So, this has been bugging me for a long time now. I don’t understand Sword of the Stranger’s title. We know it’s supposed to translate to “Sword of the stranger” both because it’s the official name but also because the Soundtrack’s 24th song (and main theme) is called “異邦人の刃” (Ihojin no yaiba - sword of the stranger).
What the hell is 無皇刃譚 then? Jisho doesn’t have words for any combination of them. It seems like it’s 4 separate kanji? mukouhadan with mu for nothingness, kou for something emperor? ha for sword and dan for story? So tale of the nothing sword? Beats me…
And why were two alternate names used?
Maybe they just wanted to make their own yojijukugo? It can be fun. We’ve had threads where we make new ones here.
how would a japanese buyer know what the show is about though. Just from the abstract concept of the kanji meanings? “Sword of the Stranger” tells you a very specific thing, but mukouhadan could mean many things.
It’s not that different from making up a title from a fictional word in any other sense. Even if you used a real yojijukugo, many of them are difficult and not known to the average Japanese person.
If someone sees the title “The Mandalorian” or “The Hobbit” and they don’t know what a Mandalorian or a hobbit is, they have to use other information to decide if they want to watch / read it or not.
If I had to make a guess based on the kanji and similar titles in Chinese, I would say it’s something like ‘The Tale of the Emperorless Blade’. There’s no real way to know what that means without delving into the story, but it’s somewhat intriguing, I guess? That might attract readers. Also, if the story deals with foreigners and kingdoms, it could be a reference to a nomadic/travelling hero who isn’t bound by any one nation’s laws. That would be my guess.
That’s… surprisingly accurate
Hahaha. Is it? I’m surprised too. I guess it comes with experience. I quite like the fantasy genre, and I used to watch a lot of Chinese period dramas with 伝 or 譚 in their names, so perhaps I’m sort of used to the general outlines of these stories… The other reason I had that idea is because it reminded me of the concept of rōnin (the ‘masterless samurai’).
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