Hi, this is PlumJucie, the head of Impatient Scans (and originally just an average member of Mangastream).
For a while now, you've probably noticed us posting some of our shoujo series here on Mangastream. Well, it's all thanks to Mangastream for graciously sharing their website with us! We don't have a reader, and we just post DDL links on our FB page.
This website isn't built for major floods of releases, so here is the list of series that we're bringing here:
And eventually, when we have more chapters ready:
If you didn't know already, these are the shoujo series we've already been posting here:
As for whether we'll keep up all the chapters we've done, or just do the latest 10 or so, I haven't decided yet. For now, I'm just upping whatever I have. Regardless, the DDLs will be available.
Forgot to mention, this flood is a one-time thing. We'll also be restricting our releases to just Tuesdays to avoid flooding away Jump. (Aside from our big 4.)
Hello again, DzyDzyDino here!
I wanted to talk about Furigana and some of the ways it’s used in manga.
Japanese can be written three ways. Two alphabets and kanji, which are Chinese characters (though they often have different meanings from their Chinese counterparts). Alphabets are alphabets. Collections of characters that individually mean nothing but make phonetic sounds you can put together to make words.
Kanji are “symbols” that each represent different words.
上, 下, 右, 左 = up, down, left, right.
春、夏、秋、冬 = Spring, summer, fall, winter.
赤、青、緑、黒、白 = Red, Blue, Green, Black, White.
Kanji can have multiple readings and these readings can change depending on context.
For example, 力 is read “chikara” and means power or strength.
人 is read “hito” and means person.
人力, however, is not read “hitochikara” but “jinriki” and means manpower (literally person power).
重 read “omo”, normally written out as an adjective as 重い “omoi” means heavy.
But 重力 isn’t read “omochikara”, and it isn’t read “omoriki”. It’s read “juuryoku” and means gravity (heavy power).
That’s at least three different ways to read 力 depending on context. But that’s only one of roughly 2,000 kanji that make up the most commonly used and taught ones.
With so many possible readings for so many kanji, the process of learning all (or most) of them isn’t something that happens overnight. Reading material aimed at younger audiences will almost always have “furigana” or “yomigana”. These are small characters written above (or to the right in the case of vertical oriented writing) the kanji giving the reading. This way you can start to recognize and associate the kanji with its reading and, ideally, eventually remember it.
Furigana gets used for other purposes as well, particularly in manga.
The most common and prevalent example is attack names. No manga would be complete without shouting out names of special attacks as you toss them out. For some reason, these moves always have English names, or German, or French, or Spanish, or something foreign. Sometimes, the name of the attack and the kanji used for have the same meanings.
For example, in Seven Deadly Sins, Merlin has an ability called “Perfect Cube” and it’s written,
完璧なる立方体 which is normally read “kanpeki naru rippoutai” and means “perfect cube”. In the manga, you would see 完璧なる立方体 with パーフェクトキューブ (Paafekuto Kyuubu) written next to it.
Sometimes the attack has a “cool” sounding name that gives one meaning, and then the kanji describes what the attack actually is. For example, back in Joseph Joestar’s younger days, he had a move called “Overdrive” オーバードライブ and the kanji for it was 波紋疾走 (Hamon Shissou).
The kanji literally translate to Ripple Rush or Ripple Dash, though in context of the series, Hamon would be left as Hamon as it’s a proper name of a technique. In this case, he uses this technique to project his Hamon energy out. Overdrive makes it sound like he’s overcharging his hamon energy, and then the kanji leads you to the meaning of him expelling it after charging it up. Also the “high-speed” imagery too.
Hunter X Hunter is an interesting example of all this. Togashi loooooves to have the kanji and the reading have a referential or witty connection rather than be connected by definition.
Let’s take Shalnark/Chrolo’s cellphone ability.
The ability uses a cellphone and antenna to control someone else and is called “Black Voice”, or ブラックボイス (burakku boisu).
It’s written as 携帯する他人の運命 or Keitai Suru Tanin no Unmei, which literally means Portable Someone Else’s Fate. You could probably call it something cool like Portable Fate, Mobile Phate (instead of mobile phone? No? Okay, nvm.), or slightly liberal but long-winded to match the original. “Another’s Fate in Your Hands”.
The portable/handheld part of the ability is what you call a cellphone in Japanese. 携帯電話 or Keitai Denwa: Portable/handheld phone.
