entertainment

More movies with weird Japanese titles

17 Comments
By Philip Kendall

Regular RocketNews readers will know doubt have seen articles documenting some of Japan’s weirder translations of Western movie titles ("Malkovich’s Hole," anyone?), or perhaps caught our collection of English movie posters remade using their Japanese titles. But today’s list of 10 adapted movie titles was nominated by none other than Japanese movie watchers themselves, who felt that the new names their country had given to these feature films were actually pretty cool.

Let’s take a little look, shall we?

In a survey conducted last month by marketing and consulting group iBRIDGE, 500 Japanese people were asked to rate a list of adapted, Japanese, movie titles when compared to their original English names. One or two of the names suggested are real head scratchers, but the list did also turn up some unusual titles that we’d never think to search for when trying to find our favorite movies in a store.

Let’s take a look at the 10 Japanese-language film titles that moviegoers were especially fond of. We’ll be introducing the movies by their original English titles, followed by their Japanese titles and then their translations in bold.

  1. Bonnie and Clyde: 俺たちに明日はない(Oretachi ni Ashita ha Nai / There’s No Tomorrow For Us)4.4% of the vote

We begin our translation adventure with a Japanese title that immediately ruins the ending of the film to which it belongs by telling prospective viewers that the heroes will most likely die. Perhaps the name "Bonnie and Clyde" – little more than a pair of unfamiliar, foreign, names to Japanese eyes and ears – was a touch ambiguous, but calling a movie “There’s No Tomorrow for Us” is akin to releasing "The Sixth Sense" as “A Boy and His Ghost Counsellor”.

  1. (Tie) An Officer and a Gentleman: 愛と青春の旅だち (Ai to Seishun no Tabitachi / The Travellers of Love and Youth) 4.6% of the vote

Is it just me, or does the Japanese title for this one make it sound like a movie starring Bill Murray about a bunch of ageing hippies travelling across America in a clapped-out VW camper van?

  1. (Tie) The Notebook: きみに読む物語 (Kimi no Yomu Monogatari / The Story I Read to You) 4.6% of the vote

To be fair, “The Notebook” is a pretty vague title, and anyone who hasn’t caught a trailer would probably have no idea what it’s about from the name alone. “The Story I Read to You” at least lets us know that we’re not going to be watching 90 minutes of footage of a few sheets of bound writing paper.

  1. Basic Instinct: 氷の微笑 (Kori no Bishou / Ice Smile) 5.4% of the vote

Now that we think of it, there was kind of a chill to Sharon Stone’s smile during that one scene. Nice work, Japan, we like this one!

  1. Up: カールじいさんの空飛ぶ家 (Kaaru Jiisan no Sora Tobu Ie / Grandpa Carl’s Flying House) 6.2% of the vote

Once again, Japan opts for a title that gets straight to the point. Going by the Japanese title of this animated movie, we clearly have an old man – whose name is Carl, by the way – and we know that he’s got a house that flies. Sounds like fun! And it will be, until that heartrending opening leaves viewers with a weird empty feeling in their stomachs for the duration of the movie.

  1. Die Hard with a Vengeance : ダイ・ハード (Dai Haado / Die Hard) 7.4% of the vote

OK, this entry is quite frankly a mystery to us. Perhaps the people behind the survey were under the impression that Bruce Willis is playing a man named Jean L’Clane and that the film was shot in Paris, because the title they compared the Japanese adaptation to was "Une journee en enfer," which is the name "Die Hard with a Vengeance" was released in France under. Except, that’s not its original title, guys…

Sorry, Japan, but you’re not claiming “Die Hard” as a piece of your own linguistic genius – that honour clearly belongs to Murika! Moving swiftly on…

  1. The Body: スタンドバイミー (Sutando Bai Mii / Stand By Me) 8.4% of the vote

Another sneaky one from the survey’s makers here since, although Rob Reiner’s "Stand By Me" is based on Stephen King’s novella "The Body," the English-language film adaptation was always "Stand By Me" to begin with. Besides, when Japan thinks the same name will work for the subtitle of a Doraemon movie, you know something’s not quite right.

