Why "shinzou wo sasageyo" not "kokoro wo sasageyo"?

Hi everyone :slight_smile:
So when learning the difference between “shinzou” and “kokoro” as a translation for “heart”, I was under the impression that “kokoro” is the “symbolic” heart, the heart of love, the nice little red symbol that we all know how to draw, and that “shinzou” is the “real” heart, the messy spongy thing that actually beats in our chests.
So hearing the phrase “Shinzou wo sasageyo” as the rallying cry in Attack on Titan made me scratch my head a bit. As far as I understand (and also as the subtitles say), it means something along the lines of “let’s devote our hearts” . Soo shouldn’t it be kokoro, as the “symbolic” heart ? Does using shinzou somehow makes the statement stronger ? Or does the phrase imply something along the lines “let’s offer our actual, physical hearts” (for the titans to devour perhaps) ?


Aye, “shinzou” is the actual physical organ - 心臓 is the kanji, and 臓 means “organ” (you’ll learn it at level 34).

But yeah, I think the idea is that they’re pledging all their squishy bits in the defense of the city. Do or die, sort of thing.


I assume Erwin was going for that sweet alliteration. And the meter flows better on “shinzō wo sasageyo” than on “kokoro wo sasageyo”, imho.


Rather, “lay down your life for the cause” or “risk your life fighting” is how I’ve interpreted the phrase. So, your literal heart is what they’re pledging to risk. After all, they ask people to most likely get kill in action.


Sure, can’t argue that ahah, definitely sounds better. But I don’t know how interchangeable the two words are for a native japanese speaker, like if it is “acceptable” to replace one by the other if it sounds better. Other answers seem to confirm that he does mean “shinzou” not “kokoro” though

I think that 心臓 can still be used metaphorically, despite that it refers to a physical heart organ. Sometimes that makes the meaning all the more emotional. Another example I can think of is in the vocaloid song こころなし, where most of the lines, like the title, use the word こころ but there’s one that goes 心臓は一つだけ “there’s only one heart (between the two of us)”. In this example the POV chatacter not having a physical heart is also a metaphor for their inability to love due to not being a physical being.


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