We’ve seen a lot of "Engrish" on display in Japan over the years, with big companies like Pizza Hut and Osaka Metro proving that straight translations into English from Japanese don’t always pan out as planned.
Now, another English-language hiccup has come to light, this time standing loud and proud on an ad from Takashimaya department store in Kyoto. The large, eye-catching poster shows a person in a koi-patterned mask with a school of koi fish rising up in the background. Red text written on the white background reads: “Rising Again. Save The World from Kyoto Japan.”
▼ “Save The World from Kyoto Japan” suggests we should all be ducking for safety because Kyoto is coming to get us.
It didn’t take long for the ad to go viral online, with English speakers pointing out that the message makes it sound as if Kyoto is a rising superpower, out to fight the world like a terrifying final boss from a video game. Comments included:
“Is Kyoto the enemy of the world?”
“Are Kyoto attacking the world by sending koi fish to smother their faces?”
“All the world are belong to Kyoto!”
“I get what they mean, but now I have this image of Kyoto turning into a giant robot and menacing the rest of Japan.”
“A comma would have gone a long, long way.”
It just goes to show the importance of punctuation, because the intended meaning would’ve come across a lot better with a couple of commas, which would make it: “Rising Again. Save The World, from Kyoto, Japan.”
It didn’t take long for Japanese media outlets to pick up on the English blunder, and Takashimaya eventually got wind of the news because a day later, the message on the poster had been covered over with white tape.
▼ And now, the entire poster has been completely wiped from the wall on which it was posted.
Despite the notoriety it received, the reason behind the mistake becomes understandable when you consider this smaller poster, which shows commas aren’t necessary when the text is broken up into separate lines, and varying fonts.
▼ This is the message they were aiming for.
It’s unfortunate that Takashimaya wasn’t able to somehow fix the text and keep the poster up, as the intended message is a heartfelt one. Plus, the design features art by local contemporary artist Hideki Kimura, who’s known as the “rock star” painter from Kyoto.
This video on Kimura’s official Instagram account shows that the poster was part of a promotion for a pop-up shop inside the department store, which ended on Oct 6.
It appears that Takashimaya liked the poster so much it kept it up on the blank wall next to their store after the pop-up shop had closed. If that’s the case, taking the poster down now doesn’t seem to hurt either party, given the pop-up has ended, and Kimura has collaborated with Takashimaya in the past, suggesting they have a strong and well-established relationship.
Source: Livedoor News
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