Meaning of Yu Yu Hakusho! What’s the Kanji? | Hiro8 Japanese Culture Blog

Meaning of Yu Yu Hakusho! What’s the Kanji?

Yu Yu Hakusho, known as “Ghost Files” in English, becomes live-action TV drama on Netflix in 2023!!

That’s surprising news!!

I was reading Yu Yu Hakusho when I was in junior high and had all the comics.

Here I introduce you the meaning of the title Yu Yu Hakusho and the name of the main character Yusuke Urameshi in Japanese.

Meaning of Yu Yu Hakusho and Its Kanji

Yu Yu Hakusho is 幽遊白書 in Kanji.
You can read ゆうゆうはくしょ in Hiragana.

Technically, the Japanese title is 幽☆遊☆白書.
Two stars are added to the title.

幽(Yu) came from 幽霊(Yurei).
幽霊 means “Ghost”.

For 遊(Yu), it came from 遊ぶ(Asobu)
遊ぶ means “Play” and read as Yu in Kun-yomi.

We don’t have a word like 幽遊 in Japanese, so this is a coined word.

白書(Hakusho) came from English word, “White book”.
White book is an official report by government, isn’t it.

The nuance of 白書 here is a record, story, chronicle.

So this is the story of Ghost playing, rather fighting.

Why the Title Became 幽☆遊☆白書?

First title was 幽遊記(Yu Yu Ki).

This name was also a coined word created based on the name 西遊記(Sai Yu Ki).

西遊記 is a Chinese novel.
English title is MONKEY: The Journey to the West.

Dragon Ball was also made based on this 西遊記 although the story was very different.

The author Yoshihiro Togashi was going to use the title 幽遊記 first but couldn’t.

Because there was already a comic called 珍遊記.

This 珍遊記 was serialized in a monthly magazine Jump in which 幽遊記 was also going to be serialized in.

幽遊記 is similar name to 珍遊記 that he was not allowed to use the name.

So he created a different title 幽☆遊☆白書.

What’s the meaning of the name Yusuke Urameshi?

The main character is 浦飯幽助 (Urameshi Yusuke).

What’s the meaning of his name?

うらめし(Urameshi) comes from “うらめしや (Urameshiya)”.

This is the phrase Japanese ghosts use when they appear.
I think this is the most famous word related to ghosts in Japan.

うらめしや came from “恨めしい(Urameshii)” which means “Bitter” and “Resentful”.

Yu Yu Hakusho is all about ghosts, so that’s understandable his family name became Uramashi.

Yusuke is also a common first name to use in Japan.
But we never use this 幽 for a name of child.

This Kanji 幽 is from ghosts, so not a good word to use.

He has ghosts related word in both family name and first name.

Summary of Meaning of Yu Yu Hakusho

幽☆遊☆白書 is all about ghosts fighting.

So that’s natural it includes ghost-related word 幽.

I thought it was also interesting he also used 遊 which means Play instead of Fight.

Ghosts playing around, nice naming.

Hunter x Hunter is very famous as a work of Yoshihiro Togashi but my image of him is Yu Yu Hakusho.

Because that’s the comic I was collecting and even played video game when I was in high school.

I hope the live-action TV drama on NetFlix makes a good one!!

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