(Lake Ass… or Lake Mouth…)
These posts have been getting longer and longer. Not sure which is better; short, concise posts or the long involved ones? I reckon somewhere in the middle is best. But please tell me, dear reader, what length is ideal for you.
Well, today is a busy day for me, so I’m going to try to keep this as short as possible.
In Tōkyō’s Setagaya Ward, there is an area called 池尻 Ikejiri (Lake Ass). The first kanji is 池 ike lake. This is the same character we saw in Ikebukuro. The second character, 尻 shiri, means “ass” or “butt.” So obviously this town’s name means LAKE ASS.
In Japanese, there is a word 川尻 kawajiri which means the “mouth of a river.” So in this case, we are looking at another generic place name. In this case, 池尻 means the “mouth of a lake.” In the early Edo Period, there was a nearby village called 池沢 Ikezawa “lake stream.” Although we don’t have good maps of the area, it’s probably safe to assume that the lake in these lowlands fed into a stream. It seems the lake and stream have dried up, but the name stuck.
It should be noted, this is a common family name as well. But because this area is located in a 低地 teichi depression/lowlands, it is reasonable to assume that the name doesn’t derive from a family name, but the terrain.*
* But it is true, that Japanese family names often derive from village/area names.