Meanwhile Black Voice might give you an idea of a voice whispering sinister commands into someone’s ear, or whatever your imagination wants to do with it.
Another ability he had was called Sun and Moon (サンアンドムーン）with the kanji being 番いの破壊者 normally read Tsugai no Hakaisha and meaning Paired Destroyers or The Destroyer Pair/Couple.
Both parts together describe the ability. He places a sun symbol on one person and a moon symbol on another. When the two make contact, they explode. So, how would you translate that? Well… you don’t. Generally we call the move whatever the reading is. If it’s supposed to be read “Sun and Moon”, the move is called Sun and Moon. Our standard procedure is to put a translator note and say what the meaning of the kanji was.
Furigana can also be used to remind you of things, like again in Hunter X Hunter, the current arc has 14 Princes and remembering which is which can be a headache. Usually when they reference the princes in Hunter X Hunter, they’ll call them, for example, “First Prince” with the reading “Benjamin”. In that situation, we can just simply translate it to “First Prince Benjamin”, unless it’s like the third time it’s being said on one page, in which case I’d probably just leave it as Benjamin at that point.
Other times you’ll see it used for referential subtext, like someone saying あのバカ (ano baka, that idiot) with another character’s name given as the reading. So they’re saying “that idiot”, but we know who they’re talking about. Again, in these cases, it’s easy to translate to “that idiot, soandso”.
Sometimes you’ll even see ellipses given as a reading to insinuate something unspoken/unknown or sinister. Like if someone picks up the phone lookin’ all shady and says “I’ll get back to you about THAT INCIDENT”. With “THAT INCIDENT”, (あの事件), having ellipses for the reading. Meant to mean either “you know what incident we’re talking about and it ain’t good.” or “Whatever this is… it’s shady.”. Often, italics can get this across just adding stress to it.
Now that I’m doing these blogs regularly again, I’m doing my best to collect interesting examples. I’ll try to see if I can start embedding screenshots of panels too. I know I glossed over a lot of stuff, this already ran long as is. I wanted to talk about a lot more but I’ll save it for next week!
As always, you can click on the title of the post to leave a comment!
And I’ve finished Yakuza 3 and currently llive translating and playing through Yakuza 4/龍が如く4 HD Remaster right now - 5 nights a week at: http://www.twitch.tv/dzydzydino
Until next week!
Happy June, everyone!
It’s DzyDzyDino, back again!
Last week, I talked about some general localization scenarios. This week, I wanted to address some that are brought up because of the fundamental differences between Japanese and English, and not just “words that don’t quite translate.”
A common change made is phrase/bubble order for flow and impact, or just to make passages make sense.
I brought this up years ago in a past blog post, but since I’m starting fresh, I thought it’d be good to address it again.
I’m sure many of you already know this, but one of the core differences between Japanese and English grammar is that Japanese is Subject-Object-Verb, whereas English has a Subject-Verb-Object syntax.
Especially when it comes to dialog, this builds the conclusion or “climax” of the phrase around the Verb (in Japanese) versus the Object (in English). As an oversimplified and boring example, in English you could have a bubble that reads:
“I really hate…”
From there, there would be tension built up around “who does this person hate?” -- the object of the action being the focal point. In manga you get these cliffhanger style bubbles a lot where that bubble will continue on the next page so you get this little bit of anticipation as you turn the page to find out.
For the sake of this example, (assuming I’m translating word for word) in Japanese, a similar situation would play out as a bubble reading:
And then the tension is built around What is it you do for this person? Is it I love you? I hate you? I will protect you? I don’t want to see you anymore? Sometimes these situations can be resolved as simply as shuffling word order around. There’s a pretty common sentence structure that pops up, where they’ll put the subject at the end for dramatic effect and emphasis. In one of my current favorite Jump Series, Dr. Stone, the main character’s catchphrase is “Now /this/ excites me!” It gets worded slightly differently each time, but it’s often something like this:
唆る (Sosoru) is the infinitive form of the verb meaning “To excite”. The ぜ(ze) that comes after it adds emphasis. これ (kore) means “this” and は is a particle denoting the subject of the sentence.
Just because the bubbles are placed this way doesn’t mean we should translate each bubble independently and turn our main character, Senku, into Yoda. “Excites, this!” Normally this situation would end up with
Bubble1: Now /this/…
Bubble2: Excites me!
Speaking of subjects in sentences, Japanese will often omit parts of speech altogether and let them be implied by context.
