This page will explain some bits of Japanese language and culture, as well as other
general notes, which you will need to know in order to fully understand
Ryuukishi07's world. To really understand something written in another language,
you need just a little bit of background. Spoilers will be kept to a minimum and will
all be limited to Episode 1, but we will mention various events that occur throughout
In Japanese, honorifics are often used following names to convey respect. Different honorifics are
used in different relationships, and forgetting to say an honorific can either be rude, or mean that
both people have a close relationship.
san (さん): neutral honorific, this suffix is a generic word for Mr./Mrs./Ms.
kun (くん): used on a person of lesser age, usually male, denotes affection.
chan (ちゃん): used on a person of lesser age, usually female, denotes affection/close relationship,
youth and cuteness.
sama (さま): denotes high respect towards one person or used for someone of a higher status. This
is a very formal and polite suffix.
These are used similarly to and sometimes together with honorifics.
aniki (兄貴): older brother, “yakuza”-like honorific. This word can be used either as a standalone,
or as a suffix for someone’s name.
aneki (姉貴): older sister, “yakuza”-like honorific (rarer)
(o)nii (兄): older brother. This word (and the following ones) usually have a proper honorific
attached to them in order to refer to someone with them. Similar to aniki, you don’t have to
include the person's first name with it. In fact, the word by itself is enough most of the time.
Note this word can also be used to refer to a young man, not necessarily a sibling. In such case, it
denotes some familiarity.
(o)nee (姉): older sister. Female counterpart of (o)nii in every way, this word can be used to refer
to a young woman, not necessarily blood related.
oba (伯母): aunt. Note this word also means “middle aged woman” while its pronunciation is
pretty close to “obaa” which means “old woman”. This is the reason why in many manga and
anime series, some characters tend not to call their aunt like this, otherwise they might have
oji (伯父): uncle.
“Battler-kun, aren’t you still a minor?”
In various countries, legal age for drinking differs a lot. In Japan, one must be 20 years old before
doing so. (In the vast majority of countries, it is 18, while it is 21 for United States)
“In any case, my name is Battler...which is a pretty, um, incredible name.” and “Most people read
it as Sento-kun.”
As you could probably guess from Battler’s comments, his first name sounds oddly foreign,
despite him being definitely Japanese. In Japanese, most names are written in Kanji, characters
which can be read in many ways. In Battler’s case, his first name is written like this: 戦人.
Instead of following the pronunciation for the kanji, it reads 'Batora' which is the romaji reading
for “Battler”. Battler thinks his name is really weird not only because it is hardly Japanese, but
also because the pronunciation is not the natural reading (Foreign names should be written in
Katakana, much like how it is for Beatrice: ベアトリーチェ Beatorīche).
This can be applied to all the “western” names of Ushiromiya Family. Obviously, in our English
translation, you won't have trouble pronouncing their names, but it's another story for the
Japanese readers… This is why Battler explains how everyone’s name is read with Hiragana in
the original script.
(Example: 右代宮譲治（うしろみやじょうじ） for Ushiromiya George (Ushiromiya Joji))
"with different people he speaks differently"
Japanese has its share of regional dialects, and Hideyoshi usually speaks in the Kansai dialect,
even though it isn't his natural one. So it seems that he avoids using it in front of those who use
The reading of 縁寿 was confirmed as “エンジェ“(enje), “Ange”, which means “Angel” in
French. This is actually one of the several references to some skills from “Ragnarok Online”.
Kyrie’s name (霧江) is a Japanese name that should be spelled “Kirie”, but it is assumed that
Ryukishi used that spelling as an easter egg for “Kyrie eleison”
Asumu (明日夢) is also such a reference, “Assumptio”.
And Ange (縁寿) is a reference to “Angelus”.
It seems Rudolf is surrounded by women blessed with holy skills of the priest classes (acolyte,
priest, high priest), but despite this, he is ironically struck by bad luck.
Derived from “Namu Amida Butsu”, a buddhist prayer, literally “I believe in the Amida
Buddha”. Recited to get into Amida’s paradise. In other words, Battler simply says something like
“Rest in peace, old bastard”.
“up up, down down, left right, left right”
Some video games veterans might already figure this reference:
this is actually the “Konami Code”. As the name implies, it is a generic cheat code Konami
includes in many of their games to trigger the usual stuff such like invulnerability etc. The
original cheat code is in fact “up up, down down, left right, left right, B A”.
Festival for the dead around August lasting three days. A vacation for all the Japanese.
Unit of speed used for sea travel, equal to one nautical mile per hour.
