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Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Tenkara is a new type of fishing to the US, and information (particularly in English) is sparse. This is the place to build a knowledge base of Tenkara.

Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Jason Klass » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:40 am

I came across this interesting article on the etymology of "sakasa kebari" and thought it was worth sharing: http://www.discovertenkara.co.uk/short- ... sa-kebari/
My blog: Tenkara Talk

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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby pechelman » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:15 pm

Really interesting, thanks for posting it here Jason.

I wonder, could the sakasa be modifying or relating to hari?
As in "reversed needle"? (ie a hook)

Then I guess all flies in Japan would be called sakasa, when I don't think they are?

Also Not sure if Japanese works like that and if it would have needed to be "sakasabari" to denote "reverse needle"...or something like that.

Anyway, interesting to think what the sakasa refers to
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Loften » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:30 pm

That's a cool article. It is really interesting to me because I am learning in Chinese in school and we talk a lot about how the origin of different characters. In kebari both ke (毛)and bari (針)are characters in Chinese, but have different pronunciations and a small change in the meaning. Ke (毛)in chinese is pronounced "mao" and by itself is a term for fur and bari (針) is pronounced "zhen" and also means needle. The difference in 針 is that the left part in Chinese means metal rather than pointed/sharp in Japanese. I think soon I am going to try do some research soon with my Chinese teacher and see if we can find anything out about ancient forms of fly fishing that were used in China.
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Paul Gaskell » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:05 am

Thanks for linking through to the piece on our site Jason. We are hoping to get some kick ass video content on there in the not too distant future.

Also, I am super keen to explore whether the "reverse" concept is related to the Japanese or Western customary direction of the hackle slope.....
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:36 pm

Very good article indeed and certainly food for thought regarding what it is "reversed" in comparison to.
My feeling is that most things in tenkara didn't quite require a name until they were being written about more often. And, that happened to be after the introduction of western fly-fishing to Japan. Tenkara itself was likely the choice word for the method as a way to distinguish it from the western counterpart. So, sakasa was probably compared to the western flies too.
Pechelman, the word sakasa is not modifying the "hari/bari", but the entire "kebari". And, as not all tenkara flies have the "reverse" hackle it is used to describe that particular type of fly.
The difference in 針 is that the left part in Chinese means metal rather than pointed/sharp in Japanese.

That is the same in Japanese, the left part of the character (金)is the word for metal (also gold/money). I (nor my wife who speaks Japanese) am not aware of it denoting sharp.
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Paul Gaskell » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:37 am

Daniel - thanks so much for commenting on the timing and likely origin of "conventional" versus "reverse" hackling. Really interesting and certainly makes sense. I had wondered whether, since "tenkara" is probably quite a recent term, perhaps the comparison could have been to contemporary western fly tyings.

I hope not to have made a mistake on my research on the meaning of the radical "kanehen". If I have then the mistake is entirely mine rather than John's. It was taken from a kanji database that gives the following citations for possible translations or "senses" that the character may imply. I've posted all of the listed citations below as a screen shot. I am hopeful that there is some justification for the "sharpness" interpretation as the more common meanings of "gold" "metal", "money" etc. are all in there under the same entry:

Image

Edit: I think I have got to the bottom of it, the table above is the description of the known kanji that contain the radical "kanehen". So whilst the fundamental meaning of the radical is "gold" or "metal"; the compounds formed (with symbols to the right of the radical) convey the various different meanings that are listed.
I think that it would be useful for me to reword that part of the discover tenkara article to capture the range of nuanced meanings that the compounds containing the radical have.

Cool - the more you look the more you learn. :)
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby dwalker » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:13 am

To add a bit of fun to this topic.

逆 is Gyaku and it means Reverse, Invert, or Opposite.
Sakasa is a combination of the Kangi 逆 + the Hiragana さ.
さ, Sa, is usually not used by itself. But when combined with another term it will often translate as. "is".
Some famous guy once debated in court what the meaning of is, is. :roll:

Combine the two and you get 逆さ, Sakasa. Which is Reversed Is. Or upside down.
Flip it round to さ逆, and you get Sa Gyaku. Is Reverse.

An interesting oddity of the language is the word for Umbrella is Kasa. Written in Kangi as 傘.
In general we think of hackle as having an Umbrella or Cone shape. The image of an inverted Umbrella fits the shape of of a Sakasa Kebari, 逆さ毛鉤, quite well. ;)

As Paul G pointed out the Kangi for Ke looks a lot like a Feather. 毛
Kebari can be written several ways. As written above Kebari is written with 2 Kangi characters
毛 + 鉤.

毛, Ke, will usually translate as Fur or Bristle.