Instead of saying 「それを買うか？」 (Sore wo kau ka? Are you going to buy that?)
You might just see 「買うか？」 (kau ka?) or even just 「買う？」(kau?)
“Buy?” by itself doesn’t really work in English. You need at least a pronoun, and a subject.
“Are you going to buy that?” “Is he going to buy those?” “Is she going to buy it?”
“Is Lord Hentai gonna buy that harem?”
Most of the time if you see this by itself, it’s going to be directed to whoever they’re talking to, unless it’s a really specific context--like maybe two people are watching someone else shopping and one wants to know if that person is really gonna buy what they’re looking at.
The object however could be anything. Singular, plural, specific, whatever.
So what? Come up with some weird awkward wording like “Are you going to make a purchase?”
“Are you going to participate in a monetary transaction for goods?”
Hah! You think you’ve got it aaaaaalllllllllll figured out… then a complete curveball...
喧嘩を売る (kenka wo uru) literally means “to sell a fight”, and it’s the Japanese way of saying “to pick a fight”.
If someone picks a fight with you, and you accept and go at it, you have bought that fight. 喧嘩を買う or 喧嘩を買った。(kenka wo kau, or past-tense, kenka wo katta)
So through some freak unforseen context, 買うか？ suddenly got translated to “Are you gonna fight?”
You could also add the nuance of it being a fight someone else picked. “Are you gonna fight back?” “Are you gonna take his challenge?” “Are you gonna go through with this fight?” or that fight? Or those fights? Or these fights?!
WE NEED CONTEXT!
There’s that epic scene in One Piece in the town right before Skypiea when Bellamy is beating the crap out of Luffy and Luffy is telling Zoro to not “buy into this fight”. For me, it was one of Luffy’s most epic lines pre-New World/Time Skip and pretty iconic.
Bubble1: このケンカは (Kono kenka ha) - This Fight
Bubble2: 絶対買うな！！！ (Zettai kauna!!!) - Absolutely don’t buy it
Though of course, I would hope nobody would actually translate it like “This fight… absolutely don’t buy it.” as that rips the soul right out of the scene. The goosebump-raising epicness of that line is completely gone and kind of gets back into the literal vs. liberal I brought up last week.
It’s been a while and I don’t remember the rest of the scene verbatim, but he could just as easily repeat that second line “絶対買うな！！”
What if you had no context and saw that page or bubble all by itself? Maybe you just see him standing in front of a Tavern screaming that.
Luffy standing up from the rubble of a tavern wall, bloodied and bruised.
“Do NOT buy the food here!!!”
Hrmm… actually, yeah. I could see him saying that after all. ¯\_( ◉ 3 ◉ )_/¯
Don’t forget, you can click on the title of this post to comment and discuss!
Thanks also to everyone who stopped by my stream to say hi!
We just finished live translating the Yakuza 3 HD Remaster and probably planning to play Yakuza 4 in English before going on into 5 in Japanese again! (Though I may reconsider and do 4 in Japanese too!)
If you want to come by, say hi, chat about manga/anime/games/whatever, you can find me at http://www.twitch.tv/dzydzydino
Hey, everyone! DzyDzyDino here! It's been a while since I've done a blog post!
A little bit about me:
I’ve been with Mangastream essentially since the beginning? I currently translate Black Clover, Dr. Stone, Seven Deadly Sins, Boruto, Dragon Ball Super, and Hiatu-err Hunter X Hunter.
In the past, I did plenty of other series too~ Toriko, Fairy Tail, Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Hitman Reborn, History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, and who knows what else.
I used to blog regarding this, but when it comes to translation, there's always those that will argue for literal vs liberal translation. That’s what I wanted to talk about with this first post, as it’s a topic that I have to think about and make conscious decisions regarding for every single line of every single series I translate.
Some people feel as though translations should be straight up word-for-word, bubble-for-bubble, whereas others feel like translation should be more interpretative and context-sensitive.
That latter tends to fall into what we call localization.
The idea is that someone with no knowledge of the source culture/language should be able to still enjoy the material and still understand the feeling and characters in the same way that they were originally intended.
There's so many facets to this and I can't possibly cover them all in one post, but I'll go over some situations.
Puns and wordplay is always a pain to localize, versus just word-for-wording it. An example that jumps to mind is from the Kill La Kill anime.
