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色の名前事典

2008 July 2

I found a book in the central campus library titled Encyclopedia of Color Names (or “Iro no Namae Jiten”, as this post is titled). The book I purchased at the art museum has a similar title but talks more about the use of colors in Japanese art; this book is written with less flowery language (therefore MUCH easier to read) and is more academic, looking at cultural use of color in Japan versus European countries/languages. I think I’ll track down a personal copy of this one. In the meantime, I’ve been copying down the chapter blurbs on each major color category, and I spent this evening translating what I’ve got so far with the assistance of WWWJDIC. It’s very interesting, so I’d like to share what I’ve got so far. My translation is a little rough and not always exact, but I went for the most readable interpretation, and I’m pretty confident I got the jist of it. I even found myself predicting what a kanji compound was as I was putting it into my dictionary, just based on what other descriptive words were being used in the same sentence.

This is a lot of text, so I am putting it under a cut just in case. Grandma, click on the purple sentence below this one, okay?

ピンクには石竹、撫子の意味もあるが、16世紀頃から英語の基本色彩語のひとつとして、赤の色相の明るい薄い色の系統を表わすようになった。英語以外のヨーロッパの言語では薔薇色がピンク系の色を表わす基本色彩語として用いられることが多い。たとえばrose(フランス語)rosa(ドイツ語)(イタリア語)(スペイン語)のように。日本語にはピンク系の色は表わす個々の色名はたくさんあるが、それらの全体を代表する基本色彩語がないので、赤の明るい色や薄い色は英語のピンクで表わすほかはない。赤を白で薄めていくと色印象は劇的に変化する。赤の強烈な刺激性、熱や生々しさの印象が弱まり、華やかではあるが柔らかく、優美な女性的な色になる。やはりピンクという分類があったほうがいい。

“Pink” has a meaning of China pink or Dianthus, but since around the 16th century it has served as a standard color word in the English language, coming to stand for a system of bright and light red hues. In many European languages other than English, “rose-color” serves as the basic color term for pink hues. As with rose (French), rosa (German, Italian, Spanish), for example. In Japanese, a lot of individual names exist for colors in the pink range, but because there is no term representing the basic color, there is no way to express bright or light reds other than the English “pink”. Mixing red with white changes one’s impression of the color dramatically. Red’s intense stimulation heat, and (生々しさ?) weaken; showy brilliance becomes a subdued and elegant feminine color. It is definitely better to have a category for pink.

 

赤は、可視光のいちばん長波長寄りの光によって見える色。混色の3原色のひとつであり、人間の色覚の基本色感覚のひとつでもある。染料や顔料の色として人類が最初に知っていた色のひとつで、ほかのどの色よりも鮮やかに感じられる色。日本語をはじめ、多くの言葉における最古の色名のひとつ。日本語の赤の語源は明しではないかと考えられているが、ほかの言語では血に由来するものが多いともいわれている。火、血、熱をはじめ、情熱、愛、肉欲、活力、勇気、戦争、革命、罪悪などを意味し、古代の五行説で南(朱雀)、夏(朱夏)を象徴した。暖色、興奮色の代表。遠くからでもよく見えるし、いちばんよく目立つ色でもあるので国旗、信号、標識をはじめシンボルカラーの花形である。

Red is the color of the longest wavelength of light that we can see. It is one of the three primary colors for mixing and also one of the foundations of the human being’s sense of color. It is one of the dye and pigment colors we have known since the beginning of mankind,and it is experienced more vividly than any of the other colors. Starting with Japanese, there are a lot of words regarding one of the oldest color names. The root of the Japanese “aka” is thought to possibly be from “明し(akashi?)” but it is also often said that it derives from another language’s word for blood. Starting with fire, blood, heat – it has meanings like passion, love, lust, vitality, courage, war, revolution, sin – and in the five elements theory of ancient times, it symbolized the south (the Vermillion Bird, god of the Southern Heavens) and summer (朱夏?).  It is a warm color, a representation of excitement. Because it can be seen well even from far away, it is also the most conspicuous color and is therefore used on the national flag, on traffic lights, and on signs as the starting symbol color ornament.

