I am a Cat (Chapter 7 b) Section 222 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

さあ猿股さるまた出来できなかはばのきくのは車夫しゃふばかりである。あまり車夫が猿股をつけて天下てんが大道だいどう我物顔わがものがお横行おうこう濶歩かっぽするのをにくらしいおもってけん化物ばけものろく年間ねんかん工夫くふうして羽織はおり無用むよう長物ちょうぶつ発明はつめいした。すると猿股の勢力せいりょくとみおとろえて、羽織全盛ぜんせい時代じだいとなった。八百屋やおや生薬屋きぐすりや呉服屋ごふくやみんなこの大発明家だいはつめいか末流ばつりゅうである。猿股、羽織期のあとのがはかま期である。これは、なん羽織くせ癇癪かんしゃくおこした化物の考案こうあんになったもので、むかし武士ぶしいま官員かんいんなどは皆この種属しゅぞくである。かように化物ばけものどもがわれもわれもとてらしんきそって、ついにはつばめかたどった畸形きけいまで出現しゅつげんしたが、退しりぞいてその由来ゆらいあんずると、なに無理矢理むりやり出鱈目でたらめ偶然ぐうぜん漫然まんぜんがった事実じじつではけっしてない。皆ちたい勝ちたいの勇猛心ゆうもうしんってさまざまの新形しんがたとなったもので、おれは手前てまえじゃないぞとれてあるくかわりにかぶっているのである。してるとこの心理しんりからして一大いちだい発見はっけん出来でき。それはほかでもない。自然しぜん真空しんくうごとく、人間にんげん平等びょうどうきらと云うことだ。すでに平等を嫌ってやむを衣服いふく骨肉こつにくのごとくかようにつけまと今日こんにちにおいて、この本質ほんしつ一部分いちぶぶんたるこれちやってもと杢阿弥もくあみ公平こうへい時代じだいかえのは狂人きょうじん沙汰さたである。よし狂人の名称めいしょうあまんじても帰る事は到底とうてい出来ない。帰った連中れんじゅう開明人かいめいじんから見れば化物である。仮令たとい世界せかいなん億万おくまん人口じんこうげて化物のいきずりおろしてこれなら平等だろう、みんなが化物だからずかしい事はないと安心あんしんしてもやっぱり駄目だめである。世界が化物になった翌日よくじつからまた化物の競争きょうそうはじまる着物きものをつけて競争が出来なければ化物なりで競争をやる。赤裸あかはだかは赤裸でどこまでも差別さべつててくる。このてんから見ても衣服はとうてい事は出来ないものになっている。

Rough translation

The invention of undershorts, then, set rickshaw men apart and above. The rest of the brutes burned with envy as these rickshaw men, sporting their undershorts, traversed the land's thoroughfares, hither and yon, as though they owned them. Not to be outdone, they toiled for six long years, and the fruit of their effort was the good-for-nothing haori. Undershorts were suddenly passé, and the new haori was all the rage. Green grocers, druggists, and drapers are all descended from the haori's originator. Undershorts had their heyday, the haori had its heyday, and next came the hakama. This was conceived by still more brutes, fed up with and unimpressed by those who sported haori. The former warrior class, or today's government officials, number among this lot. Thus it was that brute upon brute, in a chain of "me too" one-upmanships, competed for novelty and distinction, even adopting the swallow tail as a design theme. Taking a step back, however, and examining this history from a fresh perspective, there's nothing about it that's forced, haphazard, coincidental, or purposeless. All of these new styles merely attest to man's dauntless determination to prevail over his peers. Rather than shouting out his individuality as he strolls the byways, he wears it on his person. In which case, the underlying psychology leads one to a great revelation. I'll share with you what that is. It's that just as nature abhors a vacuum, man detests mediocrity. From this present state, where his loathe for mediocrity has compelled him to adorn himself in clothing dear as flesh and bone, to strip him now of this essence, reverting back to a former age when all men were equal in their nakeness, is utter insanity. Even if insanity suits one, there's no going back. Those going back, in the eyes of enlightened society, would be nothing but brutes. Supposing even, for sake of argument, that all the millions and millions of men were pulled back into their former realm. Would all then be equal? All men would be brutes, so none would feel shame. All the same, it wouldn't last. On day one, the rivalry of brutes would re-emerge. If clothing were removed from the picture, the rivalry of brutes would find an alternate form. Stark naked man, stark naked though he be, would toil after distinction. Looking at it this way, man once clothed can never discard his clothes.

