Friday, June 29, 2012

The emperor was incensed at his audacity and proclaimed that because only Takamura was able to read the scroll, he must have been the one who put it up in the first place. Takamura however pleaded his innocence, saying that he was simply deciphering the meaning of the scroll. The emperor said, “Oh, so you can decipher any writing, can you?” and asked Takamura to read a row of twelve characters for child (?): “子子子子子子子子子子子子”. Takamura immediately responded: neko no ko no koneko, shishi no ko no kojishi (猫の子の子猫、獅子の子の子獅子?), using the variant readings ne, ko and shi/ji for the character; this translates to “the young of cat ( neko?), kitten (子猫 koneko?), and the young of lion (獅子 shishi?), cub (子獅子 kojishi?).” The emperor was amused by Takamura’s wit and removed the accusation.


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