The main character, Matoi Ryuuko's "signature finishing move" is 繊維喪失 pronounced "Sen'i Soushitsu". It literally translates to Fiber (繊維) Loss/Lost (喪失), which would be a pretty clunky translation, but that's exactly what the studio decided to run with.
Clunkiness aside, it has a missed meaning as well. "Sen'i Soushitsu" is a synonym for a real term and is written 戦意喪失 which means Morale/Fighting Spirit (戦意) Loss (喪失).
It means to break someone's morale or to lose the will to fight. So the idea is that she removes the enhanced "fiber" from their clothing and simultaneously makes them lose the will to fight.
In the anime she says "Sen'i Soushitsu" out loud and slashes her opponent, dropping them to their knees.
You think, "Okay, she slashed them and made them lose their will to fight."
Then the kanji for the move flashes huge on the screen, "Ahh, making them lose their power source fiber... cute pun."
Given some time and creativity, I'm sure someone could have come up with a cute play on words in English that also carried some kind of double meaning.
There's a lot of similar incidents in manga where they'll have an alternate reading for a kanji written to give it a different implied meaning, though I'll save that topic for another post. :3
Common Japanese sayings are another localization decision. Some people like to have them included and like to hear or read characters say things like:
"Just wash your neck and wait!" or "You're 10 years too early!"
If you've read a lot of manga, this is probably normal enough that you probably don't think anything of it. But if it's the first time you're reading them, you at least pause for a second.
The meaning is still clear enough, but they sound off - not a normal thing to say.
In fact if anything, they're saying cliche and incredible normal expressions, but someone reading that for the first time wouldn't pick up on that.
Is the right call to leave them as is, or to "localize" them a bit?
"You're 10 years too early to..." vs "You've got a long way to go before..." essentially mean the same thing but the latter sounds normal in English.
There's tons of other ways to localize it depending on context, how condescending it's supposed to be, the character's tone, etc.
Properly localizing also requires a lot more work as well, as you need to have some working knowledge of the subject matter being dealt with.
A while ago, I translated a one-shot that had to do with mobile gacha games.
The term 基本無料 doesn't make a lot of sense being literally translated. Literally it would be Fundamental/Basic Free. In the gaming world, it would be f2p or Free-to-Play.
There's also a term in the world of mobile gacha games known as リセマラ (risemara), which is short for Reset Marathon.
Most of these games offer a free "roll" after you complete the tutorial, and a reset marathon is to just keep reinstalling and taking that free roll over and over until you get something good to start with.
We don't use the term reset marathon in English though. For all the mobile game communities I've been a part of, it's simply known as "rerolling".
That would be an instance of localizing based on context as well. Just because the character said the word "Reset Marathon" it's not like they've made up some quirky term that nobody else uses. They're using the standard understood term for that concept, so to "localize" it appropriately, you'd translate it to the standard understood term as well.
I've been translating for around 15 years now. Back when I first started, I was a lot more concerned about making sure the phrasing matched how it was in the original, and making sure word choice matched too - even if it ended up in something that read awkwardly in English and didn't carry the same meaning.
Nowadays, it's a lot more important to me that it reads smoothly in English and that the meaning and tone are consistent with the original. It's a lot more work to localize but I think the result is a lot more meaningful, and something I'm much (and hopefully you're much) happier with.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but I'd love to share more of what goes on behind the scenes and what decisions get made during the translation process with you!
If this is at all interesting to you, let me know and I'll keep updating!
Speaking of gaming (shameless plug) --
I also have a Twitch Channel that I stream all kinds of games on, and often do live translation of Japanese games as well!
I'm currently playing through the HD Remaster of Yakuza 3 (龍が如く3) in Japanese (as it's not out in English yet) and live translating as I play. Incidentally, the title of the game is originally Like a Dragon, or As a Dragon. The English language version translates it simply to - Yakuza.
If you're interested in the game series (It's a Yakuza-oriented GTAish game with a great plot that takes place in Japan), interested in translation, or just wanna stop by, you can find my stream at:
I stream nearly every night except Mondays and Thursdays, starting around 8PM PST streaming some mobile games, and then usually get to whatever other game I’m streaming by around 10PM PST. I hope to see you there, and hope to blog more regularly!
Hi all, I’m PlumJucie, the translator of Okitegami. I’ll start off by saying that I have NOT read any of NiSiO iSiN’s other works. I just haven’t had time yet. I also have not watched the live-action adaptation of Okitegami. Here in this blog post, I’m just going to address some of the questions people have had, and also some of my own thoughts while reading it.