In Japanese fishing is Tsuri, 釣り. As with Sakasa, it is written as a Kangi + a Hirgana . You might notice that the first character is written almost the same as the second character in Kebari.
釣 vs 鉤. They are almost the same, just a little different. It would seem that Kebari when written with 2 Kangi characters combined carries the idea or concept of Feather Fishing or Fur or Bristle Fishing. ;)

However, Kebari can be written several ways:
A second way with 2 Kanji characters is 毛針, kebari
Kanji + Hiraga 毛ばり, ke-bari
Kanji + Katakana 毛バリ, ke bari
And all Katakana , ケバリ. Though I seldom see it written this way. Plug it into Google and Google will suggest one of the other ways it is written.

To return back to 逆, Gyaku. I do not yet understand why it becomes Sakasa, when combined with さ.
But that is not unique. One of several ways to write Tenkara is with Katakana as テンカラ. One way to write Fishing is , 釣り, Tsuri. But when you combine the two it becomes; テンカラ釣り, Tenkaradzuri.
( btw - 釣り = Fishing. 魚, Sakana, is Fish)

One of the Techniques of Tenkara Fishing is called 逆引き, Gyakuhiki.
Literally Reverse Pull. This is where you pull the kebari against the direction of the water current flow. With the rod tip held low to the water.

Gyakuhiki is usually combined with a second technique called Stop Fishing. 止め釣り, Tome-dzuri. (Toe-mey). Probably better to think of it as Pause Fishing. The idea is to hold the Kebari in place for 2 or 3 seconds before moving it or letting it move.

In 止め釣り, Tome-dzuri, you let the kebari drift with the current flow, 流れ, but pause it, then let it drift a bit before pausing it again. I believe it is recommended to hold the rod tip somewhat high above the water surface when fishing this way.

For 逆引き, Gyakuhiki + 止め釣り, Tome-dzuri, you hold the rod tip low to the water surface, pull the kebari up stream, pause and then pull up stream a little more. I believe for both techniques it is recommended to use a softer rod of 5:5 or 6:4 and when 逆引き, Gyakuhiki, you are looking to get a sharp jump in position. Listening for a bit of a plock sound.

Lastly, Everyone has become aware of what a 「逆さ毛鉤」`Sakasa kebari' is.
But do you know what a Normal Kebari is called? The reference to which the Sakasa Kebari is Upside down.

It is called the `Futsū kebari'. 「普通毛鉤」or 「ふつう毛鉤」 :)

☂ ☔

D
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Paul Gaskell » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:59 am

Excellent stuff D :)

In terms of "sakasa" versus "gyaku" in pronounciation - there is likely to be an influence of "on yomi" and "kun yomi".

Because the Japanese inherited the kanji characters from Chinese writing they had the issue of having symbols that already had an existing Chinese pronounciation - but that were being used to represent Japanese words that were already spoken before there was such a thing as writing them down!

"On yomi" ("sound reading") refers to Japanese writing that is read using the original Chinese sound (gyaku in this case)

"Kun yomi" ("meaning reading") refers to Japanese writing read using the Japanese meaning and pronounciation (sakasa in this case).

I found a blog post that I wrote about this on a long/boring train journey a while ago here:

http://www.discovertenkara.co.uk/i-say- ... thing-off/
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby dwalker » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:41 pm

Paul Gaskell wrote:Excellent stuff D :)

In terms of "sakasa" versus "gyaku" in pronounciation - there is likely to be an influence of "on yomi" and "kun yomi".

Because the Japanese inherited the kanji characters from Chinese ....
"On yomi" ("sound reading") refers to Japanese writing that is read using the original Chinese sound (gyaku in this case)

"Kun yomi" ("meaning reading") refers to Japanese writing read using the Japanese meaning and pronounciation (sakasa in this case).
..


Thanks.
Whether; gyaku/saka, tsuri/dzuri, bari/hari shows up in translations and may be quite confusing to us because we are looking at a writing system much different from our own. However, English has its own issues, we are just used to them.

I just think of the quirks in written Japanese and how words are pronounced as similar to the English; homonyms, homographs, and homophones. I've also learned that often there are no direct English word translation from Japanese, you must think more of words as substitutes for ideas or concepts. And use what fits best the idea written. Here are a few oddities of English.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Homograph_homophone_venn_diagram.svg
Image

They missed another good example of a heteronym in their diagram. { Would you like strawberries for desert after dinner? } And of course were I live - late in the evening people might say, but not write. I'm tarred and I'm going to bed. :roll:

English probably has almost as many quirks ( hey, why isn't that last word spelt with a k?, what's that q doing in there?) as Japanese. Only for different reasons. The Englsih set it off borrowing all those words from the Duchy of Brittany, from the Saxons, etc. ( 50 head of beef or 50 head of cattle) Then following the American Revolution, Webster wanted to separate things even more and started flipping letters round, center or centre, and inventing new words. I highly recommend Bill Bryson's two books: ' The Mother Tongue' and ' Made in America- an informal history of English in the U.S.'.

The Japanese have a certain reputation for taking the ideas of others and improving on the idea. Someone invented the reel to reel audio tape recorder. The Japanese invented the Walkman as one example.