  1. Gone with the Wind: 風と共にに去りぬ (Kaze to Tomo ni Sarenu / Leaving with the Wind) 11.6% of the vote

It may seem like splitting hairs, but while the English original’s title suggests scattering and being blown out of existence (unless some literary critic would like to inform us of some other meaning in the title of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel?), the Japanese title conjures up more of an image of being carried elsewhere. A mite chirpier, perhaps, but worthy of special praise? Nah.

  1. Sister Act: 天使にラブソングを (Tenshi ni Rabusongu wo / Singing Love Songs to Angels) 12.8% of the vote

We’re not the biggest Whoopi Goldberg fans, but calling "Sister Act" “Singing Love Songs to Angels” is just silly. Sorry, Japan, but this one sucks. She’s acting like she’s a sister to avoid the mob, see, not trying to hit on an angel.

  1. Frozen: アナと雪の女王(Ana to Yuki no Joo / Ana and the Snow Queen) 24.6% of the vote

Proving that the world really can’t let it go, "Frozen" came in at number one in Japanese moviegoers’ ranking of cool title translations. Hardcore fans of Disney’s latest movie may disagree, but we’re actually going to side with Japan on this one since a) "Anna and the Snow Queen" is much closer to the name of the fairy tale by which Frozen was inspired, and b) as with so many Disney and Pixar movies, “Frozen” is a fairly ambiguous title.

The only bone we have to pick with the name “Anna and the Snow Queen” is that it sort of gives the impression that Ana is the main protagonist, but as anyone who has seen the movie will know, there is no real protagonist – only cleverly written songs with characters dancing to them. Sorry, am I being cynical again?

Source: Goo Ranking

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- “But we’re speaking Japanese!”: Humorous video confronts lingering stereotypes in Japan -- We’re not going to lie…these sausage people currently trending in Japan freak us out -- What Happened With These DVD Packages? They Don’t Look Anything Like the Anime We’re Familiar With!

© RocketNews24

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17 Comments
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My all time favorite is a TV show on the Disney Channel called "Shake it Up", which somehow got changed to "シェキラ!" or Shekira! WTF is a Shekira? Its not even a WORD!!! Why even change the title if you have to make up words that don't exist in Japanese or English, just because it sounds VERY roughly phonetically similar to the original title. Does Disney think no one can pronounce "シェーク・イット・アップ" in Japan? THIS is why a lot of Japanese people can't speak English correctly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Just my 2 cents.

Bonnie and Clyde: 俺たちに明日はない(Oretachi ni Ashita ha Nai / There’s No Tomorrow For Us) Any American (and many other westerners) would know automatically that "Bonnie & Clyde" ends up dead. In fact we may even say "go out like bonnie & clyde". So to a Japanese audience who wouldn't know that, to suggest that they both die at the end is not as odd as one may think.

(Tie) An Officer and a Gentleman: 愛と青春の旅だち (Ai to Seishun no Tabitachi / The Travellers of Love and >Youth) 4.6% of the vote

That's tabidachi, not tabitachi. Tabidachi means to set off, embark on a journey. There is no word "taitachi" that gave rise to the mistaken translation of "travelers".

Die Hard with a Vengeance : ダイ・ハード (Dai Haado / Die Hard) 7.4% of the vote

What in the world is the author trying to say? All of the Die Hard movies after the first two have had titles that were pretty ridiculous in English to start with. To rename a tile that makes no sense into just "Die Hard" is quite an improvement.

Sister Act: 天使にラブソングを (Tenshi ni Rabusongu wo / Singing Love Songs to Angels) 12.8% of the vote "A love song for an Angel" would be a better translation. And it's as good as any because the sister (nun) and sister (black woman) thing doesn't translate into Japanese.
-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The movie's too old for most of the people taking the original survey, I suppose, but I always wondered who came up with 三つを数えろ (Mitsu o Kazoero) for the classic noir film "The Big Sleep."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mirai Hayashi, yes! I know exactly what you mean. For a while I thought Shakira was maybe the name of the main protagonist, but after watching a few episodes with no appearances by anyone named Shakira, it dawned on me that it's just a really stupid title.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An Officer and a Gentleman: 愛と青春の旅だち (Ai to Seishun no Tabitachi / The Travellers of Love and Youth)

旅だち does not mean "travellers". That is an awful translation.