Thank you all for reading my translations. It has been a joy translating this series. If you have any more questions, I will try my best to answer them in the comments.
Special thanks to MOE for first bringing it up to me way back when I first started translating back in 2015. (He was the typesetter for the first half!)
Special thanks to THE SICKEST RINGO MAIN NA for always bearing with me and my barrage of incomprehensible questions about Japanese grammar. <3
Special thanks to Studio Momotsuki for the cute fanart at the end! Check out their Twitter or Instagram! They go to conventions, too! (You might meet me at their booth one day, hahaha.)
And thank you to the Mangastream team for working on this and hosting it!
Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a year since the last blog post. Sorry about that folks. We still love ya all.
The last year's just been pretty rough, schedule changes and personal matters have had their toll on us and the amount of energy and time we had left over for scanlators-to-fans communication was subsequently pretty limited. However, things are beginning to easen up again, so here we are, back.
Didn't just come back, either. We've listened to all the great feedback you've been providing and worked on this elaborate project behind the scenes to hopefully start getting rid of all the bad ads, the unfortunate by-product of keeping us up and running. Check this page for all the info on that.
Along with that stuff, we have also implemented our very own discussion software, coded from scratch by our awesome admin. So if you've been a frequent participant in discussions on our site, make sure to get an account or use the social sign in and you're good to go. Obviously, all this stuff is new, so if you come across any bugs, please just report them here and we'll take care of it asap.
What else is there? Oh right. A public service announcement: Nothing changes, you don't have to become a "supporter" to keep reading manga here, and that'll never change. So please don't stress. This is just for those who want to donate on a regular basis.
If you do however generously decide to become a supporter, chances are we can get rid of ads completely in the future. We're also brain-storming a few additional perks. One of them, my favorite, is to put together a "translator magazine" of sorts, with articles and opinion pieces by our staff, elaborate translation notes, reviews, that sort of thing, maybe even with some public participation and a Q&A corner - that sound like something you'd be interested in? I'll pay special attention to the posters saying "yes" who have a certain badge next to their names. ;)
Anyway, that's all we had to say for now. There was a lot of new code added, so please bear with us if anything breaks, we'll try and take care of it asap. <3
Edit: To comment on this blog, click on the title.
Hey there, Anon here. In the comments many of you ask us how we learned Japanese. I decided to write a short blog series about how I, personally, learned the language since you all seem to be really interested in how the process can go - there's plenty of other paths than my own, naturally. Today we'll be covering reasons for learning the language and setting appropriate goals. This series will be written from the point of view of a self-learner. I will cover classroom learning in another post later in this series.
Goals & Motivation
So you've decided to learn Japanese, great. Many of you are most likely not sure how to embark on this enormous task. One common mistake is not setting any short, mid, and long term goals. How motivated are you really, how much time are you willing to invest on a daily/weekly basis and what would you like to achieve? This could be reading manga, watching anime, reading novels, playing Karuta, communicating with your significant other or friends, traveling, acquiring linguistic knowledge, having fun, and the list goes on and on. There are two different kinds of motivation I will talk about: the intrinsically and the extrinsically driven.
This is the kind of motivation that comes from within. It is usually something you like doing. Some examples of this would be:
These are things you wouldn't procrastinate on, you'd do them without a second thought because you enjoy it, find it interesting, challenging, thrilling, etc... Having intrinsically driven motivation is going to be very beneficial in the long run. Learning a language is not all fun and games though, not everything will be that enjoyable. What is fun in learning a language is also very different from person to person. You should try to find things in the language learning process that are fun to you.
Extrinsic motivation usually comes from an outside source. You might not always like it, it could feel more like a chore. Some examples of this would be:
Extrinsically driven motivation doesn't always last very long, and it can be hard to then motivate yourself to keep going. It's not always a bad thing, however. There's also not always a very clear distinction between the two. Sometimes people just aren't driven internally (yet) and need a little push to get started. Over time this might develop some intrinsic motivation, but that is not always the case.
Use it or lose it
Keeping yourself motivated is in my opinion the hardest task when it comes to learning a language, even more so for a difficult language like Japanese (for native English speakers at least). It's more comparable to an ultramarathon than a sprint... or even an exhausting jog, for that matter.
