Photo: SoraNews24
entertainment

Brad Pitt’s 'Bullet Train' adds Japanese subtitles for its Japanese dialogue

15 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Something cool about going to a movie theater in Japan is that films from overseas are shown in both Japanese-subtitled and dubbed-into-Japanese formats. Finding a subtitled screening doesn’t require you to go to some tiny arthouse cinema or wait until a late-night showing, either, as subtitled versions are regularly shown throughout the day at major theater chains.

So, for example, fans of Brad Pitt going to see "Bullet Train," which was just released in Japan at the start of September, have the option of listening to the Hollywood star speak English while being provided with Japanese subtitles for what he and the rest of the cast are saying. Well except for the characters in "Bullet Train" (which takes place in Japan) who are already speaking Japanese, of course, since Japanese moviegoers don’t need subtitles for them, right?

That was the common logic, anyway. It’s something the film’s in-Japan producers have rethought, though, and now a new subtitled version of "Bullet Train" has been released, and this time all of the dialogue is subtitled in Japanese, even when the characters are already speaking Japanese.

Screen-Shot-2022-09-30-at-10.43.58.png

The announcement tweet for "Bullet Train’s" new subtitled version (seen above) doesn’t mention a specific reason for the change, but the prevailing theory is the producers realizing that it’s not just linguistic purists (and foreign residents whose Japanese-language skills aren’t up to watching a whole movie in Japanese just yet) who choose subtitled screenings, but also people who are hearing-impaired.

Japanese-made movies (i.e. movies with Japanese dialogue from the beginning) don’t screen with subtitles at mainstream movie theaters, so people who are deaf or hard of hearing generally have to wait for a TV broadcast or streaming/home video release with captions. Foreign films, though, they can enjoy in the theater with everyone else, since they’ve got subtitles to read projected right up there on the screen…at least until "Bullet Train’s" original version dropped the subs when someone started speaking in Japanese.

The new version, though, allows hearing-impaired viewers to follow along as easily as anyone else in the audience, and the update is getting applause on Twitter with reactions like:

“I really appreciate how thoughtful this is.”

“Really been looking forward to this movie and now I can finally go see it!”

“Now a whole new group of people can fully enjoy it!”

“For people who are hearing-impaired dropping the subtitles when someone is speaking Japanese is like switching off the audio for people who can hear.”

“I hadn’t realized adding Japanese subtitles to Japanese dialogue could help more people enjoy a movie. Nice work!”

"Bullet Train’s" new subtitled version began screening just two days later, on September 23 (though not at IMAX or Dolby Atmos/Dolby Cinema theaters, perhaps because of technical issues). The announcement of the update came less than a day after Twitter user @defsapo, who has been deaf since birth, tweeted about going to see the film but being unable to know what actor Hiroyuki Sanada was saying in his Japanese-speaking scenes, and she happily retweeted the announcement of the new version.

Along with the positive reactions to the update, a number of commenters expressed their wish for this to become the norm for subtitled movie screenings in Japan, since "Bullet Train" isn’t the first foreign film to include patches of Japanese dialogue, and it won’t be the last either. That really does seem like a smart idea, seeing as how audiences choosing subtitled screenings are already OK with having text on screen during the movie, so a few extra lines so that more people can enjoy it doesn’t seem like very much to ask.

Source: Twitter/@BulletTrainJP via IT Media

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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They did this with the movie Babel too. Japanese characters were speaking very unnatural Japanese to each other.

noticed even with Squid Game the Westerners were clearly speaking lines that were directly translated from Korean.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

They did this with the movie Babel too. Japanese characters were speaking very unnatural Japanese to each other.

I have noticed that too. Then you get random movies like Human Centipede where the guy is speaking perfect Kansai dialect lol

4 ( +8 / -4 )

If Japanese movie theaters were deeply concerned about the hearing impaired, they could adopt the technology used for decades in other countries that allows those who can’t hear to see subtitles for any and every film. Hard subtitles on one foreign film when they could be doing optional subtitles on every film in Japanese theaters don’t feel like all that much of a step toward accessibility.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Very Boring Movie. Rubbish on the Screens.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Very Boring Movie. Rubbish on the Screens.

We all have different tastes, some thought the movie was good, some didn’t. I personally liked it, but again, it’s all subjective.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

I will definitiv watch it!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

“I really appreciate how thoughtful this is.”

“Really been looking forward to this movie and now I can finally go see it!”

“Now a whole new group of people can fully enjoy it!”

“I hadn’t realized adding Japanese subtitles to Japanese dialogue could help more people enjoy a movie. Nice work!”

Adding Japanese subtitles for Japanese dialogue suddenly convinces you to go see it???? What a joke. And it was total crap. Poor man's Guy Ritchie flick.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

If it's indeed for the hearing impaired, then I think it is indeed pretty thoughtful, as one commenter (in the story) said. However, I suspect it's more likely because there are non-Japanese playing Japanese roles, and the subtitles clear up any odd accents, and also make it clear they are not Japanese, an important distinction here. That said, even Japanese actors would have subtitles if the movie is consistent, so perhaps not.

All the same, I have zero doubt that like The Last Samurai, Sayuri, and other movies made in Japan and about or featuring Japanese culture or parts of it, it will be more watched here than anywhere else, and almost solely for the sake of scrutiny. I have no doubt we'll hear a lot of, "The (insert Japanese actor's name) was great, but the scenery was wrong!" or "You can't do that on Japanese trains. Japanese would never do that! I don't like how it is portrayed. But yes, Japanese technology is the best in the world", etc.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Terrible movie.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

and foreign residents whose Japanese-language skills aren’t up to watching a whole movie in Japanese just yet

If you understand the original language of the movie, you wouldn't want to watch it dubbed regardless of how fluent you are in Japanese...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It is very popular for younger folks to watch everything with subtitles.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

But do they get the same odd translations that the rest of the world get for Japanese--Local Language? That's 80% of the fun in these films, the funny captions that don't match what is spoken.

In the DVD releases, I like when films have the non-local languages subtitled, but not the local one as the default. I'm thinking to films like the Star Wars franchise. Non-native languages get yellow subs, but if we enabled all subtitles, we get white subtitles for all the dialog.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Irrespective of subtitles, this movie is one of the worst I have seen. It really is bad.

Do yourself a favour and stay away - thank me later.

Seems the director is trying to make it look like Pulp Fiction but it fails miserably.

You have been warned,

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All the same, I have zero doubt that like The Last Samurai, Sayuri, and other movies made in Japan and about or featuring Japanese culture or parts of it, it will be more watched here than anywhere else, and almost solely for the sake of scrutiny. I have no doubt we'll hear a lot of, "The (insert Japanese actor's name) was great, but the scenery was wrong!"

The Last Samurai was shot in NZ, so yeah, the scenery wasn't quite Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This movie is tooo much of a rip off of tarantino & guy ritchie. The I'm forever blowing bubbles made me sick and I'm from there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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