Vocabulary

猿股さるまた shorts; drawers; underpants出来できる can make; can bring aboutなか the world; societyはばのきく gain influence; be exalted車夫しゃふ rickshaw puller; cart man天下てんが under heaven; in this world大道だいどう main streets; avenues; thoroughfares我物顔わがものがお looking as if one owned the place横行おうこう濶歩かっぽする swaggerにくらしい odious; objectionable; loathsomeおもって think of; consider; regard (as)けん competitive spirit; sense of rivalry化物ばけもの monsters; brutesろく年間ねんかん six years工夫くふうして contrive; devise; innovate; invent羽織はおり haori (Japanese half-coat)う known as; referred to as無用むよう長物ちょうぶつ useless object; deadwood; fifth wheel発明はつめいした invented; came up with勢力せいりょく potency; force; influenceとみに suddenly; all at onceおとろえて decline; decay; fall away全盛ぜんせい golden age; heyday時代じだい time; days; period八百屋やおや greengrocers生薬屋きぐすりや apothecaries; drugists呉服屋ごふくや drapersみんな all; everyone大発明家だいはつめいか great inventor; master innovator末流ばつりゅう descendants time; age; periodあと afterる come; arriveはかま hakama (men's formal pleated skirt)なんだ what the; damnくせに for just a ...癇癪かんしゃくおこした were annoyed; were fed up; were bent out of shape考案こうあん conception; inventionむかし long ago; former times武士ぶし warriors; samuraiいま now; the present官員かんいん government officialsこの種属しゅぞく of this type; of this sort化物ばけものども all the beasts; all the brutesてらい accentuate one's uniquenessしんきそって compete on noveltyつばめ swallow tailかたどった modeled on; patterned after畸形きけい strange shape出現しゅつげんした arrived; appeared退しりぞいて taking a step back由来ゆらい source; derivation; historyあんずる investigate; considerなにも (no)thing無理矢理むりやりに through compulsion出鱈目でたらめに randomly; haphazardly偶然ぐうぜんに by chance; coincidentally漫然まんぜんに aimlesslyがった arose; occurred事実じじつ truth; realityけっして by (no) meansちたい fight to win; wish to prevail勇猛心ゆうもうしん dauntless spirit; unfaltering determinationって be concentrated into; solidify; congeal新形しんがた new style手前てまえ youれて proclaim; declare; broadcastかわりに instead of; rather thanかぶって put on; wearしてると in which case心理しんり mentality; psychology一大いちだい one great ...発見はっけん discovery; finding出来できる form; take shape; come about自然しぜん nature真空しんくう vacuumむ detest; abhor人間にんげん human beings; humans; men平等びょうどう equality; samenessきらう loathe; dislike; be averse toこと fact; state of affairsやむをず necessarily; unavoidably衣服いふく clothing; clothes骨肉こつにく flesh and bone; one's own bodyつけまとう wrap in; wear around今日こんにち now; the present day本質ほんしつ essence; character; true nature一部分いちぶぶんたる are a part of; are integral toこれ theseちやって send off; dispatch; drive awayもと杢阿弥もくあみ back at the beginning; back where one started公平こうへい fairness; equity時代じだい age of; time ofかえる return; revert (to)狂人きょうじん lunatic; madman沙汰さた affair; act of名称めいしょう name; titleあまんじて be happy with; be ready to accept到底とうてい by (no) means連中れんじゅう company; lot開明人かいめいじん civilized men; enlightened men eye; viewpoint仮令たとい even if; supposing世界せかい the worldなん億万おくまん however many millions and millions人口じんこう population; habitantsげて all; en masseいき region; level; realmずりおろして pull down; drag back downずかしい embarrassed; ashamed安心あんしんして be assured; be free of concern駄目だめ no good; useless; in vain翌日よくじつ next day競争きょうそう competition; rivalryはじまる begin; commence着物きもの clothing; garments赤裸あかはだか stark naked (men or people)差別さべつ distinction; differentiationててくる work to establishてん point; vantageぐ take off; strip off; shed