The most important factor in successfully learning a language is the frequency you engage with the language. You don't always have to be actively studying it; just using the language like reading and speaking the language could be enough depending on your current level in your target language. You'd ideally want to use it every day, even if it's only 20 minutes a day. 20 minutes every day would yield better results in the long term than one long 2-3 hour study session during the weekend.
I've often heard the excuse from people that they simply can't find the time to study every day. I'd say this is bullshit for 99.95% of all of you out there. There is so much dead time during the day. You could be reviewing vocabulary while you drop the kids off at the pool, read a page of a study book while you're waiting in line, think in the language or review a grammar point while taking public transportation to work or school, etc... It's not that you can't find the time, you make it so you have time for it if this is truly important to you.
Setting short, mid, and long term goals
More often than not you will have a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. You will like certain parts of the language learning process, but you might absolutely despise some of it as well. To make sure that you'll still be on this journey a year from now we will need some planning. You'll want the learning process to be as rewarding as possible and make the process itself fun whenever you can. This could for example be done by including your favorite manga, anime, or drama series in your studies.
Long term goals
These are some examples of the kind of goals you might like to achieve near the end of your studies (although you never ever finish learning a language, there's always something you didn't know yet). These are harder to quantify, and wouldn't make very good short or mid term goals:
You'll want to set your mid and short term goals with these in mind, as those will have to contribute to achieving your long term goals.
Mid term goals
These are the goals you might want to achieve in the next couple months to a year. Examples of these could be:
These goals are harder to complete in a short amount of time, but easier to quantify compared to the long term goals. Every couple months I would review these and update when needed. They are the foundation for my short term goals.
Not all of these goals would be very fun to achieve, but they could lead to rewarding results. You'll eventually see progress towards your long term goals and that will drive you to work even harder.
Short term goals
These are the goals you'd like to achieve in the next week-month. Some examples are:
You want something that you can measure, something that you can tick off in a to-do list. That will help you to stay on track and improve in the long term. Every Sunday I'd sit down and write down my goals for the next week. I'd keep track of what I did every day and would check the weekly goals I had completed that day. A week could look something like the following:
Notice how each one of these is measurable. For vocabulary I would be using a Spaced Repetition system like Anki or Memrise and review the words that were scheduled for the day.
My study time would vary from 20 minutes a day to a couple hours, depending on how I was feeling that day. The key thing was to do something every day, without breaking the streak. I would not always meet my weekly goals, but that would motivate me to work harder the following week.
I wouldn't be too ambitious with your weekly goals at first. If you're a novice language learner you will need time to adapt to a daily study schedule and need more time to do some of activities listed above. Heck, you'll need time to figure out how long the activities listed above will take you in the first place. I'd set one or two goals for myself and try to complete them. Once you get more comfortable with the study schedule you can try and add more to it.
Without putting a study plan together it will be very hard for you to stay on track. You don't have to do it the exact same way as I did, but at least have some understanding and record of your long, mid, and short term goals. What you study is also less important than the fact that you're actually studying and putting in the time and effort.
Next time I will be talking about input and output in language learning. Good luck with your studies!
Hey there manga fans! Turk here with my first ever blog post as I prepare to ring in my 1 year anniversary translating at MS. Took me long enough. Anyway, today I thought I'd delve into the exciting and wondrous world of Japanese personal pronouns! This is something that came up in a translation I worked on recently and I thought I could shed some additional light on it in the blog where I have more space. Sound boring enough for you? Well, bear with me for a minute here.
First of all, for those of you who may not know, what is a personal pronoun? Well, in English, you know them as "I", "you", "he", "she", "it", etc. But today, we're going to talk about "I". In English, when you refer to yourself as the subject of a sentence, you ALWAYS use this word, no matter what. For example: "I kicked the ball." "I want ice cream." "I have a pen. I have an app-"...yeah you get the idea. It's also worth noting that gender doesn't come into play when you're speaking in the 1st person at all. Boy or girl, it's still just "I". In the English language, we only have gender-specific pronouns when we're using the 3rd person. And furthermore, in English, every sentence needs a subject. That's actually NOT the case in Japanese, but that's a topic for a whole other blog post.
On that note, let's look at the Japanese side of things. Unfortunately, things aren't quite as simple. There are different 1st person pronouns that are used in different regional dialects, by different genders, and in different social settings. Some of them could get you in a lot of trouble if used when talking to your boss, for example. It's really amazing how much the Japanese language can change depending on the relative social standings of the people in the conversation. Even Japanese people struggle with honorific speech, referred to as keigo (once again, a topic for another post...)
