Thursday, January 18, 2018

Public Use / Official Use ?

Chinese characters are widely used in Japan. But after divergent usage over many hundreds of years (often over a thousand years), meanings became slightly different.

I've become intrigued by the characters 公用

In China, it seems this consistently means "public use"

In Japan however, it's often "Official Use Only - Stay Away!"

Very different, almost opposite meanings...

Of course, Japan's paradise for officialdom, with many cumbersome administrative processes, and an army of paper-pushing bureaucrats (each convinced their own non-productive work is essential).

I'm still getting to grips with this difference; further reports as I discover more.