Whoever translated it should go into the Japanese movie re-naming industry.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The numbers are incorrect! 8,8 skip nine!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mirai HayashiAug. 26, 2014 - 07:46AM JST My all time favorite is a TV show on the Disney Channel called "Shake it Up", which somehow got changed to "シェキ>>ラ!" or Shekira! WTF is a Shekira? Its not even a WORD!!! Why even change the title if you have to make up words >that don't exist in Japanese or English, just because it sounds VERY roughly phonetically similar to the original title. >Does Disney think no one can pronounce "シェーク・イット・アップ" in Japan? THIS is why a lot of Japanese >people can't speak English correctly.

Absolutely correct, Imagine my astonishment when I learned that James Brown's”:Get on Up" was ゲラッパ!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The numbers are incorrect! 8,8 skip nine!

Read it again John Carl Smith. The article states that both entries are tied, with 4.6% of the vote apiece.

I quite like Kori no Bishou for Basic Instinct. That's a pretty interesting name. Kaze to Tomo ni Sarenu for Gone with the Wind I like as well. The rest, not so much. The Japanese title for Bonnie and Clyde sounds more like a Sylvester Stallone movie.

All of the Die Hard movies after the first two have had titles that were pretty ridiculous in English to start with

Agreed. "A Good Day to Die Hard?" A cringeworthy title that reminds me of Starship Troopers 3 (which features a song called "Good Day to Die"). Die Hard 4.0 was ok, but the ".0" part was unnecessary.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Absolutely correct, Imagine my astonishment when I learned that James Brown's”:Get on Up" was ゲラッパ!

Actually, it's "geroppa" (ゲロッパ) ... :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the Japanese title for the recent "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which is just "LIFE!" is a great example of an improved movie title. The title shows that it is a movie centering on Life Magazine, and is also about the protagonist learning how to live his own life to the fullest - the exclamation mark really emphasizes that. The movie isn't actually as much about Walter Mitty's "secret life" as the English title would have you believe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

By far the coolest and most insanely ridiculous move translation was of "Army of Darkness" (Evil Dead 3) with Bruce Campbell...translated into Japanese as "Captain Supermarket." The poster was covered with images of Campbell Soup. http://i.imgur.com/2gdrtRE.jpg

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stephen KnightAug. 26, 2014 - 11:10AM JST "Absolutely correct, Imagine my astonishment when I learned that James Brown's”:Get on Up" was ゲラッパ! Actually, it's "geroppa" (ゲロッパ) ... :-)

You're right. It's been a few years since.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You wouldn't translate a person's name, likewise Titles should not be translated..PERIOD.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The absolute best is them missing to change "Syriana" to something else. So it went as "シリアナ" - basically meaning anus. See for yourselves:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51P0ZSCJFQL.jpg

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I still like Napolean Dynamite's バス男, makes no sense

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ebisenAug. 27, 2014 - 09:38AM JST The absolute best is them missing to change "Syriana" to something else. So it went as "シリアナ" - basically >meaning anus. See for yourselves:

While it certainly would cause any English speaker with even limited knowledge of Japanese to raise an eyebrow. it wouldn't have the same impact on Japanese people. シリアナいis more of direct translation of the English slang more often used as a personal insult than anatomical reference. This is entirely lacking in the Japanese language and culture, and while a term like けつの穴may sometmes be heard, it isn't used as an insult. I think that if a term like 女子アナdoesn't make you giggle, then シリアナshouldn't either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

風と共にに去りぬ, ''去'' in Chinese means 'go to; go somewhere'; in Japanese Kanji it means 'gone; never return'. thus 去りぬ is OK.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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