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"Swordsmith Forges Sacred Blade for Shrine Deity"

Learn Japanese from the News

Broadcast on September 18, 2023 Available until September 17, 2024

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News." In this program we learn Japanese and more about Japan from news stories presented in simple Japanese. Today's headline is "Swordsmith Forges Sacred Blade for Shrine Deity" which was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on August 9, 2023. Keywords include「日本刀(にほんとう)nihon-too」"Japanese sword" and「模様(もよう)moyoo」"pattern."



"Swordsmith Forges Sacred Blade for Shrine Deity"

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News."
Join us as we learn Japanese and about the country through Japanese news stories.
Today's headline is…

神様(かみさま)のための日本刀(にほんとう) 刃(は)に美(うつく)しい模様(もよう)をつける
"Swordsmith Forges Sacred Blade for Shrine Deity"
This news story was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on August 9th.
Now let's go over some vocab words that will help us understand what's going on.
Japanese sword, also known as a katana
In today's story this word refers to a visual effect—typically a wavy line that's produced along the edge of the blade.
Here this word refers to a furnace used to heat and smelt metal.
Let's keep these words in mind as we listen.
「岡山県(おかやまけん)瀬戸内市(せとうちし)で、刀(かたな)の職人(しょくにん)の川島一城(かわしま かずき)さんが、神社(じんじゃ)の神様(かみさま)のために日本刀(にほんとう)を作(つく)っています。8月(がつ)、刀(かたな)の刃(は)に美(うつく)しい模様(もよう)をつける技術(ぎじゅつ)を神社(じんじゃ)でみんなに見(み)せました。
A shrine in Okayama Prefecture held an event showcasing the quenching process of a Japanese sword that it will present to its tutelary deity as an offering.

Now we'll break down a few sentences from the story that contain helpful expressions and keywords.
Let's start with the following sentence:
"In August, he showcased the technique for applying a beautiful pattern to the katana blade at a shrine."
刀(かたな)の刃(は)means "blade of the katana." The process of quenching a steel blade hardens the edge that's used for cutting.
刃(は)can also refer to the flat cutting edge of a knife, a pair of scissors, a hand plane, and so on.
The blade of a Japanese sword is also called やいば. Now, some listeners may be familiar with the manga and anime series "Demon Slayer: 鬼滅(きめつ)の刃(やいば)." 鬼滅(きめつ)の刃(やいば)literally means "demon-killing blade." The use of やいば instead of 刃(は)evokes the fearsomeness of the Japanese sword.
OK, let's move on to the following sentence.
"When he placed the sword in cold water, it warped, and a beautiful pattern was created on the blade."
This sentence contains the adjective 美(うつく)しい, which means "beautiful." Speaking of "beautiful," let's talk about the distinction between 美(うつく)しい and きれい.
Both 美(うつく)しい and きれい can be used to describe colors, shapes, sounds, etc. that are attractive or pleasing to the senses.
美(うつく)しい has slightly more formal connotations. So in daily conversation you'll likely hear きれい used more often.
Right. Now, strictly speaking, 美(うつく)しい and きれい are used in slightly different ways.
美(うつく)しい refers to a deeper, more heartfelt kind of beauty. So for example, 美(うつく)しい文章(ぶんしょう)means "beautiful writing." 美(うつく)しい友情(ゆうじょう)means "a beautiful friendship."
In contrast, きれい describes outer beauty or cleanliness. So きれいな空気(くうき)means "clean air." きれいな部屋(へや)means "a clean room."
And that's all for today.
Japanese swords are known not only for the strength of their blades, but also for their aesthetic beauty.
All right, be sure to tune in next time for more!

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