25 April 2006

Is 'Old Stomach Bloke Infected with Plague' the best insult you can manage?

The Times' Tokyo correspondent spills the beans on his harshest critic (a Japanese blogger), and discusses the curious mildness of insults in the Japanese vocabulary.

This is a country in which someone who is incandescent with rage will, as a very last resort, denounce his antagonist as baka — a word no stronger than the word “fool”. While an English speaker can choose between “Put a sock in it”, “Shut your mush” or “Zip it”, Japanese is restricted to the anaemic urusai, which means nothing more than “You are noisy”. It is claustrophobic to find oneself in a country without insults — or that is what I thought until I encountered the work of Ryunosuke Kita.

The Times, 25 April 2006

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