 

赤と黄色の中間に感じられる色相を表わす日本語の基本色彩語がないので、この系統の色は英語のオレンジを借用することになる。英語にかぎらずヨーロッパの言語では、この系統を表わす基本色彩語としてオレンジが広く用いられている。オレンジも本来は果実の表皮の色からとられた固有色名だったはずだが、英語では1512年以来、色の形容に用いられてきたので、すっかり基本色彩語として定着してしまった。日本でも中国語の橙色を借りてこの色を表わしたり、柑子色、蜜柑色のように柑橘類の果実の名前からとられた色名を用いてきたように、この系統の色から連想されるものはどこでもよく似ている。そのほか人参や柿だったり、ユリ科の花だったり、この系統の色名に選ばれる対象はかぎられている。

There is no basic color word in the Japanese language to represent the hue experienced between red and yellow, so it has been decided to borrow the English “orange” for this system of color.  The word orange is widely used as a basic term for this range throughout the non-English languages of Europe. “Orange” was originally defined as the intrinsic color of a fruit’s rind, but English has used it as a descriptive color term since 1512, so it has been established completely as a basic color word. In Japan, the Chinese word for orange-colored has been borrowed for this color, and color names have been taken from saffron and mandarin as with other citrus fruit names, so that the association of this color system is similar everywhere. Other than that are carrots, persimmons, and lilies, so the target chosen for the name of this color system is well-suited.

 

赤とピンクの印象が違うように、オレンジが暗くなり色が濁ると、まるで違う色のように印象が一変する。やはり別の分類名があったほうがいい。日本語の茶色は近世になってからできた色名で、基本色名ではないが、基本色名に準じて使用されている。英語のブラウンは1000年も昔から用いられてきた基本色彩後のひとつで、フランス、ドイツ、イタリア、スペインなどの言語でも古くから基本色彩語として定着している。人間の毛髪、瞳の色、肌色をはじめ、動物の毛皮、弱毛、植物の樹皮、石、岩、土、砂などの色にも茶系統の色は非常に多い。食物、料理、嗜好品、日用品にも茶系のものがたくさんある。いわば最も自然な色であり、ありふれた平凡な日常の色でもある。

Just as red and pink have different impressions, when orange gets dark the color gets muddy, as if it has changed into a completely different color. It would definitely be good to have a name for this distinct category. The Japanese brown (lit. “tea-colored”) is a recent word, so although it is not a basic color term, it is now being applied and used as one. The English “brown” has been used as one of the basic color terms since at least the year 1000, and languages like French, German, Italian, and Spanish also formerly established brown established as a basic color word. Colors like people’s hair, eye color, and skin color, animals’ fur, body hair, plant bark, stones, rocks, dirt, and sand are some of the great deal of hues in the brown family. There are also a lot of brown things in the categories of foodstuffs, cuisine, luxury groceries (e.g. alcohol and tobacco), and daily necessities. Brown is, as it were, the most natural color and is also an unsurprising, commonplace, and ordinary color.

 

絵の具、染料などの黄色材の3原色のひとつ。色知覚の主要色のひとつでもある。明るく輝かしい色なので、欧米では光や太陽の象徴であり、中国で天地の中央を表わし皇帝の象徴にもなっていた。この色の金属が黄金で、宗教では神聖な光輝を表わし、世俗的には富貴、権力、権威を飾る装飾の王者であった。しかし、キリストを裏切ったユダの服色とされたのをはられ、裏切り、背信、日和見、嫉妬、臆病などの意味もある。また、病人や死者の色ともされていて、かならずしも良い感じばかりもたれていたとはかぎらない。黄色が濁ったり、または暗くなると、印象も劇的に変わり、嫌われやすい色になってしまう。

