Now, one of the more potent tools in the comedian's tool box is the "binta" slap, or in its native Japanese katakana, ビンタ. Please see the example video below.
This video is a clip from the annual ガキの使い New Year's Special in which the cast of the show must endure 24 hours of not being able to laugh or else be punished. In this particular scene, which has gone on to become one of their best running gags, the very large and imposing former professional wrestler Chono (蝶野) is slighted in some manner, and Yamazaki gets blamed for it. Chono's favorite weapon of choice is the binta, which comes around 2:34. To date, Yamazaki has had to endure a binta from Chono every year for about 5 years now.
I've seen these specials countless times and have witnessed more bintas than I can remember, but it was today when I first wondered where the term "binta" actually came from.
|蝶野さん, executing his ビンタ on some poor soul.|
You see, the word ビンタ is in katakana, which is the Japanese syllabary used primarily for foreign words like hamburger (ハンバーガー) and Television （テレビ). So which language did Binta come from? I did some research and couldn't find the word binta or any variation of it in any other language. Curious.
I delved deeper and discovered that I couldn't find it because it actually is a Japanese word, albeit a bit of a misnomer. Bin (鬢) is the Japanese word for "sideburn", as in the hair on the side of the face. When a hand ("te" or 手) is applied to the side of the face, it becomes 鬢手, or "Binte". Over the years, and through some mix up with regional dialects and pronunciations, it became Binta, and since technically "binta" is not a Japanese word, but rather a bastardization of one, it was relegated to katakana status.
|This dude is totally getting slapped in the sideburns.|
So, another mystery solved. I'm so glad I finally figured out where the word for "slap" in Japanese comes from. But then, where does the word "slap" come from? Oh man, I've got some more research to do...
(By the way, something got messed up with my imageshack file of my hanko, so it won't be appearing here for a while. Try not to riot in the streets.)