Honma Junji’s “Kun” in “Kunzan”

This is just a very brief post but I thought that it might be of interest. As most of you know, Dr. Honma Junji (本間順治, 1904-1991) used the  Kunzan (薫山), which means literally “fragrant mountain.” Kind of odd meaning, isn’t it. But background is the following: Dr. Honma had a certain habit when examining swords, namely making sniffing noises all the time he focused on the blade. Now sniffing is kunkun (クンクン) in Japanese, an onomatopoeic expression, and one day one of his colleagues at the board for the protection of cultural assets (for which he worked from 1950 to 1960) gave him the nickname Kun-san (クンさん), which means “Mr. Sniff.” So Dr. Honma took this nickname and made Kunzan out of it, or that is at least what he told Mrs. Watanabe from the Sano Museum about the origins of his  🙂


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