rules.htm
http://www.greatwesternnationals.com/wskfrules.html
http://www.jrroy.com/rules.htm
http://www.karatemaine.com/our_philosophy.html
http://www.jinbukai.org/utkc/classes/etiquette.shtml



    Reference: http://www.dailycelebrations.com/091399.htm
    Reference: http://www.sskindia.org/
jsl (X)
Local time: 14:31
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kurt Hammond: Agree. Simply use"bow" but in the first instance explain the depth of this is intended to go beyond the physical action. The bow must be sincere. (I love seeing those karate movies where the players are obviously not being sincere).
2 hrs
  -> thanks

agree  Marc Ward: There are deeper meanings to "Rei", but even in English bowing implies courtesy and respect.
5 hrs
  -> thanks

agree  Hiromi Kobayashi
12 hrs
  -> thanks
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35 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
rei, respect, courtesy


Explanation:
In Karate context, rei is translated as rei in most cases. It generally connotes the expression of repect and courtesy, but in reality, the background philosophy of "rei" is deeper than mere "respect" and "courtesy."

Since this is a traditional common Karate rule, you can see a lot of English examples by doing a google search with "rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru."

Good luck.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 40 mins (2005-04-11 02:11:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Historically, \"Rei\" even differs from a simple bow (ojigi). I believe that this is why so many have transliterated as it is, \"rei,\" rather than translating into bow, respect, courtesy, etc., although there are several examples of these cases also.

sumc
United States
Local time: 01:31
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Since I have to keep it short and sweet, and make it something everyone can recite which includes the fuller meaning of "rei", I think I'm going to go with "karate begins and ends with respect." I really appreciate everyone's thoughtful input and helpful links as well; thanks so much.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Can Altinbay: I think this works the best.
40 mins
  -> Thank you, Can-san. My original intent for this input was more like as a comment to Ian-san's answer. (^_^;)
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Expressing gratitude to tangible as well as to intangible


Explanation:
There might be an elegant way but I don't think there is simple way to translate into one that all encmpassing.
As you say 礼 is not just physical bowing. It is, in Japanese way of thinking, more than that.
It is a form, but it is a heart that counts more.

humbird
Native speaker of: Native in JapaneseJapanese, Native in EnglishEnglish
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Courtesy


Explanation:
The following quote is from "Karate-Do: My Way of Life", the autobiography of Gichin Funakoshi (the "Father of Karate-do"
according to the book jacket). The book is published by Kodansha and no translator credit is given, although it is stated that it was written in Japanese and translated into English.

'Indeed, the essence of the art has been summarized in the words: "Karate begins and ends with courtesy." As for Okinawa itself, its people for many, many centuries regarded their country as a place where all the forms of etiquette were most strictly observed.' (p. 32)

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Note added at 12 hrs 32 mins (2005-04-11 14:03:08 GMT)
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Searching on \"ju kun\" turned up references to \"ni-jun kun\", including the following link: http://www.shotokai.com/ingles/filosofia/nijueng.html
It translates \"rei\" as \"courtesy\". Other translations that turned up used \"bow\", but they also contained other obvious mistranslations.

Yakugo (X)
PRO pts in category: 4
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