Following on from Tosa-ben Card Game (龍馬・土佐弁かるた) I thought it may be interesting for some people if I were to do a series of short posts relating to the vocabulary that I learn from the game.

Even if not, I’m learning that maintaining a Gaelic blog is helping me learn the language so hopefully this will help me with Tosa-ben.

Fourth in the series is えずい which is pronounced ezui, the meaning is ‘cruel, awful or atrocious’.

The common Japanese equivalent for えずい in normal use is probably ひどい(hidoi) but the example on the card uses むごたらしい(mugotarashii) which conveys a meaning more like ‘incredibly brutal, gory or gruesome’.

The example sentence on the card is:

えずいことよのー半平太は投獄の挙げ句切腹の御沙汰じゃと

えずいことよのー  はんぺいたは  とうごくく せっぷくごさたじゃと

ezui koto yono- hanpeita wa tougoku no ageku seppuku no gosata ja to

共通語:むごたらしいね (武市)半平太は 投獄された挙げ句に 切腹を申しつけられたそうだ

むごたらしいね (たけち)はんぺいたとうごくされたせっぷくもうしつけられたそうだ

common Japanese: mugotarashii ne (Takechi)Hanpeita wa tougokusareta agekuni seppuku wo moushitsukerareta sou da

Now for the part of the post which is likely to go through various transformations as I’m corrected by my はちきん(hachikin) wife or family and friends from Kochi!

English : It’s gruesome, its seems that at the end of his imprisonment Takechi Hanpeita was instructed to commit seppuku (suicide by disemboweling).

*Takechi Hanpeita was a major proponent of 大政奉還 (たいせいほうかんtaisei houkan) and associate of Sakamoto Ryoma, he wished for the Tosa domain to be a major player in returning control of the country to the Emperor. Whilst later playing that major role, the feudal lord Yamauchi Yōdō imprisoned Hanpeita and eventually instructed him to commit suicide, though this may seem cruel, to Samurai it was a way of dying with honour.

So, now to the rest of the sentence and a look at other Tosa-ben (if any) at play in this example.

  • よのー (yo no-)– I’ve not seen this form before but it seems to be loosely equivalent to ね but perhaps with a little additional emphasis.
  • じゃと (ja to) – only the じゃ is strictly Tosa-ben and it is the Tosa form of the copula です (desu) the と indicates that the action (seppuku) was the result of instruction.