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Ms. Answerman: The Grudge




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larinon
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 1:47 pm Reply with quote
More on numbers. Even though it's written with different Kanji (I think), the word "shi" when spoken can mean death or four, depending on context. Thus it's considered bad luck to have a group of four because of that alternate meaning.

Also, look at the anime Lost Universe (if you dare). The attacks made by Kain and his ship (the good guys) are represented by hexagrams, six pointed stars, while the attacks of their foes are represented with pentagrams, five pointed stars. I always thought that was kind of strange. I can't remember where else exactly, but I know I've seen at least one or two other anime that had the protagonists using some sort of hexagram symbol.

Anyone have any ideas on that? Perhaps they are just borrowing ideas from western culture, where the pentagram is associated with satanism while the hexagram is connected to Judaism (Star of David).
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Tenchi



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:24 pm Reply with quote
larinon wrote:
I can't remember where else exactly, but I know I've seen at least one or two other anime that had the protagonists using some sort of hexagram symbol.


Silent Mobius, maybe? You also see it on the floor of Celine's house in Star Ocean. And I think they wanted to include it in one of the newer Captain Harlock series, but Leiji Matsumoto himself made them change it because of the similarities to the Star of David, for some reason.
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Jimmy Balls-O-Steel



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:26 pm Reply with quote
I remember hearing that the pentagram and the hexagram both have different meanings in Eastern culture, in general. Makes sense to me.

A six-sided star supposedly has more spiritual power than a five-sided star. So that's probably why in X the two Shinken (Holy Swords) that only Kamui can wield in the battle to decide the fate of the Earth each have a hexagram on the ends of their handles.

If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me on this. I'm extracting most of this from my memory of what I heard a while ago.
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space clam



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 4:20 pm Reply with quote
1st point to make: In regarding to the sneezing, where Ms. Answerman suggested that an old belief was one's soul attempting to escape the body. I have also heard that the "Bless You" came about in two other ways:
1) People were very afraid of demonic possession; it was thought that the devil would try to enter into one's body while it was vulnerable (sneezing)
2) People recognized sneezing as the onset of illness, so the "Bless You" phrase was taken literally. They were actually blessing the person, in case they were going to die.

2nd point: In regards to numbers, with what those before me have discussed. The Star of David is a six-sided figure, consisting of two equilateral triangles, one pointing up, and one pointing down, so that the top and bottom sides of the hexagon formed in the center are horizontal. It is a Judeo-Christian symbol, and can be found on the flag of the nation of Israel. (I may not be correct in this next statement) I have heard that the pentagram (one outward point facing upward) was originally a Christian symbol, used in the exorcism of demons. The upside-down pentagram (two outward points facing up) is a satanist symbol. It makes logical sense (to me, at least) that the pentagram was Christian, because satanists flipped it upside-down to "make" it satanic, much in the same way the cross (an obvious Christian symbol) is made to be satanist by flipping it upside-down.

(On a side note, there is an upside-down cross pertinent to Christianity, which relates to St. Peter of the Apostles. Peter felt he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord and Savior, and requested to be crucified upside-down; hence, his symbol is an upside-down cross (which may or may not have some differentiating feature(s), so that it is not confused with a common satanist symbol). Sub-note: St. Andrew of the Apostles had a similar request for the same reasons, and was cruicified with the cross resting sideways (long end parallel to the ground).)
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abunai
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 6:04 pm Reply with quote
larinon wrote:
More on numbers. Even though it's written with different Kanji (I think), the word "shi" when spoken can mean death or four, depending on context. Thus it's considered bad luck to have a group of four because of that alternate meaning.

Yes, they're different kanji - but Japanese mysticism thrives on puns (so, it could be argued, does everything in Japan - Japanese is really one of the best punning languages in the world).

Shi - "death" - is written: 死

Shi - "four" - is written: 四

Normally, when counting, the number 4 is called yon, instead - though this may be a Japanese idiosyncrasy (the number 7 also has two names, shichi and nana).

Much as the numbers "13" or "666" are often avoided in the West, so it is with the number "4" in some circumstances, in Japan. For instance, I've heard of hospitals and clinics which have wards numbered consecutively, but skip ward 4. After all, who wants to be hospitalized in Ward No. "Death"? I can't confirm this, not having had the need to visit a Japanese hospital, fortunately.

There are plenty of "magical" puns, resulting in all sorts of things being considered either lucky or unlucky because their names sound like the name for something good or bad.

