Cobra Kai: Scroll I ‘先生其心’ (Miyagi-D0 Dojo)

Training Hall of Master Miyagi (1925-2001)

As a professonal forensic translator, I was asked about the meaning of one of this Japanese scrolls that occur in the TV Series Cobra Kai – which is a follow up (of nearly 40 years) of the Karate Kid series of films. . The scroll on the left uses old Chinese ideograms preserved in Japan – but used in a way only readable by native Japanese speakers. The scroll reads ‘先生其心’ which in the Japanese language is pronounced ‘Sen Sei Sono Kokoro’. In the Chinese language, the same four characters are pronounced ‘Xiān Shēng Qí Xīn’. Armchair pseudo-translaters are feeding this phrase into a generic translation machine and are triumphantly announcing ‘this refers to a Mr Qi Xin!’ No it does not. Interestingly, the manner in which this Japanese phrase has to be translated into ‘readable’ Chinese ideograms is ‘老师的思想’ (Lao Shī De Si Xiang). This can be translated as ‘Masterful Profound Thoughts’, or ‘Thoughts and Ideas of the Master’ and ‘Masterful Thoughts Emerge from the Mind’, etc.

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