Self introduction and a question--reply

Bill Tyler tyler.20 at
Wed Aug 8 12:07:44 EDT 2007

Hello, Paul--I think what you are getting at is not "take action" as  
in the case of the verb/noun "kôdô" / 行動 which means "action" on
behalf of some cause or crusade.

Rather, as in a TV or movie filming, "action"
is a cue for the actors to get ready to perform or to be filmed.  In  
that case, the natural Japanese circumlocution is "honban" (or  
"honban desu" or
"honban ni hairimasu").

The characters are 本番 (本番です / 本番に入りま 

The "ban" in the same ban as in "ichi-ban" ("Number 1" / 一番).
It combines with "hon" (which does not mean "book" in this case) to  
mean "the real number" or "the real turn."  In other words, the  
performance at hand is the real thing
or the serious film shot as opposed to a rehearsal number.

When a director wants his/her actors to perform as though the show were
the real thing, s/he will announce this is the "honban".  I hope this  
is what you meant and that this helps.

On Aug 8, 2007, at 12:25 AM, Paul Arnold wrote:

> Hello, My name is Paul Arnold.  I am, among other things, an actor  
> and stage manager.  Right now, I'm working for a theatre in Texas,  
> USA.  I actually really love listening to  the Japanese language in  
> film.  I think the cadences of the language are so different and  
> musical from any of the European languages.
> One of the shows I'm working on at the moment is using some Asian  
> influence in the designs.  I've been trying to find the Japanese  
> calligraphy character(s) that equates to the way an English- 
> speaking film director might use the word "action!"  Even the  
> spelling of the appropriate word in the Latin alphabet would be  
> helpful (the Romanji spelling, I think is the term).
> Thank you in advance.
> Paul Arnold

William J. Tyler
Associate Professor, Japanese Language & Literature
Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures
Ohio State University
398 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Drive
Columbus, OH 43210-1340

Telephone (direct) 614-292-3184

tyler.20 at

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