- abunai
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Varisha



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:54 pm Reply with quote
Another point about the sneezing thing, is that it exists in other places tool. I was talking to a friend from Greece who told me they did the same thing back home. I guess that doesn't explain where it comes from though Wink
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Tiresias



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:17 pm Reply with quote
I think most cultures have something along these lines. When someone talks about you or does something that could concern you, you do something in response, no matter how distant you are or have no knowledge or their actions.

In Japan, when they sneeze the think someone is talking about them. It's really not that much different than over here, when someone feels a cold chill/shivver up their spine and they say that "Someone just walked on my grave."

Just as we look at them funny when they sneeze and say someone must be talking about them, I sure they look at us funny when we get a shivver and say that someone has walked on our grave.
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abunai
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:23 pm Reply with quote
Just for perspective, a couple of similar customary myths, from my native Denmark:

"My ears are burning" implies "someone is talking about me".

"My nose is itching" implies "an unpleasant visitor is coming".

- abunai
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Godaistudios



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:56 pm Reply with quote
abunai wrote:
Just for perspective, a couple of similar customary myths, from my native Denmark:

"My ears are burning" implies "someone is talking about me".
Hmm... I've heard that one before, outside of Denmark... is that the place of origination though? Or perhaps it's something found in other countries as well?
Quote:


"My nose is itching" implies "an unpleasant visitor is coming".

- abunai


I always find unusual myths like that to be interesting. Perhaps (and likely has been done several times already) a book should be written on unusual myths and customs like that.
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telosphilos



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:10 pm Reply with quote
The thing with myths about sneezing is they tend to be pretty universal every culture has a sneezing myth. Sneezing in past centuries has been highly linked to fatal illnesses. (Think influenza.) We say "bless you" in English because of a plague. In most other western languages you are wished good health, but English for some reason actually took the injuction from religious authorities to wish blessings on a person's soul seriously.

Ah yes, and thank you Ms. Answerman for responding to my question.
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Tempest
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:14 pm Reply with quote
larinon wrote:
More on numbers. Even though it's written with different Kanji (I think), the word "shi" when spoken can mean death or four, depending on context. Thus it's considered bad luck to have a group of four because of that alternate meaning.
abunai wrote:

Yes, they're different kanji - but Japanese mysticism thrives on puns (so, it could be argued, does everything in Japan - Japanese is really one of the best punning languages in the world).

Shi - "death" - is written: 死

Shi - "four" - is written: 四

Normally, when counting, the number 4 is called yon, instead - though this may be a Japanese idiosyncrasy (the number 7 also has two names, shichi and nana).

Much as the numbers "13" or "666" are often avoided in the West, so it is with the number "4" in some circumstances, in Japan. For instance, I've heard of hospitals and clinics which have wards numbered consecutively, but skip ward 4. After all, who wants to be hospitalized in Ward No. "Death"? I can't confirm this, not having had the need to visit a Japanese hospital, fortunately.


This is actually an issue that pre-dates Japanese culture. Japanese Kanji, along with the Japanese language itself, are decended from Chinese. In Chinese, 4 (四) ("Say") also sounds a lot like death (死)("Saye"). The building my in-laws live in was built by a Chinese contractor, and most of the tenants / co-owners are chinese, so it skipped the 4th floor. It's a 4 floor building with floors numbered 1, 2, 3, 5.

My mother in law was very agry when we bought a condo on the fourth floor of a building with an address 4410 (and we're very close to Montreal's largest Cemetary too).
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abunai
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:17 am Reply with quote
Thanks for clarifying that, tempest. Although I have lived in China (well, in Hong Kong), I wasn't aware that there was a similarity between the two words in Chinese, too. I've never noticed any buildings in HK without a fourth floor, though. Then again, it's not the sort of thing you look for.

tempest wrote:
My mother in law was very agry when we bought a condo on the fourth floor of a building with an address 4410 (and we're very close to Montreal's largest Cemetary too).

Hmm. I can think of a number of good uses to put that to, in a Halloween context. Smile

- abunai
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GenkiSchu



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:33 pm Reply with quote
With all this talk of five being a more common number for groups, I wonder if this isn't more a case of choosing to see a pattern when there isn't really one. For every group of five, I can think of more well-known anime that have four people. Straight off, how about Weiß Kreuz ("Knight Hunters"), Saiyuuki or Orga in Gilgamesh?
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Dan42
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:08 pm Reply with quote
My nickname - Dan42 - spooked a few of my Japanese coworkers when I started working in Japan. 42 = shini Rolling Eyes
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