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19 movie posters seen through the eyes of Japan, from 'Malkovich’s Hole' to 'Captain Supermarket'


With many international releases, the names of films can sometimes be vastly different from the original. The changes are made for a variety of reasons due to language, culture, or style. This begs the question: How much of an impact do these title changes make on the people who see them?

Just for fun, we took 19 movies from other countries that have had their names changed for Japanese audiences, translated them back to English and put them in their original posters.

So join us for such gems as Academy Award-nominated "Nairobi Bees," "Love is Deja Vu" with Bill Murray, and cult classic "Captain Supermarket." What, never heard of them!? Posters follow at the end of the story.

Sometimes the names are changed to be more detailed than the originals. Apparently simple titles like "Frozen" or "Despicable Me" raise concerns with filmmakers that potential moviegoers in Japan won’t get hooked. Sometimes it’s helpful to let people know that "Frozen," for example, was largely influenced by Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Snow Queen."

アナと雪の女王 (Frozen)

In the case of other animated works, giving a little more of the plot was in order. After all, titles like “Despicable Me” don’t really tell audiences an awful lot…

怪盗グルーの月泥棒 (Despicable Me)

マルコヴィッチの穴 (Being John Malkovich)

レミーのおいしいレストラン (Ratatouille)

カールじいさんの空飛ぶ家 (Up)

As you can see, when doing this the titles can get rather lengthy. But that doesn’t stop those in charge from adding in as many extra details as possible. Check out these wonderfully verbose efforts.

素敵な相棒 フランクじいさんとロボットヘルパー (Robot & Frank)

It’s almost as if some movie posters had left the extra negative space ready for just such an occasion.

世界で一番パパが好き! (Jersey Girl)

Of all these, "The Butler" got the rawest deal. As if poor Cecil hadn’t had a rough enough life, now the Japanese title makes him out to be some kind of cry baby.

大統領の執事の涙 (The Butler)

And then there’s the title for the cult classic "Army of Darkness" which has quite a couple flaws. For starters, this title gives away the funny little surprise twist at the end of the movie. Also, I don’t think S Mart was a supermarket per se considering he bought his boomstick there.

キャプテン・スーパーマーケット (Army of Darkness)

However, the awesome Japanese poster more than makes up for this. The cans of Bruce Campbell Soup that Ash is standing on are a particularly nice touch.

The rest of the "Evil Dead" series is given an arguably better title in Japanese.

死霊のはらわたII (Evil Dead II)

Speaking of title improvements -- "Apocalypse Now." Supposedly inspired from a hippie button that read “Nirvana Now,” it sounds clunky and dated these days. Apparently someone connected to the Japanese release agreed, but what is this title supposed to mean?. Is it supposed to be the apocalypse made by hell or the apocalypse in hell?

地獄の黙示録 (Apocalypse Now)

The first Final Destination movie in Japan kept the same title as its Western release, but for the many sequels to follow someone involved realized there were no more planes in the sequels and thus changed the name accordingly: by naming the main thing the staring teens avoided dying in with the prefix “dead.” A simple, yet surprisingly effective formula.

ファイナル・デッドコースター (Final Destination 3)

Perhaps the worst title of all is "The Constant Gardener." The name probably has some significance, but from a marketing standpoint it hardly hooks the casual movie-goer into checking it out. The Japanese title however, promises much more in the way of thrills and danger.

ナイロビの蜂 (The Constant Gardener)

Probably the most popular reason to change a movie title is because of linguistic and cultural differences. Something that can be summed up in a few words like an English or Chinese idiom would take a lot more explaining in another language. Probably best to just flat out change it in that case…

最高の人生の見つけ方 (The Bucket List)

グリーン・デスティニー (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

ショーシャンクの空に (The Shawshank Redemption)

恋はデジャ・ブ (Groundhog Day)

There’s no Miss Congeniality in Japanese beauty pageants, otherwise they wouldn’t have changed it to "Dangerous Beauty." Oddly enough, "Dangerous Beauty" is also the name of a period drama that came out a couple years before the Sandra Bullock film. The name just happened to be free because the name "Dangerous Beauty" in Japan was changed to "Courtesan Veronica" (娼婦ベロニカ).

デンジャラス・ビューティー (Miss Congeniality)

Finally, we’ll leave you with this… for which we have no explanation. However, it appears it took the combined acting talents of George Clooney and Jeff Bridges to pull off the challenging role of “A Wall.”

ヤギと男と男と壁と (The Men Who Stare at Goats)

Read more stories from Rocket News24. -- There’s an App for That (and That and That and That…) -- Ladies Beware! 9 Things Men Don’t Want to Find in a Girl’s Room -- Why doesn’t Japan hate America for dropping the A-bombs?

© RocketNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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The remade title for Men Who Stare at Goats is too good. Why is "and man" on there twice? haha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My Neighbor Totoro, The Girl who leapt through time, Departures, Always: Sunset on 3rd street, How's moving castle, Seven Samurai, Grave of the Fireflies, Zatoichi, Rashomon, Princess Mononoke, Battle Royale, The Wind Rises.... I don't see the point, all seem translated pretty well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

now lets do a western translation of Japanese titles...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Groundhog Day I can understand... this is a particularly American saying and is pretty meaningless to those of us beyond the shores of America. So the deja vu of the Japanese title is more appropriate. To me anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks timtak. The article said it would include the back translations, but then didn't. The posters are an external link. Why not include those back translations in the article itself? Poorly written.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Malkovich's Hole is a willful mistranslation. The Malkovich Hole would be fine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The article does not give the back translations here on the end of each line below. 怪盗グルーの月泥棒 (Despicable Me) Phantom Thief Guru-'s Moon Thief マルコヴィッチの穴 (Being John Malkovich) Malkovich's Hole レミーのおいしいレストラン (Ratatouille) Remy's Deliscious Restaurant カールじいさんの空飛ぶ家 (Up) Grand-father Karl's (sky) Flying House 素敵な相棒 フランクじいさんとロボットヘルパー (Robot & Frank) Stylish Thief: Granddad Frank and Robot Helper 世界で一番パパが好き! (Jersey Girl) What Dad Likes Best in the World 大統領の執事の涙 (The Butler) The Tears of the Presidential Steward キャプテン・スーパーマーケット (Army of Darkness)Captain Supermarket 死霊のはらわたII (Evil Dead II) Entrails of the Ghosts 地獄の黙示録 (Apocalypse Now) The Revelation of Hell ファイナル・デッドコースター (Final Destination 3) Final Dead Coaster ナイロビの蜂 (The Constant Gardener) The Bees of Nairobi アナと雪の女王 (Frozen) Anna, Snow and the Queen 恋はデジャ・ブ (Groundhog Day) Love is Deja Vu グリーン・デスティニー (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) Green Destiny 最高の人生の見つけ方 (The Bucket List) How to find the best life デンジャラス・ビューティー (Miss Congeniality) Dangerous Beauty ヤギと男と男と壁と (The Men Who Stare at Goats) A Goat and a Man and a Man and a Wall

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Incorrect. The posters were always at the bottom of the story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The posters were not at the bottom of the story earlier. They have been added since the omission was remarked upon.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

HaraldBloodaxe: "What's the point of copying an article which says we " put them in their original posters." and then not showing the posters? Very lazy indeed."

The posters, as it says in the article, are displayed at the bottom of the thread. You can click on them and check them out. Being posted throughout the article not only makes reading at some points tedious, but takes a lot longer to load and is distracting to say the least. I'd say given the fact that within the article they mention the posters are at the bottom of it that the writer/site were far from 'lazy'.

Agree with you on the rest, though again I'd like to hit the point home that if a title is going to be changed into another language, THAT language should be used, not more English with a different name. Changing "From Cradle to the Grave" to "クラックダイアモンド" (Black Diamond) does absolutely nothing in terms of construing the meaning of the title. Try giving it a Japanese equivalent, as they did in the old days of the silver screen.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm with HCKpro above. What's the point of copying an article which says we " put them in their original posters." and then not showing the posters? Very lazy indeed.

The thing that irritates me most about this style of changing the titles is translating it into katakana but doing it wrong. I'd suggest "Charlie's Angel", over a picture of three leather-clad backsides as a good example. Which arse was the angel?

Pointless, and irritating.

Moderator: All the posters are at the bottom of the story.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I dislike this practice. Films, like songs in my opinion, should be titled universally. For a recent example 'Gravity', a title which carries some gravitas (ahem), when changed to 'Zero gravity' actually reverses any implications of the original title. Japan has Katakana to handle foreign words, let's just use it, and allow people to think a little. I know, it's just a pet peeve.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I have no trouble with name changes so long as they are changed to something relevant in the native tongue, but I hate it when they change it to another English (or Katakana English at least) title that is way off the original, as many of the above are. How many titles, for example, since "Pretty Woman", have had the title "pretty" in them just because the people in charge thought people would associate the film with the aforementioned? "Pretty Princess" (Princess Diaries), "Pretty League" (A League of Their Own), "Pretty Bride" (Runaway Bride), etc. The worst for me was when I went to a movie theater to see a flick but it was sold out, so when searching for what other movie might be good, I saw a poster for a movie I had never heard of named "The Long Engagement" in Roman characters. It took me about half a minute during the opening credits to realize the whole movie was in French. The original title is: "Un long dimanche de fiançailles", so why, in Japan, use the English title for a movie completely in French?? It ended up being a very long engagement indeed.

I do like it when the titles are creative IN JAPANESE, though.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Didn't we have this newsitem before? Same happens overseas. And they are creative as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The point of the last effort, I think, was to try to capture the slightly surreal, absurdist tone of the English-language title (and the movie itself). It does so quite nicely, IMHO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This article would work **so much better** if you actually embedded the pictures above the titles in the article.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Malkovich’s Hole


1 ( +2 / -1 )

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