[Japanese language] Difference between Original English titles and Japanese titles

Disney and Pixar movie Coco is showing in Japan now.

But title is not “Coco” but “Remember me“!

Many movie and music titles are changed into Japanese original ones.

[Disney movie “Big Hero 6“]

In Japan, “Baymax“!!

Why only Baymax!?

This movie was advertised as “Very moved story” in Japan because Japanese tend to like moved story more than action story!

[Disney and Pixar movie “Up“]

In Japan, “Carl Jiisan no Soratobu Ie (Grandfather Carl and flying house)“!!

Oh, too long!!

[Disney movie “Frozen“]

In Japan, “Anna to Yuki no Joou (Anna and snow queen)“!!

It’s very long too!!
Why did it turn out like this?

I think there are two reasons.
One is Japanese language tend to like long explanation.
When I learned English, I had an impression that English writing is short.
Sometimes short Japanese words give impression not enough or a bit cold feeling in Japan.

For example this speaks…

A: How are you?
B: I’m fine!

“I’m fine!” is “genki desu!” in Japanese words.
But this is too short in Japan.

“un, maamaa iikana (it mean also “I’m fine”)”
This is better, but sometimes short.

“a~, kekkou iine~, saikin yoku nereteru karane choushi ii yo (I’m fine because I can have good sleep these days)”
This is much better!
Explaining “Why I’m fine” gives good impression in Japan.

Up = Carl Jiisan no Soratobu Ie
Frozen = Anna to Yuki no Joou
I’m fine = a~, kekkou iine~, saikin yoku nereteru karane choushi ii yo

This is Japanese!

Another reason is from style of Ghibli movies.
They very often have “no” or “to” in their titles.

For example…

Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
Howl no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

And Japanese titles of other movies have often “no” or “to” too.

Carl Jiisan no Soratobu Ie
Anna to Yuki no Joou
Tou no Ue no Rapunzel(Tangled)
Merida to Osoroshi no Mori(Brave)

Ghibli movies have a great popularity so Japanese film‐distributing agency probably tend to imitate their titles.

“No” and “to” are a kind of “and”, so using them make it possible to explain multiple words.
And “no” and “to” make good Japanese word rhythm.

It’s just my thinking but not so far from the truth!

[Cube(1997 Canadian science-fiction horror film)]

I love this movie so much!
And it has the same title in Japan too.

But there are easy-misunderstanding titles as follows!

[Death Cube (original: 1996 Death Game)]

[Cube IQ (original: 1998 THE GAME ROOM)]

Oh… these are not Cube…  Distributors just jumped on the bandwagon…

[Napoleon Dynamite (2004 American comedy film)]

In Japan, Bus Otoko(Bus Man)!!

This is so bad title!!
Because it is a rip-off of Densha Otoko (Train Man)!!
When this time, Densha Otoko had gained popularity in Japan…

This title was called “Most bad Japanese title” and re-released as “Napoleon Dynamite” in 2013.

On the contrary, there are good titles too.

[Dead Poets Society (1989 American drama film)]

In Japan “Ima wo Ikiru”
It mean “Live in the present”

[Sister Act (1992 American musical comedy film)]

In Japan “Tenshi ni Love song wo…”
It mean “Love song for Angel”

[Bonnie and Clyde (1967 American film)]

In Japan “Oretachi ni Asu wa nai”
It mean “There is no tomorrow for us”


I think these are good titles!

By the way, light novels also have so so long titles.

[Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re: Life in a different world from zero)]

[Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute)]

And the longest title is…

[(Kono Sekai wa Mou Orega Sukutte Tomi to Kenryoku wo Teni Iretashi Onna Kishi ya Onna Maou to Shirode Tanoshiku Kurashiteru kara Ore Igai no Yuusha wa) Mou Isekai ni Konaide Kudasai]

It’s translatable as “Please don’t come to another world anymore because I have already saved here and seized power and living a fun life with woman knight and woman demon lord at castle.”

Oh… it’s no longer a title… just a summary !

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