Continuing on what Kuku & Yarona were saying— i mean what we were saying in Kuku & Yarona I’m actually not sure if i should call the featured image kuku or roro (´・ω・`)
that actually depends on what our definition is of “bent” if we consider the hi-fingers bent this would be roro or 66 if not tis just kuku 😛
But enough about that! this post will not be about that instead it about why in japanese counting they usually count yon instead of shi and why that’s even relevant to finger binary (´・ω・`) The answer can be given in one word “tetra-phobia”.
……well that’s a mouthful let me try and explain.
As we’ve seen in the Origin of the Hinishiya Hero Japanese have different ways of counting, but that post didn’t explain why Japanese have so many counting systems…..
The reason is simple: Kanji.
Kanji makes Japanese look very similar to Chinese to beginners and the reason for that is also simple:Kanji was imported from Chinese into Japanese. For that reason kanji have at least two readings “on” reading which is kinda a “chinese way” of reading them, based on the japanese perception of “chinese sounds” aka how they hear chinese vocabulary and “kun” reading which the “japanese way” of reading them based on japanese vocabulary. TLDR; kanji are “loan words”.
Kanji don’t natively convey how they should be read, in fact they only natively convey meaning. Think traffic signals xD. the reading is usually determined by context or convenience. And if that wasn’t enough they have a lot of homophones— words that sound the same, which brings us back to our original topic: Shiyon〜
It so happens that shi, the word we use for 4, sounds exactly like they’re word for drumroll DEATH‽ that’s right 4 and death are homophones………luckily the japanese have a synonym for 4: yon, the Chinese weren’t so lucky. there you go now you know why chinese and japanese are not a fan of the number 4 but that begs the question why in the world did i then choose to name the middle finger “shi”…………
Wait a minute‽ We have discussed up till now what gestures mean in finger binary, but all the gestures had multiple fingers raised! Like hiniya, kuku & yarona. So what happens when only one finger is raised? the answer lies in the intro of this post 😉
“if we consider the hi-fingers bent this would be roro or 66 if not tis just kuku”
So conversly if we consider the hi on both hands as “raised” then it is just 99 as we’ve discussed in the post linked earlier. But if we consider both of them “bent” then only “ni” is raised on both hands, which would be roro or 66. Where ni on hite is 2 and ni on minite is 64!
What does this mean? this means that the gestures for 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512 each have one finger raised! And which fingers would be raised for 4 and 128?
you got it our “death” fingers, our “shi” fingers, our middle fingers! yes that very finger that most people use to show frustration! What a coincedence! And that’s isn’t enough “shi” looks like a fairly familiar word used in english to vent frustration as well orz
But wait, there’s more we haven’t mentioned the different combinations possible 1 finger gestures! But to stay relevant to this post the gestures that use the “shi” gesture. There are 63 of them! They are: 4, 36, 68, 100, 128, 129, 130,131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 164, 196, 228, 260, 292, 324, 356, 388, 420, 452, 484, 516, 548, 580, 612, 644, 676, 708, 740, 772, 804, 836, 868, 900, 932, 964 and 996
Fes that’s quote few…….we should give them names, no? :3
Let’s start with the most “dangerous” of them all 132: this one involves raised the “shi” finger on both hands! what could be worst then that lahahaha!
to give them a name we can use goroawase as usual……and it turns out both “himitsu” and “hissatsu” are possible names xD
uncanny, no? what is uncanny? In case you haven’t checked the links yet “himitsu” is a Japanese word that means “secret”! While hissatsu is also a Japanese word that can mean “deadly”, both of which seem so fitting :^3 also note we used different syllables for ni and mi in this case‽
Now for the rest!
Up till just now we’ve used consistent names for 1-9…..with the exception of 5 because we haven’t encountered it yet. Up till now we have used
0, hi, ni, mi, shi, 5, ro, na, ya and ku. So we need names for 0 and 5 to cover our shi list :3 After consulting the wikipedia page for goroawase and the shi list “ko” looks like an idea for 5 and “ma” for 0
As the shilist is rather long it would be boring to just list it off…as such maybe we could make poem out of it :3
so without further ado here is the shi “poem”:
miro, roya, himama,
himihi, himini, himimi, himishi,
himiko, himiro, himina, himiya,
hishihi, hishini, hishimi, hishishi,
hishiko, hishiro, hishina, hishiya,
hikohi, hikoni, hikomi, hikoshi,
hikoko, hikoro, hikona, hikoya,
hikoku, hiroshi, hikuro,
niniya, niroma, nikuni,
minishi, mikoro, miyaya,
shinima, shikoni, shiyashi,
kohiro, koshiya, koyama,
rohini, roshishi, ronaro,
namaya, nashima, nanani,
yamashi, yamiro, yaroya
kumama, kumini, kuroshi, kukuro.
Phew pretty long, huh? And it doesn’t really sounds like a poem
∠(｀・ω・´) As it is so long, here’s some highlights: it turns out some like hiniku and kohiro sound like legit words :3
kohiro sounds like a pun on “little hero” and hiniku is the Japanese word for “irony”!
That said, we used the consistent names we’ve been using since the first post for this “poem”, as can be seen in “himini” instead of “himitsu” or “hissatsu.” Words like hishishi sounds “off” as such we could still improve the “poem” by using alternate reading, for example if we use “yo” for the second “shi” in hishishi it’d would be “hishiyo” which with some grammar magic can mean “secret book” among others.
But wait doesn’t hiniya sound familiar? hiniya………hiniya………wait a minute isn’t that the name of the first post?! Turns out that’s the first ambiguous word we have created! How did this happen? It happened because we chose the same syllable to name our numbers as we did our fingers :3 The result is we have a hiniya gesture and a hiniya number! This is not the only ambigious word we will created either. In fact any combination of hi, ni, shi and ya in that order will be ambiguous! In fact there are exactly nine others matter for us: hinishi(7/124), hishiya(13/148), nishiya (14/248), hini(3/12), hishi(5/14), hiya(9/18), nishi(6/26), niya(10/28) and shiya(12/48).
The 5 we’ve not included hinishiya, of which the number representation is larger then we’ll be using aka 1248 is larger then we count on both hands and it’s components hi, ni, shi and ya which represent both the gesture and the number accurately….. to be complete the final one 16 also represents both the gesture and the number and is already used as a number in the gestures so that one won’t cause trouble :3
If we want to resolve the issues caused by these 10 numbers all we need to do is use different names for numbers in question like instead of hiniya for 128 we could call it iniya :^3