A small appendix: on the joys of acronyms

We wanted a snappy acronym that would convey the common core of our intellectual endeavours: engagement with early-modern sources in their original formats and all the written styles found in them. We considered many possibilities over Skype with our American friends at the University of Pennsylvania and in noisy pubs in the middle of Cambridge before hitting upon J-PATS. Among the long list of discarded suggestions were:


J-TIPS—Uncomfortably reminiscent of a popular brand of UK tea that is far from tea as we know it in Japan.

J-TIPNET— Might be mistaken for a website for criminal informers…or perhaps one offering tips to financial speculators. Neither our cup of tea.

J-PITS —Quickly rejected! Pit is a word singularly lacking in pleasant associations.

J-TXTPAL—We intend to create something more than a new social media site for texting our pals!


Then our friend Trevor came to the rescue with J-PATS. When you join our network, don’t expect to receive “a pat on the head” or “pat answers” to your queries. However, through hard work refining your skills in the fields of Japanese PAlaeography and Textual Scholarship, you will eventually be able to read primary sources that had previously appeared impenetrable to you. Then you can give yourself “PATS on the back”! Just when you think that your efforts are patto shinai ぱっとしない, you can work with us and at the end everything will patto suru ぱっとする. So, in the best spirit of those witty edokko 江戸っ子, let’s J-PATS!

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