So now that we've established that there are many 1st person pronouns, let's look at some of them, starting with some common ones:
-私 (watashi): Relatively formal (you can use it when talking to superiors) and usable by both men and women.
-僕 (boku): Informal. Most commonly used by boys as it gives off a childish vibe. You may hear it used by girls who are boyish in nature, however (especially in anime and other media). One example of this is Diane from Seven Deadly Sins.
-俺 (ore): This one is very informal and you'll almost never hear it used by women (but once again, anime does break those rules... in fact, another 7DS character, Jericho, likes using "ore" to evoke a tougher image of herself.) The reason being is it sounds very "macho" and is usually used by men to assert their masculinity/dominance. It's used most commonly by men in social settings, although you'll hear grade school boys who want to sound tough use it as well. You should never use this one when talking with someone who has authority over you. As some of you probably know, almost all shounen manga protagonists use "ore" as well. Take our beloved Luffy, for example: "kaizokuou ni ore wa naru!" ("I'm gonna be king of the pirates!") The future pirate king has to be manly and tough, right?
From my experience, those are the most widely used in spoken Japanese by quite a large margin. Now let's check out some other ones:
-あたし (atashi): A derivative of "watashi", but this is an extra-feminine version. Only women and very flamboyant men will use this one. Characters like Nami in One Piece favor this pronoun.
-儂 (washi): This one is used by old men, at least in media. It's kind of a stereotype, but living in southwestern Japan I've definitely heard it used by old folks from time to time. Anyway, using this one just makes you sound like a grandpa. Which is quite fitting, since it's used by Ryo-san in Kochikame, which, until its conclusion a couple weeks ago, one might say was the grandfather of Weekly Shounen Jump manga. It was serialized for an astounding 40 years! More on this below.
-わたくし (watakushi): Also another way to read "watashi". This one is pretty much as formal and polite as it gets. Consider using this if you ever find yourself talking to the Emperor. Or maybe if you were a butler serving his master or something.
-内 (uchi): You might hear this one if you ever find yourself in Osaka or Kyoto, because it's often used in the Kansai dialect. Even then though, it's much more favored by women than men. If you're familiar with "Ore Monogatari" or "My Love Story" in English, the adorable Yamato likes to use this pronoun, although that story takes place in Tokyo if I recall correctly.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Well guess what? These are just the tip of the iceberg! And although I've tried to give you a decent enough idea of what situation each of them would be used in, there's tons of exceptions. And as I mentioned before, in many cases pronouns are skipped over entirely in the Japanese language! Anyway, I'm sure by now you're wondering what the point of all this is. Well, in the Shounen Jump author comments from issue 44 of this year, we included some extra omake chapters paying tribute to Kochikame's 40th anniversary and final chapter. You can read them here: http://mangastream.com/r/wsjac/%2316/3710/1 so check them out! In the first one authored by Kohei Horikoshi of "My Hero Academia", Ryo-san is talking to All Might and Deku. Well, remember Ryo-san's favorite pronoun? It's "washi"! So as a little extra touch for the title of this short, Horikoshi decided to switch out the "boku" in "Boku no Hero Academia" with "washi". Furthermore, the full title of Kochikame is "Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kouen-mae Hashutsujo", so he slapped a piece of that on the end as well to create "Washi no Hero Academia-mae Hashutsujo". If you were to translate that, it would come out as something like: "My Police Station in front of the Hero Academia".
Unfortunately, there's really no way to accurately convey this in English, but I tried my best to come up with something. Since "washi" has that old geezer stereotype, I decided to go with "mah" in place of "my", since "mah" kinda makes you think of some old dude with no teeth yelling at kids like: "get off mah lawn!" But even so, the joke probably would have still been lost on a lot of people who couldn't read the Japanese, so I also left an accompanying TL note, and now I'm here writing this long-winded blog post. It really makes you realize how much more expressive of a language Japanese can be than English in some areas, and how disappointing it is that there are some aspects of it that just can't be carried over to English no matter how hard we translators try. In some cases, being willing to invoke a little creative license can be the key that separates a bland and awkward sounding word-for-word translation from a more natural-sounding one that conveys the same nuances as the Japanese. We've covered that issue in past blog posts as well!
Anyway, for those of you who stuck it out all the way to the end, I really appreciate it, and I hope you all learned something! I'll see you all on disqus, the forums, reddit, or maybe in the blog again someday! Until next time!