January 31, 2013

Tonan no Tsubasa (15)

Unlike Chinese, which pronounces a kanji only one way, kanji in Japanese can have multiple on'yomi (Chinese) and kun'yomi (Japanese) pronunciations. If that wasn't bad enough, as Peter Payne explains, "There's another way to read any kanji, and that's basically anyway you like, thanks to something called ateji (当て字)."

Ateji are denoted by superscripts and sidescripts (furigana) that provide substitute phonetic readings. See more examples and illustrations here.

For "passport" (旅券), the author substitutes the first kanji (旅), meaning "travel," with similar but obscure one (旌), meaning "flag tassel." When Rikou asks Shushou if she's seen traveling entertainers, the author creates another word (朱旌). Based on the antecedent, it means "red tasseled passport." The accompanying ateji spells out the word for a traveling entertainer.

Shusei (朱旌) lit. "red tassel"
Shushi (朱氏) lit. "red gentleman"
Shumin (朱民) lit. "red people"
Goushi (剛氏) lit. "strong gentleman"
Koumin (黄民) lit. "yellow people"
Koushu to tami (黄朱の民) lit. "people of the yellow and red"

A rokushoku (鹿蜀), lit. "Szechwan deer," is a creature that in Chinese mythology either resembles a zebra or a cross between a tiger and a horse. Shoukei rides one in chapter 21 of A Thousand Leagues of Wind.

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# posted by Anonymous utauchan
Thank you so much for continuing your Twelve Kingdoms translations.
Have a nice day. ^^
1/31/2013 7:29 PM

# posted by Anonymous JP
pg 142 "a youma unlikely to pick you out unless" is missing an 'is'.

Gankyuu has been so silent the last few chapters. I want to know what he is thinking!

Rikou seems to be taking on Rakushun's role of the explainer. The terminology in the series may be confusing at times, but it makes for a world that feels more real.
2/01/2013 12:41 AM

# posted by Blogger Eugene
Fixed. Thanks.
2/01/2013 1:00 PM

# posted by Anonymous Vittoria
Thank you a lot for the translation. I've long wanted to read this novel.
2/02/2013 6:23 AM