First Mention of Nintendo in the USA = October 8th 1955

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From the 'Patent Notice' section of the NY Times, Oct 8, 1955

Nintendo_1955_NYTimes.jpg
 

Cermage

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Gaisuto said:
I moved this to Off-Topic.
Not everything that appears on Kotaku is exactly news.

this. its like the time one of the writers posted an article about how he though ocarina's never existed until he was looking for Zelda merchandise on ebay.
 

Densetsu

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The characters for "Nintendō" the article refers to are 任天堂. The meanings of each character are as follows:

任 "nin"
(n) obligation; duty; charge; responsibility; duty; term; entrust to; appoint

天 "ten"
(n) imperial; sky; heaven; svarga (heaven-like realm visited as a stage of death and rebirth); deva (divine being of Buddhism)

堂 "dō"
(n,n-suf,n-pref) temple; shrine; public chamber; hall; prefix to building meaning "magnificent"

But yeah, this topic isn't newsworthy. Everyone in Japan knows that Nintendo has been around since the Meiji period. I'm surprised more people outside of Japan don't know that.
 

Canonbeat234

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I always wonder why the title screen 'Nintendo' appears on any game, you see a white screen with its logo or the sky with the same thing.
 

TrolleyDave

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Densetsu3000 said:
The characters for "Nintend?" the article refers to are ???. The meanings of each character are as follows:

? "nin"
(n) obligation; duty; charge; responsibility; duty; term; entrust to; appoint

? "ten"
(n) imperial; sky; heaven; svarga (heaven-like realm visited as a stage of death and rebirth); deva (divine being of Buddhism)

? "d?"
(n,n-suf,n-pref) temple; shrine; public chamber; hall; prefix to building meaning "magnificent"

But yeah, this topic isn't newsworthy. Everyone in Japan knows that Nintendo has been around since the Meiji period. I'm surprised more people outside of Japan don't know that.

With the words having so many meanings Densetsu does it make it hard to translate into English properly?
 

Cermage

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TrolleyDave said:
Densetsu3000 said:
The characters for "Nintend?" the article refers to are ???. The meanings of each character are as follows:

? "nin"
(n) obligation; duty; charge; responsibility; duty; term; entrust to; appoint

? "ten"
(n) imperial; sky; heaven; svarga (heaven-like realm visited as a stage of death and rebirth); deva (divine being of Buddhism)

? "d?"
(n,n-suf,n-pref) temple; shrine; public chamber; hall; prefix to building meaning "magnificent"

But yeah, this topic isn't newsworthy. Everyone in Japan knows that Nintendo has been around since the Meiji period. I'm surprised more people outside of Japan don't know that.

With the words having so many meanings Densetsu does it make it hard to translate into English properly?

i'd say japanese isn't as complicated as many think. this whole nintendo meaning business is just a name. its like trying to find the meaning behind each letter of your name or why words like absolute have the words abs or solute in them. a good example of this would probably be from persona 3 (been playing it recently), they give you a question about translating a word from japanese to english. the word is "hanashite" (could be wrong here, my japanese isn't that great). the word could be split into numerous meanings.
Hanashi ( talk, speak)
te(hand)
Hana (flower)
shite (hero)
Nashi (Pear)
Ha (leaf, edge a few other unrelated things)

Instead of splitting it up into smaller words, we know (or at least i think i know) that hanashite, used in the right context means something along the lines of "let go!".

another viewpoint on this is if someone were learning english. they could staring at a word like Hungary. we can split it up into 2 different words. Hun and Gary, and non english speaker could look at it and think.... does Hungary mean a guy named gary who is also a Hun? but instead they know hungary is a country.

hope my explanation has been somewhat accurate and helpful
 

Densetsu

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TrolleyDave said:
With the words having so many meanings Densetsu does it make it hard to translate into English properly?TrolleyDave! Long time no talk! :D It depends on the situation. When dealing with discrete "units" of Japanese letters (characters called kanji) that are isolated from one another, it can be difficult to come up with an appropriate translation in English. Here's an example:

The kanji ? (pronounced "ben") by itself means "exertion." The kanji ? (pronounced "ky?") by itself means "strong." But when you put them together to form ?? (benky?), it means "study." When I first learned the Japanese word for "study," I wasn't presented with the characters for ? (ben) and ? (ky?) separately and then told that together they mean "study." I was presented with the kanji combination ?? (benky?) as a pair and told that it means "study." It wasn't until much later that I actually learned the separate meanings of each character on their own. I acquired pretty much all of my vocabulary by learning the kanji combinations and equating each combination to a single word in English, without giving too much thought as to what each individual kanji meant. Had I memorized "ben" and "ky?" on two separate occasions, and then later saw them put together for the first time, I would never figure that "benky?" means "study."

