In 3D it’d be ２６方美人?
Literally: eight – direction – beauty – person
Alternately: Trying to be all things to all people. Originally this compound was read literally as a beautiful person who was without flaw no matter what angle or perspective you viewed them from. Over time, though, it took on a negative meaning. In contemporary Japanese, a happoubijin is someone duplicitous (octoplicitous?), who in their desperation to be universally loved, take pains to seem agreeable to everyone they meet. Apparently this derive comes from the Meiji era, when it was used to describe politicians who refused to allow their actual beliefs to be pinned down and identified.
Notes: The idea of “eight directions” crops up repeatedly in Chinese and Japanese, these days often in a martial-arts context. The four cardinal directions around a person (north, east, west, south), plus the four directions that fall halfway between those, are thought to sufficiently describe a full circle. This motif can be found everywhere from the Bagua octagon to contemporary karate’s tendency to move, turn, or point in multiples of 45 degrees.
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