I decided that since I did a blog explaining the Korean Bible, the Spanish Bible, and the Romanian Bible, that perhaps I should do one about understanding the Bible in Japanese too. I have run into a few snags trying to do it. At one point, we accidentally turned everything on my computer to Japanese when we were trying to get a Japanese key board, and it took time to get everything back into English, so I could type in English for you. Thankfully, I have a daughter this is in hiragana, and it confuses me a bit. who is very good with the computer, and she got it all worked out. Another snag I had was that, in my Japanese Bible, it has kanji, but next to the kanji is the hiragana pronunciation, so I don’t have any trouble understanding it. However, My Japanese Bible is in the shipping coming from Korea, and we are in Oklahoma without my Japanese Bible. I found the Bible in Japanese on the internet, and I copied and pasted a scripture in Japanese for you, but there is not hiragana next to the kanji. I understand some kanji, but not all of it, so I may get to a place that it is hard, but I am willing to try anyway. The important thing is for people to see how the sentences are put together, understand the grammar, and learn a few vocabulary words. I understand there are a lot of people following my bog who are interested in Japan and Japanese, so I will do what I can. I don’t have my Japanese dictionary with me either, and it is hard to find one on the web, so you are getting this all out of my head, like a test.
イエス －This is katakana for ”Jesus.” Katakana is used because the name “Jesus” is not a Japanese name. The name of Jesus is said, “Yesu.”
が - This is hiragana “ga.” It is used after the subject of a sentence, and it i used for emphasis.
ヘロデ- This is katakana again because it is the name of Herod. Again, “Herod” is not a Japanese name, so they use katakana.
王の代 – This is a kanji, a hiragana, and then a kanji again. I usually look at the first kanji and think “it means Lord.” however, it comes right after the name of Herod, so I realize in this context, it means “king.” The second character is a hiragana pronounced “no.” When that hiragana is used as a position article after a noun, which this one is, it denotes possession. The next character is a kanji that means “time.” However, since I don’t have my Bible with the hiragana beside the kanji, I am not sure exactly how it is pronounced, but perhaps it is pronounce “toki.”
に – This is another post position article or rather post position preposition. It can mean, in, to, on, or at. It means that the phrase before it is part of the prepositional phrases so ヘロデ王の代に means “in the time of Herod the King.”
ユダヤ – This is katakana again which means it is not a Japanese word, but a foreign word. It means Judea. It also has の after it again, so that means that whatever comes after it belongs to Judea
.ベツレヘム – This is in katakana again which means it is a foreign word. It means Bethlehem. There is another post position article after it: で (de). “de” can mean one of two things, either it means that what comes before it is being used or it means that it is a location. We all know that Bethlehem is a loctation.
生れになったとき – this is actually two words. The first character is a kanji that means “life.” The verb for “to be born” is umarimasu. If you want to make it past tense that is used in the middle of the sentence, you say, “umarimata.” The first six characters means just that “was born.” The last two charcters are “toki” which means “time,” and often used this way, it actually means “when,” so you have a “when clause”: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the time of Herod the King.”
見よ = This is a kanji and a hiragana. The kanji means “look.”Perhaps with the “yo” after it it denotes “behold.”
東から = This is a kanji and two hiragana. I think the kanji is pronounced higashi.東 means “east.” から (kara) means “from.”
きた – These are two hiragana pronounced “kita.” “kita” means “came.” It is the form of
.kimashita” that is used inside of a sentence.きた – These are two hiragana pronounced “kita.” “kita” means “came.” It is the form of .kimashita” that is used inside of a sentence.
博士たち – When I first looked at the kanji, the first two characters here, I thought I was stumped. However, the last two hiragana, たち (tachi) denote that there is a group of people. That means to me that probably博士 is referring to the magi that came when Jesus was born, but I don’t know how to pronounce it. Things like this is why it is good to use the bible to study a language from, because if you know the context, but you don’t quite know everything there, you are not completely stumped because you know what should be there. The Bible is in every language, and it is a perfect learning tool. When I get my Bible with the hiragana in it back, I can look the kanji up and know the pronunciation. Until then, I have figured out the meaning. Again, the post position article が (ga) is after it, so it means that what comes before the “ga” is a noun which confirms what I thought.
