Damashi Peer Review – Careful With That Spelling!

    June 19, 2003

I had a look at the Damashi site and, to tell the truth, I found it tacky, uninviting, and less than informative about what is actually on the site. Even a banner saying ‘Book of the Month’ above the tome shown on the home page would give a clue that more treasures lie within.

But here there is one issue I would particularly like to raise: their URL.

Given that they have the Chinese character for ‘spirit’ on their home page, the name of the site is obviously based on an appeal to the ‘spirit’ of karate. The character for spirit is found in Japanese words like ‘Yamato-damashii’ (‘Japanese spirit’). The hallmarks of the Japanese spirit are a masculine valour, honour, and refusal to be defeated. By using a Japanese word they assumedly hope to associate themselves with the mystique of the Orient.

The problem is that they’ve got it wrong! The character they show on the home page is only read ‘-damashii’ in combination with other words, as in the example ‘Yamato-damashii’. The normal reading is ‘tamashii’.

What is worse, they’ve left the second ‘i’ off the end of ‘-damashii’. That gives a completely different meaning — ‘damashi’ in Japanese means ‘deceit’ or ‘deception’. This is not a particularly inviting name for a Japanese-related site. Quite frankly, it makes them look like amateurs trying to pass off as Oriental cool but failing to do so. Given that their market is probably as unsophisticated as they are, this may not matter. But it certainly detracts from the attractiveness of their site for anyone who has a passing knowledge of Japanese.

Greg Pringle

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