Odd furigana

Reading a graphic novel. Has lots of furigana but some a bit odd in that they don’t match the kanji. Couple of examples: 予見 has さきみ (previously seen?) and another 紋章 has マ-ク. Is that supposed to be a play on words?

1 Like

It’s pretty common in manga, you can add extra levels of pun/double meaning. Often you will have a very old fashioned kanji word with a slangy or 英和 furigana “translation”. Manga with magic spells or ninja techniques are prone to this.


It would be helpful to have a little bit of context, but these are generally special readings called Gikun which are either used to define an unfamiliar word to the audience, such as マーク being given 紋章 since in this case “Mark” likely has some kind of “crest” meaning in the sentence. Or in the other example it can give some more depth to the meaning of the word, or guide the specific interpretation that the author wants. Like using 予見 in context likely hints at some kind of foresight, divination or something more than just the mundane.


Aye, the Aria manga has a lot of them. For example, it’s set on Mars, but a Mars that has been terraformed to the extent that it’s now covered in water, so it’s been renamed Aqua. When’s used in dialogue, though, it’s usually written as 火星アクア - it’s telling the reader that what they’re saying is “Aqua”, but what they mean is Mars. Similarly, when they refer to the Earth, it’s written as 地球マンホーム - what they’re saying is “Manhome”, but what they mean is “Earth”.

But yeah, sometimes you can use one kanji’s reading to give a different kanji a different subtext. Like… um… 山田こいつ - the speaker is referring to Yamada, who is standing next to them, with こいつ, but to make it clear to us that it’s Yamada who’s being referred to, his name is included as well.


Which is quite difficult when you can’t read the original kanji🙃


Still, if you look at it like this, just understanding the furigana meaning should give you enough to just keep on reading. You might not have understood everything fully, but you still got the main contextual meaning of the sentence.

Like a “mark” of some sort, is enough to get the general drift of a what a “crest” is.


I’d say it’s common enough outside manga as well, I’ve seen it from time to time in regular novels as well.

As an example, I just started reading the Japanese translation of the Wheel of Time books, and all the made up words from the English version have been given explanatory kanji like 異能者アエズ・セダーイ春祭ベル・タイン男性源サイディーン and 女性源サイダール

Even the titular Wheel of Time is amusingly referred ot as 時の車輪タイム・ホイール :slight_smile:


True. I am not complaining i have grown to like reading but it is kinda annoying if they stopped putting the real reading of the kanji(i have seen furigana once that had kanji i couldn’t read either lol)


Classic example to add to everyone else’s


Those also makes me feel

I also wished they could keep on adding furigana to names of characters and not just in the beginning, because, believe it or not, I can’t remember all characters’ kanji and their readings just on the first try. :pensive:

Still, lots of reading have gotten me mostly used to the double speak of Japanese! ^^;


Lyricists do it all the time too. In evolution by Ayumi Hamasaki her written lyric is 地球 but she sings 星 as one example.


It took me years to figure out how those were pronounced but it seems so simple written out in Katakana. What are Egwene and Nynaeve spelled as?


I’ll do one better, they’ve even got pictures of the central characters at the start of the book:

(One odd thing I’ve noticed is that they tend to make “a” in names into え, so Shai’tan becomes シェイ=タン for instance)


Gokushufudo does this ALL the time in jokes to show the difference between what the main character Tatsu is actually trying to say vs how people around him interpret his words based on his yakuza looks. In one memorable instance, he’s talking to some housewives about beans, but based on his dramatic telling, they think he’s really talking about bullets. So it’s written 弾丸マメ. I really enjoy these puns, it’s used to pretty hilarious effects in the series!


How are you finding the book so far? I’ve never read the English version because I’ve heard all the memes about the amount of hair tugging and arms folding that the female characters do, lol.

I’ve read a few of the books in Swedish twenty-odd years ago and I liked them a lot back then, though I hadn’t really read any other fantasy at the time, so I didn’t have much to compare them with.

I think, that like I did with LotR, I also lost interest later on when it became more about epic wars.

I do remember never really finding any of the main female characters particularly sympathetic, even when they become common PoV characters later on.

I’m not that far yet though, basically the (lenghty) introduction is over and monsters have attacked. There’s been time for some arms-crossing from Nynaeve though :slight_smile:

Some (OK, quite a lot of) thoughts on the Japanese version specifially:

As is to be expected when translating between such different languages, the feeling
of the prose changes a lot (perhaps even entirely). I think I prefer the English/Swedish prose, but that doesn’t mean I think the Japanese one is bad. I might end up finding it bland-ish, but I’m definitely not put off by it so far.

One thing that super bugs me though is the translation choice of having main character Rand Al’Thor constantly referred to by his surname (from the narration as well as every single person). Nobody else is referred to by surname, and it gets super weird at times, such as when his father Tam Al’Thor keeps calling his son “Al’Thor”… or when the narration talks about “Al’Thor and his father Tam”…

I googled a bit and found a quora thread where someone explained that it’s supposedly to avoid confusion between Rand (ランド) and Lan (ラン), but surely those are distinct enough?

Apart from that I’m also finding that the translator is kind of heavy on the stereotypical gender/age speech patterns, so every girl is あたし (Nynaeve called herself あたくし whne trying to sound pompous…) and use a lot of わ, all the boys are おれ and the older men (Including Rand’s dad, who’s not that old) are わし…

I think they could have been made their speech a bit more individualistic since Japanese is so good at that… like I’d have imagined smithy-boy and later wolf brother Perrin would be more timid and polite (perhaps preferring ぼく?) but he’s just as much a typical gruff teenager as the rest I feel.

Hmm interesting - I think I’ll give it a miss then, thanks!

1 Like

Explanatory Kanji for words that don’t exist in Japanese is common enough in material that warrants it. But the other usage is kind of heavy-handed and not the kind of thing I’d say is common in well-written material. There are better literary devices to use.