November 19, 2017

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Constitution and Martial Arts

One day, when I met a foreigner in Tokyo, I asked him what had brought him to Japan. His reply was, “Kenpo.”

In Japanese, “kenpo” is the word for “Constitution.” So I asked him, “You came to Japan to study the Constitution?”

However, I noticed that he looked puzzled at this question, and made a gesture like below.

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I finally realized that he had meant martial arts, rather than Constitution.

The word, “kenpo” means both “martial arts,” and “Constitution,” in Japanese. However, the kanji to write both of them is different.

拳法 (kenpo) means martial arts, while 憲法 (kenpo) means Constitution.

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