Kanji Characters


So you know that in Japanese there are three different alphabets? Well there are and as you can imagine for those less than fully immersed in the culture this can cause some confusion.

Shadows is the film at the heart of our new show A Translation of Shadows and last week we were finally in a position to share it with the people in Japan who helped us make it. They’d been waiting so long to see the thing I’m sure they had pretty much given up hope. I wasn’t sure what feedback we would receive from them but what I wasn’t expecting was to be told that in the credits all their names are written in the wrong alphabet!

Looking back on it now we were really dumb. We sent our list of credits off to be translated into Japanese, but this list included Japanese names, which had already been translated once from Japanese into English. Now we were asking for them to be re-translated back into Japanese. These names had started out in Kanji – essentially Chinese logographic characters and returned in Hiragana, which is one of Japanese’s two kana or syllabic systems. It sounds an innocuous migration but I imagine it’s equivalent to a name leaving as ‘Philip’ and coming back as ‘Fill Ip’. Anyway, everyone has been scrupulously polite about this error in both directions and it is all being sorted out.

HOWEVER, if you want to see the last ever screening of Shadows complete with its comically ill-judged Hiragana closing credit sequence, rush to Arena in Wolverhampton on Friday where we will be performing A Translation of Shadows. At the end of the show you can talk loudly in a superior voice about Kanji, Hiragana Etc. no one will know you’ve read this blog post, hoover up some credits with the assembled company, this is our gift to you. Thereafter it’s Kanji all the way down the line. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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