Publication details [#11500]

Yamada, Nobuaki. 1993. Metaphors of a pillar in English and Japanese. Licht und Wärme. In memory of A.-F. Christidis. 3 (2) : 53–64. 12 pp.


Observing different architectural and symbolic characteristics of pillars in Japan, and in Europe and America, the paper discusses differences in metaphorical uses of the terms related to a pillar in English and Japanese. The following three points are clarified in this discussion.1. Daikokubashira in Japan has a more important function than a pillar or column in Europe and America, in that the former has structural characteristics of supporting the load of a roof, whereas the latter usually does not. 2. Daikokubashira was regarded as more religiously sacred than a pillar. The fact led to the enhancement of the symbolic images of daikokubashira. 3. The symbolic image of daikokubashira was used to emphasize the patriarchal image of the emperor and the head of the family, whereas a pillar or column in Europe and America was not, in spite of its magnificent appearance. The use of the term daikokubashira as a slogan for the construction of pre-war Japan is attributed to a greater use of the term daikokubashira. Incidentally, nowadays the term daikokubashira has been used to refer to some variety of family members, reflecting the fact that there tends to be no central figure in a family. Consequently, a symbolic image of the term may fade away. (Nobuaki Yamada)