エルサレム – This is katakana again. It means that it is a a foreign word. It is Jerusalem. It is followed by に (ni) again which means ” to” or “at.”
着いて言った – Here we go again. These characters are kanji, two hiragana, kanji, two hiragana. I am not sure what the first kanji is. The second kanji means “word” or “speak.” I am really missing my Japanese Bible with the pronunciations next to the kanji. The て(te) means to me that the first part of this verb is in the “te” form. I know it is a verb because it is at the end, and verbs always come last in a sentence or clause in Japanese.着いて言った – Here we go again. These characters are kanji, two hiragana, kanji, two hiragana. I am not sure what the first kanji is. The second kanji means “word” or “speak.” I am really missing my Japanese Bible with the pronunciations next to the kanji. The て(te) means to me that the first part of this verb is in the “te” form. I know it is a verb because it is at the end, and verbs always come last in a sentence or clause in Japanese.った means that it is a past tense verb. I happen to know that the magi were asking about where Jesus was to be born, so it fits.
ユダヤ人の王 = This is three katakana, a kanji, a hiragana, and another kanji. The first three katakana mean “Judea.” The next character is a kanji that means “people.” It can be pronounced either “hito” or “jin.” The next character is a hiragna that is pronounced “no.” It means possession. The last character is a kanji that is pronounced “shiyu.” It mans “Lord.” Therefore, this means “the Lordof the person of Judea” or “the Lored of the people of Judea” because often they ignore the plural in Japanese.
とし – “to shi” means “year.”
生れになった – Again, the first kanji here means “life,” and this is the pst tense of the verb “umareru” “to be born,”
かたは – (gataha) This is in hiragana, and it confuses me a bit.かた (kata) I am not sure, but I think this is more past tense from生れになった. は (ha) or (wa)- If this is inside of a word, it is pronounced “ha.” If this is a post position article, it is pronounced “wa.” I think it is a post position article denoting that what comes before it is a noun clause.
We have a noun clause, ユダヤ人の王としてお生れになったかた – the one who has been born the Lord or King of Judea from all this.
どこに – (doko ni) “doko” means “where.” “ni” means “at” or “to,” and in this case, it is “at.”
おられますか – This is all hiragana. It is transcribed like this: araremasuka. It is the question form of the verb verb because it ends with “masuka” and is the last word in the sentence. I know the verb “arimasu,” and I am convinced this comes from “arimasu” which means “is, am, are, will be, has, have, or will have. The “ka” tells me without a doubt that it is a question.However, this verb seems to be in a form that I haven’t studied. It seems to me that どこにおられますかmeans “Where is he?”
わたしたちは = (watashitachiwa) This means “we,” and it is the subject. I know it is the subject because of the は is a post position article. たち (tachi) changes わたし(watashi) which means “I” to “we.”
東の – again, this is a kanji and a hiragana. And, again, the kanji is “higashi” meaning “east, and “no,” the second character here denotes possession.
方で – This is a kanji and a hiragana. I am not sure what the kanji means, but the hiragana means it is a location. Perhaps 東の and 方で should not be separated because we know “higashi,” the pronunciation of the first kanji means “east, a place, andで is the post position article for a place.
その = (sono) meaning ‘that”, and it is the form that takes a noun after it.
星 – This is a kanji pronounced (hoshi). It means “star.”を (wo) is the post position article that comes after it meaning that “star” is the direct object.
見たので =見た is a kanji and a hiragana. It is a pronounced “mita.” It means “saw.”ので (no de) are both hiragana. They because or since.
そのかた – (sonokata) This means “that person.” It is all in hiragana.を (wo) after it means that そのかた is the direct object
.拝みに= 拝み is a kanji and a hiragana. I am not sure how to pronounce the kanji, but the hiragana is “mi.” It means “worship.”に (ni) means, in this cae “to” meaning “in order to.”
きました – (kimashita) is all hiragana, and it means “came.” This means拝みにきました – came to worship.そのかたを拝みにきました, the whole phrase means “came to worship that person.”
Now, perhas you can see that even if you don’t know all the kanji, and especially if you have the hiragana next to the kanji, it is possible to read in Japanese if you know the context whether you know all the kanji or not.