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Re: [Yuricon] Marketing Anime and Manga in the U.S.

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  • Erica Friedman
    ... Based on the incredibly reliable source of evening J-Dramas I gather that it s not entirely unlikely for -kun to be used in professional settings. It s
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 13, 2007
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      >From: bystrouska@...
      >Reply-To: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com
      >To: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [Yuricon] Marketing Anime and Manga in the U.S.
      >Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2007 04:01:15 +0200
      >
      >>Interestingly, Sei from Marimite is one of them. Eriko's father calls her
      >>Sei-kun.
      >
      >True! I remember thinking it was interesting for Torii-san to call her
      >Sei-kun. :) I also seem to recall another such occurrence in an anime I
      >watched recently, but I've been catching up on so much stuff in the past
      >weeks that I'm really having a hard time remember which series it was (I
      >think it was a teacher referring to Nodame as "Noda- kun" in Nodame
      >Cantabile, though). And while it might not actually happen quite as seldom
      >as one might think, it seems that more often than not, the girl addressed
      >with -kun is either a tomboy/boyish girl or a potential lesbian (another
      >example that comes to mind in Rio in the Piet´┐Ż manga).

      Based on the incredibly reliable source of evening J-Dramas I gather that
      it's not entirely unlikely for "-kun" to be used in professional settings.
      It's on TV, so it must be true. ;-) And I've seen that in manga and anime
      too, so QED. LOL (Another example is Rally Cheyenne from Silent Mobius. Her
      superiors refer to her as Rally-kun.)

      But yes, I have also noticed that boyish/tomboyish characters seem to get
      "-kun" as well. There was a story in Yuri Hime by Chi Ran, in which a girl
      was pretending to be a boy to woo another girl. When the woo-ee learned of
      an accepted the other girl as a girl, she switched her "Natsuki-kun" to
      "Natsuki-chan" which I found interesting.

      So, while it's tru that "-kun" may not be exclusively used for boys, there
      *does* seem, from my outsider's perspective, to be a little applied
      masculinity in the term. And here I am simply musing digitally, this is in
      no way an informed opionion: As if, by calling a female employee "-kun" one
      is raising her from the status of feamle subordinate to male subordinate
      level. Not peer, but a step up.


      >(However, I remember Yumi's slight hesitation before using -kun when
      >addressing Alice in one of the Marimite OAVs. lol)

      Yes, well...understandable given the circumstance.... :-)

      >
      >Regarding the more general question of whether to keep the honorifics in a
      >translation – I won't argue, as I haven't thought about it enough,
      >but I'm not surprised to read translators are divided on this delicate
      >issue.

      There's an old joke Jews tell one another, that if there were two men left
      on earth there'd be three temples - mine, yours and the one we both boycott.
      lol

      It is the nature of humans to disagree, I think.


      As a translation student who's been
      >told again and again to drop everything that might burden the flow of the
      >text, I understand the reservations, yet I can't help but feel that
      >sometimes you can't leave them out without losing something otherwise
      >tough to express in other languages.

      That's entirely my feeling. I also believe that people get stupider when you
      treat them like stupid people. Explaining the honorifics doesn't take *that*
      much time and effort.

      I think there's a wide gap between calling someon "Kurusu-sempai" and
      "Tomari" and by smoothing out the lines between them, you're losing
      something specific to the relationship - and losing the importance of the
      fact that someone like Hazumu *would* call Tomari by her given name, perhaps
      with no honorific.



      (And, yes,
      >I know that losing is inherent to translating. I'm reminded of it everyday
      >in class. ;) ) An interesting thing I noticed when going to my mum for
      >help with reading the Marimite manga in Japanese is that whenever someone
      >uses - sama, she kind of hesitates, then ends up translating with the
      >French pronoun "vous" (which is the second person plural but also the
      >formal, polite second person singular) rather than the more mainstream
      >"tu" which anyone would use in dialogues between 16- to 18- year-olds.
      >Sometimes she will force herself and translate with "tu", but it really
      >looks like she's been tortured into it. lol And I have a hard time myself
      >picturing Yumi addressing the Roses with the regular, casual "tu" or
      >"toi", although if she were French, she would probably say "tu" rather
      >than "vous" as not many French high school girls today would address their
      >upperclassmen in such a polite manner... even when they are such peculiar
      >upperclassmen. (But then again, it's not like we have such a strong notion
      >of upperclassmen/ underclassmen here in France.) So it's really one of
      >those things that are awfully difficult to deal with when translating.
      >Which is also part of the appeal of the whole exercise, I guess. lol

      Indeed it is! One of my argument sfor keeping honorifics intact is
      specifically so the Japanese hierarchies are communicated. In the US we also
      don't have that kind of notion of strong upper/underclassman relationships.
      I think it's a sad thing idf they translate the Japanese so that it looses
      what is an *key* and crucial cultureal relic - a thing that communicates
      much of the focus of Japanese culture, and personal development...and also
      makes it that much more obvious that this is *not* an western text one is
      reading.

      If I wanted to read American comics, I'd read American comics.


      Aside from any issue of translating. The word "otaku" in Japanese means
      "house" as in "the house of windsor." It is a quaintly formal word and one
      of the reasons it was used for the hardccore creepy fans of anime and manga
      was that they often spoke with a weird, quaint and strangely overblown
      formality. I can personally attest to this. I often receive emails with an
      overblown and weirdly out of place formaily - I've also had people come up
      to me and speak to me that way, as if they through they were at a
      Renaissance Faire. It always strikes me as somehow significant, although I
      couldn't tell you why. Do these people have so little interhuman interaction
      that they don't know how to speak normally? Do they immerse themselves in
      the faux-feudal, ancient, formal, foreign so effectively that they don't
      have the basic rudiments of everyday social intercourse?

      Somehow I feel that this is relavant to this discussion of honorifics. I'm
      not sure why. LOL

      Cheers,

      Erica

      _________________________________________________________________
      A new home for Mom, no cleanup required. All starts here.
      http://www.reallivemoms.com?ocid=TXT_TAGHM&loc=us
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