I want to confirm how to read (ie how it's written in romanji) and what the best translation is for a Japanese quote included in the description  The quote is this:...

I want to confirm how to read (ie how it's written in romanji) and what the best translation is for a Japanese quote included in the description


The quote is this:

安らかに眠って下さい 過ちは繰返しませぬから

It's what is inscribed on the Memorial Cenotaph in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park.

In truth, I actually understand Japanese to a certain extent, but as I'm writing this for a paper I want to make sure that what I've worked out is correct.

I think the quote is read as follows (though I'm not sure about the spacing...honestly, I think the last two "words" should be combined but then it just looks a bit too jumbled...)

Yasuraka ni nemuutekudasai  Ayamachi wa kurikaeshi masenekara

I got the quote off of the official site for the Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum so it should be correct (plus I compared to actual pictures, the only Kanji I couldn't match for certian was 返 but I think it was just a fancy calligraphied form of it)

The english version of the site I mentioned also gives this translation for the quote: "Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil."

But I think that they embelished it too much...from what I can make out a better/more direct translation would be "Rest here in peace. The mistake will not be repeated."

I guess I'm basically asking for someone to double check my work?


Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I only see a couple of things wrong with your romanization of this quote.

The first is in your transliteration of the word for "rest."  It should be nemutte and not nemuute.  The small "tsu" there means you should double the "t" on the "te." The other is in the last part of the last word.  You have it transliterated as kurikaeshimasenekara when it should be ... masenukara.  That (ぬ) is a "nu" and not a "ne."

As far as your translation goes, you definitely should not leave out the "for."  That's what the "kara" at the end of the last word means.  So the official translation is clearly better in that sense.  "Ayamachi" can simply be "mistake" but it can be a more intense word at times.  I guess you need to decide which fits this situation better -- were the Japanese militarization and the war and the bomb "mistakes" or "evils?"  Your call.

As far as the "let all the souls" and the "we" in the second part of the sentence, I think this is mainly a stylistic thing.  As you know, Japanese speakers don't always put an explicit subject on their sentences.  I like the translation "we" because I like how it implies admitting fault.  It doesn't just say the mistakes happened with no one being at fault.  "We" are at fault.  In the first part, obviously, this is a request since there is the "kudasai" and the request has to be made to someone.  So who should "rest in peace?"  It sort of implies that it's "all the souls here."  So your translation conforms more exactly to what is actually written, but I think the official translation pays a bit more attention to the implications of what is written.

I hope that helps/makes sense....