It turns out he’s just following the local hospitality custom, though.

Take a look in the glossary of a textbook for learners of Japanese, and you’ll usually see the word daku defined as “hold” or “embrace.” However, daku also has another meaning: “to have sex with.”

With a little bit of grammatical tweaking, you can make the phrase “Daite yaru,” which translates as “I’ll have sex with you,” or “I’ll make love to you” if you’re feeling generous towards the speaker’s sentiments. So our Japanese-language reporter Meg was more than a little surprised to come across a poster in which an elderly Japanese man is pictured smiling and pouring a cup of sake for his unseen dinning and drinking companion, accompanied by text reading “Daite yaru.”

That’s not just any solicitous senior, though. That’s well-known 63-year-old rakugo comedian Shinosuke Tachikawa, a native of the city of Imizu, Toyama Prefecture. Making things even stranger is that the poster, which Meg spotted in Imizu, was made by the city’s tourism association.

While there may indeed be some travelers who could be convinced to visit Imizu based on the vague promises of carnal companionship from an older gentlemen, that seems like an awfully narrow niche market to target. So to get to the bottom of things, Meg decided to ask someone in the tourism association just what was going on.

▼ Meg, outside Imizu City Hall

Figuring she must be misinterpreting the poster’s message, she spoke to a representative who explained the real, at least in Toyama Prefecture, meaning of daite yaru.

“In Toyama, ‘Daite yaru’ is used to mean ‘It’s my treat.’

See, ordinarily in Japanese, “ogoru” is how you say “treat someone (to a meal, drink, etc.).” But you could also say “dasu,” which literally means “give/put out” but also means “pay,” and so “dashite yaru” means “I’ll pay for you.”

But in the Toyama dialect, the pronunciation of dashite gets slurred to daite, and dashite yaru becomes daite yaru. It’s most commonly used by older men, which makes hometown hero Tachikawa pretty much a perfect choice to appear on the poster along with the phrase.

Still, the Imizu Tourism Association is aware that to most of the rest of Japan, daite yaru is more about nighttime desires than dinnertime generosity. “We hope this poster helps spread awareness of our city,” said the representative, “by making people from outside the prefecture take a second look, and also gives a chuckle to Imizu’s residents. And if we can give people a sense of the warmth of the local dialect at the same time, that’s even better.”

Related: Izumi City Tourism Association
Photos ©SoraNews24
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