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Japanese

"May peace prevail on earth" in the traditional Japanese fontJapanese translation of May Peace Prevail on EarthIn Japan it is traditional to use the font seen at left for the Japanese translation. In the USA it is traditional to use the version at right since that is in the handwriting of the founder of the peace pole movement.

The founder, Masahisa Goi, was Japanese and could not know that he was starting a movement when he wrote the version seen at right. Native Japanese speakers seeing it for the first time have told me that it is confusing. The first half looks like an attempt at calligraphy while the second half does not. You can see how the first half is complicated and intricate, but the second half is not. But it is the founder's handwriting, so that became the tradition for peace poles in the USA.

There are times, like when cutting the text all the way through metal, that not enough metal is left to support the work when done in the handwritten version. When carved in stone even people who do not speak the language sometimes ask if some mistake has been made because the Japanese starts off so strong but then trails off so thinly.

I defer to what native speakers of Japanese use for the translation of their own language. The version at left is what I use unless someone requests that I use the one at right.