Point is they got things like the Walkman - Right. But they seem to have gone quit mad with their writing system. Three different systems all used together in a single sentence. But it does give them a lot of flexibility in how to write. And while most English speakers don't realize it all of our borrowed words also makes English one of the most flexible languages in the world.

If I have Google translate 逆 from Chinese to English, it still translates as Reverse, but the phonics is given as Ni. Not gyaku.

Anyway. I was not familiar with the term, 逆引き, Gyakuhiki, until I saw Dr Ishigaki mention it in the 20 minute video of his presentation in England last year that is posted on Discover Tenkara.
http://vimeo.com/81633871

The subtitle says "gyaku biki". I was able to figure out with google that it is hiki.
Or rather when I type into a google translation window, gyakubiki, it gives me 逆引き, Gyakuhiki. But I wouldn't be surprised if it were biki in some sentences.
In hiragana or katakana “hi” and “bi” are written almost the same.
hi = ひ or ヒ. bi = び or ビ .

I have been trying to find the diagram he used to explain Gyakuhiki in the video somewhere online, but thus far I can not find it. Only a webpage with text of Dr Ishigaki explaining it. Or diagrams of the Gyakuhiki being used for other types of fishing. Ayu or Esa (bait) fishing, I think.

Here is a web page where they describe Ishigaki style Gyakuhiki fishing. Just below his picture. And further down the page they describe 変形「逆引き・止め釣り」= Variation [ Reverse Pull ・Stop Fishing] Henkei `gyakuhiki tome-dzuri'.
http://tenkarakebari.jugem.jp/?eid=491

However, posted below is a screen grab from the video showing 3 Tenkara Fishing Techniques ( click the image for a larger image) :

The screen grab was taken at 17:48 in the video.

The 3 Pull fishing techniques in the diagrams are:

逆引き Gyakuhiki Reverse Pull
引き送リ Hiki okuri Pull Send ( also written 引き送り) Pulsing while drifting down stream?
用引き Yō hiki Use Pull ( may be a screwy translation) A cross stream technique.
However, on google searches I most often find it written this way
引き釣り用. Hiki-dzuri-yō.
Please note that ri can be written as リ or り. When searching Google for 引き送リ, it seems to prefer it written this way 引き送り.

Gyakuhiki is not a term specific to fishing. But is a wider concept of going against the flow of events, or processes. Perhaps being contrary or maybe solving problems by going against previous practice. Indeed the initial translation Google offers is Reverse Resolution.

The Kanji 逆 gets used for lots of different terms. Not just Sakaskebari. :o

:?
D
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Re: Origin of the term "sakasa kebari"

Postby Paul Gaskell » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:46 am

As ever David, great content there.

I can help out a bit on the gyaku-biki/hiki front;

In the original post about kebari, we initially struggled to find a translation for "bari" - which is where John managed to pull out a linguistics paper on "rendaku" or sequential voicing. It was from finding out about rendaku that we realised that searching for a translation of "bari" was useless - and that we were actually looking for "hari" :) :)

Dr. Ishigaki read this blog post/talked about it with our mutual friend Steven and Ishigaki-san was very amused because he had learned the word "rendaku" from two English guys who were wrestling to try and learn stuff about the awkward Japanese language used in tenkara :) He blogs about it here: http://aitech.ac.jp/~ishigaki/tenkara/2013/England1.htm

So - in the absence of hiragana/katakana with the dakuten (") marks to denote voiced consonants (e.g. "hi" is unvoiced "bi" is voiced or "ku" is unvoiced "gu" is voiced) - the usual convention is that consonants tend to be unvoiced when spoken at the beginning of sounds. Conversely, when they appear in the middle of a compounded sound - they are often changed to "voiced".

This was something that always confused me when I was learning judo as a youngster - how come "koshi" meant "hip" - but "Major Hip Throw" was "O-Goshi" instead of "O-koshi"?? Even worse, "Koshi-guruma" (hip-wheel) was back to being pronounced with a "K". Rendaku makes sense of that now!

In fact, a friend of ours from Wales tells us that the same principle also operates in the Welsh language...

Rendaku is something that definitely comes into play with the descriptions of basic tenkara presentation techniques that we have incorporated into our syllabus - see "Progression Stage 2 on here: http://www.discovertenkara.co.uk/tenkara-syllabus/

From talking with Dr. Ishigaki and Steven, the phonetic pronunciations that we have written down are the ones used verbally in Japan and they conform to the usual rendaku rules. We were also very fortunate to be able to quiz Dr. Ishigaki very closely about the correct hand/knuckle and rod-tip placements for each manipulation (as well as cadence and magnitude of movements of the line and kebari).
As one aside, the term "ogi-biki" (a less common description of "yoko-biki") sounds more like "onyi" or "oni" - and refers to a traditional Japanese fan. This is to help imply that the path of the "pulsed" kebari is a curved one - rather than a perfectly straight line.
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