Question about Japanese titles... (E+J)

Aaron Gerow gerowaaron
Mon Jul 31 21:01:33 EDT 2006


> When titles are listed as????????or ??????
> ??? for example, with the hiragana in parentheses, I
> assume that indicates the furigana, but is it officially
> part of the title in eirin and prodco records etc.? Never
> quite been sure about that.

I have usually treated these as simply guides for reading the character 
and thus as not officially part of the title. The final arbiter is, of 
course, the title screen in the film itself (are these, for instance, 
really put in their "proper" place as yomigana or eliminated 
altogether?). How Eirin or other institutions treat them in part 
depends on how they construct their databases. Webcat, for instance, 
puts ??(???) in the title line for Kawase's book, but only lists ??? in 
the reading of the title (e.g., not Hotaru hotaru). It also lists only 
?? for the manga gensaku, without the yomigana.

As I remind people, when in doubt, check how your local library does 
it. Especially in the USA, there are strict rules for rendering titles 
and doing romanization, and since what you use may be used by your 
reader to look up something in a library, it is polite to try to keep 
to the library rules. (There are lazy catalogers out there, so try to 
check the web catalogs of big East Asian libraries like Columbia (the 
superb Morimoto-san!), Harvard, Yale, etc.).

> Also, in the case of ?????????, I take it the
> hiragana is there at all because the title is not a real
> word and people might not know the yomikata, but in the
> case of
> ????????, is it because they didn't include a ?
> ?after ?, which also might confuse readers? I guess it
> was dropped for aesthetic reasons. Thanks.

It seems to me that one of the trends in Japanese horror or mysteries 
(including manga) is to use lots of kanji (that connects with all those 
occult priests, official records, etc.), so I imagine there was a 
conscious choice just to use the kanji. But since?? can also be read as 
kyo (sometimes kyu), they might have felt the necessity to add 
yomigana. But we'd have to ask the people involved to make sure.

Aaron Gerow
KineJapan owner

Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

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