Japanese news: trying to understand an article’s title…

Yesterday, I searched for an article to study today and I found this: 相撲協会 貴乃花親方の理事解任を評議員会に提案へ on NHK. This kind of article really makes me want to cry 😭! I don’t understand the title, I don’t understand at all what it is about, I recognize many kanji but I am too lazy to think about what they can mean in this context. I know that it is not only a problem of Japanese, that I also miss the context but still… This is so discouraging! Well, I guess that I still have a lot of work to do before I can read Japanese newspapers.

Today, a related article came out: 日本相撲協会 暴力行為の再発防止へ委員会設置. So it is certainly important…

I won’t study these articles but I will try to understand why I don’t understand the title.

First, I always ask myself if there is a name in the title. That would be several kanji, let’s say 4, that won’t make any sense in the sentence. To me, 貴乃花親方 doesn’t make any sense so I guess that there is a name hidden in it. The question is how many characters? “親方” could make sense together, so let’s say that 貴乃花 is a name.

Then, I try to find words I know or whose meaning I can guess, in both titles.

  • 協会・きょうかい means something like “association”.
  • 提案・ていあん is a “proposition”.
  • 暴力行為・ぼうりょくこうい is a “violent act”.
  • 再発防止・さいはつぼうし is a word I learnt for JLPT N2! It means “prevention” (防止) of a “recurrence” (再発).
  • 委員会・いいんかい is also a N2 word which means “a committee”.
  • 設備・せつび is a word that I have on my Anki deck. It means “equipment”, “accommodation”.

Words I don’t know:

  • 理事解任. I don’t know this word but if I had to make a guess I would say that 解任 means “lose one’s responsibility, one’s post”. I know that 責任・せきにん means “responsibility” and that the kanji 解 means “dissolve”. I don’t know what 理事 is.
  • 相撲 I am sure I saw this word somewhere but I can’t remember what it means…
  • 親方 someone close?
  • 評議… The first kanji means “criticize” and the second “discussion” or something like that. Maybe the two together simply means “criticism”?
  • 員会 a reunion of members? Maybe another way to say 委員会?

So, what I understand from the first title is that a proposition is being discussed to see if a certain person will lose his or her post. I don’t know whether the association of something is the subject of the sentence (meaning, the members of the association are discussing whether someone should lose his post) or if the person will lose his or her post inside the association of something. Now that I think of it, it could also be both.

… hum, in other words, the meaning of the first title is still very vague for me.

The second title would be about the installation of a committee to prevent the recurrence of violence. Here again, is the Japanese association of something the subject that wants to prevent violence or is violence to be prevented among the members of this association?

If we put the two titles together, we can make a guess: a certain person will probably lose his or her post in an association because he or she was involved in a violent act. Therefore, this association is trying to find ways to prevent the recurrence of violence.

Well, if I spend some time thinking about what I know and what I can guess, I can reach a certain understanding of something that was very obscure at the beginning, even without using the dictionary. I enjoy this kind of exercise, I almost feel like a detective trying to solve a case with very few clues and trying to make sense of something that seems incomprehensible.

Now let’s use the dictionary and internet!

  • 相撲: this word pronunciation is: すもう… I knew it!! 😄 I just temporarily forgot…
  • As I thought 貴乃花・たかのはな is a name! Takanohana is a former sumo wrestler and a senior member of the Japan Sumo Association.
  • 親方・おやかた doesn’t mean “a person close” at all… It means “a master”, “a foreman”, “a supervisor”, “a boss”.
  • 理事・りじ means “director”
  • 解任・かいにん means “dismissal”, “removal from one’s post”.
    • These two words together mean “dismiss from the post of director”.
  • 評議・ひょうぎ doesn’t mean “criticism” but simply “conference”, “discussion”.
    • Together with 員会, “評議員会・ひょうぎいんかい” means “a council”, “a meeting of the board of trustees”, “a conference”.

To understand how all this is linked to violence, I had to check Japanese news in English. It seems that one of Takanohana’s stable junior wrestler was assaulted by another Sumo former grand champion, whose name is Harumafuji. The assault was violent enough to send the younger wrestler to hospital. This assault has apparently been a great scandal in Japan.

Concerning Takanohana, the problem is that he didn’t report this assault quick enough and didn’t collaborate with the association’s investigation, refusing to grant requests for interviews with himself or the assaulted wrestler. The Japan Sumo Association is, therefore, discussing whether to remove Takanohana from his post of director.

This is an interesting case, I don’t have the courage to read an article in Japanese about it, though…

Given the time I needed to understand these two titles, I will maybe need the whole year to read today’s newspaper. 😐