Yellow ingredients are one of the three primary colors of paints and dyes. It is also a principal color of color perception. Because it is a bright and shining color, it is symbol of light and the sun in the West, and in China it is displayed in the center of heaven and earth and has become a symbol of the emperor. This color of metal is gold, which in religion shows sacred splendor; and in worldly terms, it is an ornament of kings adorned with riches, influence and power. But, since it (yellow) was also the color of the clothing of Judas, betrayer of Christ, it also has meanings like traitorousness, infidelity, indecision, jealousy, and cowardice. Also, it is the color of sick people and the dead, so of course it is not just suited to good senses. When yellow becomes muddy and turns dark, the impression is also dramatically changed into a color that’s easy to hate.

 

緑のミドが語根で、「瑞々し」のミズと関係があるのではないかと考えられる。カワセミの古名「そにどり」が「みどり」になったという話もあるが、こちらは翠と書くべきだろう。英語のグリーンも、語根のgrは草のgrassや、成長する、茂るという意味のgrowと同根であり、緑と同じく植物の新芽との結びつきが考えられる。緑には、言葉自体に新鮮な、若さという意味や、生命の成長や再生の感情が含まれている。しかし常夏の国では、緑にこのような特別の感情はないらしい。特緑樹を永遠不滅の象徴として尊重するのも、冬枯れの後にかならず春が巡ってくる北半球の住民の特性らしい。緑には自然賛美の意味のほかに、毒物や死者、黴、腐敗などのイメージもあるが、一般的とはいえない。

The root of “mido” in “midori” (green) is thought to possibly be related to the “mizu” in “mizumizushi” (youth and vivaciousness, freshness, juiciness). It is also said that the kingfisher’s ancient name, “sonidori”, became “midori”, but this would probably be written as (another kanji pronounced “midori”). With the English word “green”, the root of its “gr” is grass or grow, and is thought to have similar connections to vegetation sprouts as “midori”. With “midori”, the word itself contains a meaning of freshness or youth and feelings of life’s growth and rebirth. But there are probably no special emotions of this sort for green in a land of endless summer. Certain green trees are a symbol of immortality by way of respect, and after the desolation of winter the return of spring appears to have a special quality for the inhabitants of the Northern Hemisphere. Other than the meaning of nature’s glory given to green, images like poison and the deceased, mold, and decay also exist, but in general they are not spoken of.

 

青、緑とともに、色覚における基本色感覚のひとつ。混色の3原色のひとつでもある。全人類に最も好まれる色でもあるらしい。空の青、海の青は神秘と憧れの感情を起こさせる。藍染の青は最古の植物染料の色として、多くの民族にとっては最も日常的な色であり、海軍や海運従事者の共通の制服の色にもなっている。反対に、青い鉱物というのはきわめて希なので、青い宝石、青いの絵の具は神聖で高貴なるものを象徴した。また、青い花、青い鳥も珍しいので、これも憧れや幸福を象徴する。身近な日常の色でありながら神秘と憧れの対象でもあるという。二面性を青はもっている。寒色、鎮静色という性格は、赤の反対であり、遠くに感じられる空間的な色でもある。

 

Blue, together with green, is a primary basis for our sense of color. It is also one of the three primary colors used in color mixing. It also seems to be the most preferred color of mankind. The sky’s blue, the sea’s blue, raise feelings of mystery and longing. Indigo blue, as the the oldest plant dye color, is extremely routine to many nations, so that it is becoming a common color of the uniforms of navies and sailors. Oppositely, because blue minerals are extremely rare, blue gems and blue paints symbolized things of holiness and nobility. Still, because blue flowers and blue birds are also rare, these also symbolize yearning and happiness. While it is a familiar, ordinary color, it is also the object of mystery and longing. Blue is carrying a two-sided nature. Its personality as a cold color and a tranquil color is the opposite of red, and it also is a color of spacially feeling far away.

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