Now in the case of ??? (Nintendo), which is a company name, translation is difficult because it's not an actual word. So if you were to ask any native Japanese speaker what "Nintendo" means, chances are they would draw a blank. Even for a scholar who knows the meaning of every kanji, the best he could do would be to offer a loose translation of "Nintendo." Most real words in Japanese will have an English vocabulary equivalent, unlike the proper noun "Nintendo." To drive the point home (maybe even belabor it, forgive me if you feel this is the case), there's a biotech company in my area called Genentech, which manufactures pharmaceutical drugs. It consists of the words "gene" and "tech," but if a Japanese person asked me to translate "Genentech" into a Japanese word, I'd say that it can't be done. It's just a company name, and in Japanese it would simply be "Genentech" as well. Just as "Nintendo" is difficult to translate, so is "Genentech," but you can read about their company and get an idea of what it means. In short, it's actually not as difficult to translate Japanese as most Westerners are led to believe.

QUOTE(.Radiant @ Dec 6 2009, 12:20 AM) i'd say japanese isn't as complicated as many think. this whole nintendo meaning business is just a name. its like trying to find the meaning behind each letter of your name or why words like absolute have the words abs or solute in them. a good example of this would probably be from persona 3 (been playing it recently), they give you a question about translating a word from japanese to english. the word is "hanashite" (could be wrong here, my japanese isn't that great). the word could be split into numerous meanings.
Hanashi ( talk, speak)
te(hand)
Hana (flower)
shite (hero)
Nashi (Pear)
Ha (leaf, edge a few other unrelated things)

Instead of splitting it up into smaller words, we know (or at least i think i know) that hanashite, used in the right context means something along the lines of "let go!".

another viewpoint on this is if someone were learning english. they could staring at a word like Hungary. we can split it up into 2 different words. Hun and Gary, and non english speaker could look at it and think.... does Hungary mean a guy named gary who is also a Hun? but instead they know hungary is a country.

hope my explanation has been somewhat accurate and helpful
I see the point you're making, and I think you're spot-on with your Hungary example. The only problem with using "absolute" and the Japanese word "hanashite" (speak) as parallel examples is that while "absolute" can be broken up into smaller words (ab, abs, so, solute, lute), you can't do the same with "hanashite" when it's written in kanji, as it usually is. It's written as ???, and in this case the kanji ? is pronounced "hana," the second character ? is pronounced "shi," and the third character ? is pronounced "te" (since you obviously have some knowledge in Japanese, I'm sure you know this, but I'm just saying it for anyone else reading this who might need a little extra explanation). There is no way to split up ? (hana) into "ha" and "na" because it's already a single "unit," or character. For that same reason, you can't get "nashi" (pear) from "hanashite." And each word in the list you provided has its own distinct kanji that all look different from each other:

hanashi (speak) - ??
te (hand) - ?
hana (flower) - ?
shite (hero) - ??
nashi (pear) - ? (but commonly written as ??)
ha (leaf) - ?

And several others:
na (name) - ?
shi (four) - ?
shi (city) - ?
shi (poem) - ?
shi (death) - ?

The word "absolute" is composed of 8 units (letters), each of which mean nothing on their own, so you can break the word up arbitrarily wherever you want. However, you can't say that ??? (hana-shi-te) contains ? (hana, flower), ? (ha, leaf) or ? (na, name). Of course, if you were to write "hanashite" in hiragana as ????, then you could break it up into ?, ??, ???, ?, ??, ?, ??, ?, etc. But my point is that when translating typical written Japanese, it's going to be mostly in kanji, not hiragana.

The importance of learning kanji becomes apparent in the example above where "shi" can mean many things (and I didn't even list them all). As counter-intuitive as it may seem particularly to a beginning learner of the Japanese language, it's easier to read (and therefore translate) Japanese text when it's written in kanji rather than translating a page of pure hiragana. That being said, I'd have to return to TrolleyDave's original question and expand on my answer by saying that it's much easier to translate Japanese when it's written in kanji as opposed to hiragana because kanji actually have meaning whereas hiragana are purely phonetic sounds with no meaning.

It's clear to me that there's a very strong interest in the Japanese language among many of the 'tempers on this forum, which isn't surprising since the world of gaming is inextricably linked to Japanese. If I have time, I just may start a GBAtemp blog devoted to Japanese language discussion in the future.

Anyway, this reply turned out to be far longer than I had intended it to be, so I'll stop spouting hot air and refrain from hijacking this thread any further than I already have. Um, Nintendo, 1955, yeah!
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