Meaning of Ghibli’s Movie “The Boy and the Heron” in Japanese and English

Ghibli's Movie "The Boy and the Heron"

Hayao Miyazaki’s new movie finally released!

I watched it on the very day it was released!

For its title, Japanese title and English title are very different.

How different they are?

Let’s take a look!

Japanese Title of “The Boy and the Heron”

Japanese title of The Boy and the Heron is “君たちはどう生きるか (きみたちはどういきるか)”

It is read Kimitachi wa dou ikiruka in alphabet.

If I translate it into English directly, it would be “How do you live?”.

君(Kimi) means “You” and the plural form of 君 becomes 君たち(Kimitachi).

どう(Dou) means “How”.

生きる(Ikiru) is “Live”.

Combining all the words becomes 君たちはどう生きるか.

Very different title from English, isn’t it.

Meaning of “The Boy and the Heron” in Japanese

If I translate the English title into Japanese directly, it would be “少年とサギ(しょうねんとさぎ)”

It is read Shonen to sagi in alphabet.

少年(Shonen) means “Boy”.

サギ(Sagi) is “Heron”.

This heron was the only image we could knew before the release.

While Japanese title is 君たちはどう生きるか (How do you live?), English title is The Boy and the Heron.

Both of them are very different.

Compare English Title and Japanese Title

English Title was “The Boy and the Heron”.

We can image something about the story from the title.

At least, main characters must be a boy and heron, we can imagine.

Japanese title is “君たちはどう生きるか”.

Direct translation is “How do you live?”.

We can not image a boy and heron at all from this title like the English title.

We can imagine that it will be something about philosophical theme.

While English title is concrete and easy to imagine, Japanese title is abstract and it requires us imagination.


The Boy and the Heron

Japanese title of The Boy and the Heron was “君たちはどう生きるか”.

Direct translation is “How do you live?”.

Both titles are very different, aren’t they.

Other than this, English titles of some Ghibli movies are sometimes very different.

It’s interesting to know the difference and imagine how translators create the title in other language.

The Boy and the Heron

Official Website of Studio Ghibli (Japanese)
Source of Image
Studio Ghibli

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