Japanese News: North Korean in Pyeongchang

Some hours before the opening ceremony of Pyeongchang Olympics, I have chosen an article about North Korea’s delegation.

Link to the article: “米側と会わない” 北朝鮮 米副大統領と接触の可能性否定

This article mainly tells us that the delegation sent by North Korea to Pyeongchang will not take the Olympics as an opportunity to meet with Vice President Mike Pence or other U.S. officials who attend the opening ceremony.

Let’s have a look at some interesting words that can be used in other contexts:

We know that North Korea sends a delegation to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics. The verb to say “send” or “dispatch” is 派遣する・はけんする. This word is formal and used to say things like “dispatch an army” or “send a delegate”. But, used before a noun, it can take the meaning of “temporary”, with the idea that someone is dispatched temporarily somewhere to perform a task. For example, we can say “派遣社員・はけんしゃいん” which is a temporary worker from an agency. If a professor comes from another university to give conferences, he is a 派遣教授・はけんきょうじゅ, a visiting professor.

North Korea doesn’t have the “intention” to meet with U.S. officials. The word “intention” is 意向・いこう. To say “intend to do something” in a rather formal way, you can say “…する意向がある”, literarily “to have the intention to do…”. But 意向 can also mean “one’s mind”, what somebody wants to say. For example, I found the sentence “こちらの意向がうまく伝わっていないようだった”, which means “it didn’t seem as though our message was getting through to them”.

Our article says that “for the time being”, “at this point in time”, North Korea has denied any intention to meet with U.S representatives. The word 現時点・げんじてん means “present point in time” and is often used with the particle で like in 現時点では.

To North Korea, this visit to Pyeongchang is “purely and genuinely” 純粋に to participate in the games, not to discuss political matters. I knew the adjective 純粋な・じゅんすいな which means “pure”, “genuine”, but I didn’t know that it can be used adverbially like in English to say that you do something only for something. To give a similar example, I found the expression “純粋に趣味で…する” to say that you do something for pure enjoyment, without caring for the results.

To say the North Korean delegation will not “meet” U.S officials, the word used is “接触・せっしょく”. This is one of the first words I learnt in Japanese, it certainly was in some “2000 words” list book for beginners. However, I still feel very unfamiliar with it and I am sure that I never used it. 接触 has two meanings. The first is a physical contact but I don’t think that you would use 接触する in a casual situation. The second meaning, the one that interests us here, is “to come in contact with”. You can come into contact with someone 接触する, get a chance to meet someone …に接触する機会を探す, keep in touch with someone 接触を保つ or, on the contrary, lose contact 接触を断つ (たつ) or even avoid contact 接触を避ける.

That’s it for today, I will be watching the opening ceremony tonight!