Reading does not match Kanji (but is not Ateji either, I think?)

In this short manga I’ve read the other day, I noticed something strange:


The furigana reads 今日 even though 翌日 (よくじつ) is meant, apparently, and I wonder why that is? Obviously “today” and “the following day” aren’t the same thing. Why not just write 今日 in the first place?


From my understanding, sometimes the writer/artist will choose certain kanji to better express a nuance they’re going for for some words, so it will be “said” one way (きょう), but will then assign a different, specific kanji to represent the word in writing (翌日)

So though they’re saying “today”, the nuance might be something you can only get my reading it and seeing that they use the kanji 翌日 to represent it, so they might actually be referring to something occurring the following day – but since I don’t know the context, I’m not entirely sure if this interpretation fits!

I also found this explanation on stackexchange that goes into a bit more detail about it, it’s basically a stylistic trick writers can utilize in written Japanese text to say one word, but provide an implication of something else by assigning a different kanji to the word

Example from the site:

Meaning: “You can’t be trusted”

They’re saying “おまえ/you”, but chose to use the kanji 泥棒 to represent it to give a nuance that “You can’t be trusted (because you are a thief)


MissMisc is right, a good example of this is the series 約束のネバーランド (The Promised Neverland) which is currently one of the most popular manga in Japan. The author Kaiu Shirai uses this technique on almost every page. The main characters in the series often speak to each other or think of people in multiple ways at once. One such example is when the kids call the caretaker “mother” but are also thinking that she is their “enemy”, and thus the author might have the reading be for “mother” but the actual kanji be “enemy”.


This is a commonly used technique, as described by the previous posters.

and here is another neat example to convey 2 meanings through one word in ホリミヤ

Edit, cause image quality is worse than on discord. hori says 堀家 ほりけ and the furigana says うち

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Here’s an older thread on the topic:


It does fit, thank you! :blush: I wasn’t sure whether the full sentence and/or context would have been necessary for a single word, but yeah it’s just like you said.

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Cheers! I’m watching the video you posted and now I feel called out because that’s exactly how I memorized the on’yomi for 輪, haha…

Commonly used technique in Manga as it is a way to make things “deeper” without really making them harder. But it’s rare I see this in adult literature, or I feel even in Seinen Manga.

oh definitely, thanks for adding that part :smiley:

One use of furigana that I quite like the idea of is the Negima manga - Negi’s spells are written in kanji, but the furigana is written in katakana-ified Latin.

Ohhh. I just started reading the English version of this. So that’s why it comes across a little weird at times.

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