1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour = 1.852 kilometers per hour = 1.1507794 miles per hour.
Basically, 40 knots roughly equal to 74km/h or 46 mph, which is pretty fast for a boat.
Ceremonial entry gate to a Shinto shrine, painted red.
The original here is Chinju-sama 鎮守様, which literally means Tutelary god, god of a region or a
Japanese type of skewered chicken dish. It literally means 'grilled bird'.
“We gotta start picking up tips!”
The original line in Japanese was 「後でツメの垢をもらってきてやるから一緒に飲もうぜ。」.
"Tsume no aka wo nomu", "to drink the dirt under someone's nails", is a Japanese expression
stemming from the superstition that if you make a potion with someone's nail scrapings, you'll
steal their talents by magic. Considering its unintuitive meaning, we adapted this way.
Obviously not conveying completely the expression, but any extravagant analogy would have
more risk of a very different meaning.
A table frame covered by either a futon or a blanket, which is itself covered by a table top. This
peculiar table has a heat source beneath, often built into the table itself. Kotatsu is a trustworthy
way to keep one warm, as heat is expensive in Japan, due the poor insulation of the housing in
general. The heat source and the blanket/futon can be removed, so the kotatsu can be used like a
Strangely, when the transparent water was poured, the dark green liquid turned a cloudy
This is actually an existing alcoholic beverage, the absinthe. This liquor, extremely strong, must
be diluted in a very specific “ritual”: placing a cube of sugar on a slotted spoon above the glass
with the liquor and pouring ice water on it. The mention of wormwood is related to it: it is the
other name for Artemisia absinthium, the herb used for the beverage. Also, the “green fairy” is
actually the nickname of the absinthe.
But he let us call him 'Goldsmith' or something.
Originally, Battler used “ゴールドスミス” which is “Goldsmith” in katakana. This is actually a
reference to the literal meaning of Kinzo’s name, 金蔵. Literally, it means “Gold Warehouse”.
Apparently, Goldsmith is a more stylish approximate translation by Ryuukishi. You can tell
Battler wanted his grandfather to share their “happy” western name custom.
Literally “tree-jellyfish”, this mushroom is rather known as “Auricularia auricula-judae”, or
Judas’ ear fungus. This species is often used in Asian cooking.
Have you gone to Delsney Land, which opened just a few years ago? Isn't that an excellent
This is an obvious reference to “Tokyo Disney Resort”. The theme park incidentally opened on
1983, matching Krauss’ comment.
This was a tough translating decision. In Beatrice's epitaph, part of the first line is translated as
"the sweetfish river" (sweetfish=ayu). However, this is an expression that means bountiful, but
seeing as this is a puzzle, it is important to know both meanings.
Shore and Sogakishi
The “word” shore is composed of one kanji, “岸”. Considering the epitaph is a riddle, Battler
assumed that the kanji might relate to something else than its literal meaning.
In this case, it matches Sogakishi (曽我岸).
This is of course a reference to Doraemon, the infamous robotic cat, created by Fujiko F. Fujio.
Doraemon was featured with a fourth-dimensional pocket from which he could pull out many
futuristic items. This is what Battler likened Maria to when she was looking for a specific item in
her bag full of many occult belongings.
That's the one Steam McQueen fired off in Wanted: Alive or Dead!!
Another parody reference. Hideyoshi is actually referring to Steve McQueen, an infamous actor
for his anti hero roles, especially as “Josh Randall”, the protagonist of the very same parodied
show in this sentence, “Wanted: Dead or Alive” (1958-1961). For this latter reference, the game
actually mentioned “拳銃宿無し”. This is in fact the original title for the Japanese version of the
series, except the fact that Ryukishi flipped the last 2 kanji (it should be “拳銃無宿”).
For a bit of trivia, this reference is even more obvious because in “Wanted: Dead or Alive”, Josh
Randall was indeed wielding a sawed off Winchester rifle, except that it is a 1892 model, not 1894
as stated in the game TIPS.
Inari Shrine and Kitsune-sama
Inari (稲荷) is the shinto god of fertility, rice and foxes. She is one of the most revered Shinto
gods in Japan. This is noticeable with the sheer amount of shrines dedicated to her, along with
torii and lots of statues of kitsune (foxes).
The kitsune are white foxes that are her benevolent messengers. However, they can be malicious
and generate grave disasters.
Originally, Eva says “Okuriookami” (送り狼) which is a revenant beast that follows travelers in
a persistent way and attacks them once isolated. This can be used as an analogy for an escort with