勇壮な鯉【The Magnificent Carp】

We all know the Hiroshima Carp baseball team. We also know that the flying carp of Boy’s Day represent the strength and good qualities associated with the carp. Those excellent characteristics are those which we want boys to possess. Probably you are aware that the carp is a strong fish and can live for many years. Some people say that they live for over 40 years and can live out of water for longer than most fish. They are indeed hardy.


In English, ‘carp’ has no plural form. Few fish do. The carp tradition originated in China, where it is considered the “King of Fish.” As such it was treated much like the Sea Bream is in Japan today. One story is that Confucius was given a carp on the birth of his son and was so pleased that he called his son, “Li.” which means “Carp.”


Many carp raised in Japan are most beautiful. Some are golden, some black, white and gold and called, “brocade carp.” These carp have been popular as pets, and points of beauty for gardens since the Edo Era (1600 – 1867). Some natural carp are eaten and the colors will disappear if proper breeding techniques are not used.

日本で飼われている鯉は、とても美しいものです。金色の鯉もいれば、黒、白、金色の混ざった鯉もいて、「錦鯉」と呼ばれます。 ニシキゴイは、江戸時代(1600〜1867)から観賞用として、また庭園に美しさを添えるものとして人気が高まりました。自然に住む鯉は食用になり、美しい色は適切な方法で育てないと消えてしまいます。

One good example of this is that during the flood in Matsue, over 20 years ago, many ponds with lovely carp were filled up with water. The fish escaped into Lake Shinji and the moats around the castle. Being tough, they lived under the changed conditions, but as they freely bred, the colors became the original dull color. We can see them in the lake and moats.


The biggest and most impressive carp I’ve seen are found at the Yakumo An Soba Shop. I go there often and always visit the carp pond to watch these magnificent monsters of the carp family. The master of the shop feeds them carefully and always has time to show off his beloved carp to the tourists, with whom Yakumo An is popular. They are worth seeing. Carp are part of the Japanese culture and people of other countries appreciate their beauty, and the peace and calm this creature represents and inspires.

これまでで、最も大きく印象に残った鯉は、塩見縄手にあるそば屋「八雲庵」で見た鯉です。私は、この店をたびたび訪れますが、行くたびに池を泳ぐ勇壮な鯉の群れを眺めます。店のご主人は、鯉に優しくえさをやり、大事な鯉が観光客によく見えるようにしてくれます。八雲庵は観光客に人気のある店です。ここの鯉は一見の価値があります。 鯉は日本文化の一部であり、外国の人々にも、鯉の美しさと、この生き物が与えてくれる安らぎと静けさは理解できるのです。

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