Talk:Wily Beast and Weakest Creature/Spell Cards/Stage 3

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The Intentions of the Names of Kutaka's Cards[edit]

I believe there's some problems with the current translations of Kutaka's spell cards. First of all, the main theme of all her cards are the appearance of the names of gods associated with or conflated with Niwatarijin (庭渡神/ニワタリ神). Anyway the first card contains the word 水配り. Now literally that means "distribution of water" but, as the footnote states, it's a reference to the water god(s) Ame no Mikumari no Kami (天之水分之神/天水分神) and Kuni no Mikumari no Kami (国之水分之神/国水分神), who are sometimes both collectively referred to as 水分 (mikumari). They're the children of the river gods Hayaakitsubiko no Kami (速秋津比古之神/速秋津比古神) and Hayaakitsubime no Kami (速秋津比売之神/速秋津比売神), who are also somtimes both collectively referred to as Hayaakitsu (速秋津). Anyway the 分 (kumari) in Mikumari (水分) is the Old Japanese way of writing 配り (kubari/kumari). In fact, the gods' name is sometimes written as 水配/水配之神/水配神 and is still pronounced the same way (Mikumari/Mikumari no Kami). Mikumari is worshipped at Niwatarijin shrines and is somtimes conflated with Niwatari himself. The second card uses the word 見渡し (miwatashi). Yes, it literally means "surveying" but it's primarily in reference to an alternate name for Niwatarijin, 見渡神 (Miwatashijin/Miwatarijin). The name is also in reference to the Miwatashi Jinja, one of the many Niwatarijin shrines. Anyway the last card uses 鬼渡 (Oniwatari). This is another one of Niwatarijin's many names and, although translating to "oni crossway/passageway", the word is left untranslated as it should be. Anyway my point is the words in these cards are primarily meant to be read as the names of gods associated with Niwatarijin, that's the main theme grouping all of them together. The words in the other two cards should be left as "Mikumari" and "Miwatashi".

My second issue with her card names is the translation and subsequent insertion of a pun regarding the word 試練/試煉. Before fighting Kutaka she clearly states that the yama instructed her to test (試し) the person attempting to cross into Hell. Therefore we can safely say that 試練 in this case specifically means "trial" or "tribulation" (a test, basically). Yes, "ordeal" has as less common secondary meaning of "trial" but it mainly just means "problem" or "issue", especially one that's painful. There's no such connotation in the Japanese word, it's just a test. Eiki is testing if you to see if you're even strong enough to get into Hell. Anyway, in her hard/lunatic cards the kanji 練 is switched out for 煉 in order to make 試煉. 試煉 is just another valid way to write 試煉. A footnote in the wiki claims that 試煉 is a pun involving 煉獄 (purgatory) but the evidence for that is extremely shaky. First of all, 煉獄 specifically refers to the Christian/Catholic purgatory (Limbo) and isn't a term in Shintoism or Buddhism. The area in the game ZUN conflated with Puragtory/Limbo was Sai no Kawara. The player already passed Sai no Kawara a while ago. Kutaka's stage takes place at the gates of Hell, the Sanzu was already crossed. The only new connotation 試煉 has over 試練 is an increased sense of difficulty (signified by the radical for fire 火). When a Japanese person sees 試煉 they just think of a harder trial, not the Christian/Catholic purgatory. Even the extremely thorough Touhou Motoneta Wiki does not say anything about 煉獄 in their notes of Kutaka's spell cards (https://seesaawiki.jp/toho-motoneta_2nd/d/%bf%e5%c9%e4%a1%d6%bf%e5%c7%db%a4%ea%a4%ce%bb%ee%ce%fd%a1%d7). Of course the footnote about purgatory can stay as a fun observation but translating a card based on an assumption with flimsy-at-best evidence behind it shouldn't be a practice here. I strongly believe that 試練 be translated as "trial" and 試煉 be translated as "tribulation" (a harder trial) instead of forcing a pun based on an assumption. —Ennin (talk) 10:48, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

In short: you're saying that 水配り and 見渡し are supposed to literally be the names of the gods (proper nouns) and therefore shouldn't be translated. I would cede your point if it weren't for the fact that they're not just the names of the gods: ZUN took those names and converted them into verb format, hence the り and し. Their names aren't 水配り神 and 見渡し神. Similarly, if there were Spell Cards named something like 天照らす神霊 or 石凝りの達人, then we shouldn't replace those verbs with just "Amaterasu" or "Ishikori" either. I'd argue that simply putting "Mikumari" and "Miwatashi" would unnecessarily flatten the intended meaning of the card name.
As for 試煉: you're completely right, thank you for the correction. I'll put that change in right away, and will make sure to double-check this sort of thing in the future. Sorry about that. Gilde (talk) 21:57, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have worded that first part better heh. What I mean is that the 'real' pun is with the naming of the gods' + literal meaning of the verbs in the first two cards and the kanji in the last card. Those are the puns we have to adapt into English. Well they're double meanings, so we should present them how they're meant to be taken. Kuataka is Niwatarijin, making her Mikumari, Miwatari and Oniwatari as well. They're just the god's different names. Especially in the case of Oniwatari, where 鬼渡 (literally "oni passageway") not only refers to the god's name but to one of the worlds Kutaka guards the entrance to, 鬼の国. There's no way to combine them without it sounding like an awful hodgepodge. The only way of combining the two is having the god's name on the bottom (ex: "Trial of Miwatashi") and the literal meaning on the top using ruby text (like what was done to Reisen's spell cards). Also I would like to point out that Miwatshi in this case it closer to "Land Surveillance", as the Miwatashi Shrine sits upon a hill and it's god, Niwatari/Miwatashi is said to look out and protect the land below.
Ennin (talk) 10:04, 26 September 2019 (UTC)