Well, it’s Election Day back in the States, so I thought we’d look at party names in translation.
The Republican Party – 共和党 (きょうわとう)
Unsure here, but this looks like a direct translation. 共和 is also used in a lot of country names, such as the Republic of Afghanistan (アフガニスタン共和国) and the Republic of Guatemala (グアテマラ共和国). Exciting.
Break it down by kanji and you get the “together-peace party.” Hmm…suspect.
The Democratic Party – 民主党 (みんしゅとう)
Here we have another direct translation. 民主主義 (みんしゅしゅぎ) is democracy, the theory, and looking on ALC for 民主 delivers a horde of political discourse.
Breaking it down by kanji gives us the “people’s-sovereignty party.” (Yes, the 主 is for 主権, sovereignty.) Hmm…suspect.
Honestly, party names themselves have so little meaning, that direct translation is the only way to go. We are so divorced from the moment when they actually meant something that they only seem like rusty, old institutions, starting to creak with age beneath the weight of generations.
Discourse, my friends, is a lie in any language.