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Wicked Dwarf
06-05-2011, 21:58
Okay, I will now copy paste something which I posted on Deviant Art. I hope there is someone out there who can help. I have tried multiple online translators, but they all give different translations.


Last week I bought the game "Total War - Shogun 2" and in the game a Japanese proverb appeared which really spoke to me. So simple, but so meaningful as well.

Of course the proverb was in English in the game, but I want to have it tattooed on my backspine (painful, but it will be worth it). The problem is, that mistakes happen all the time when people try to have tattooed Chinese or Japanese letters (signs or whatever we should call it ).

I am looking for the translation for the following proverb:
"A flash of lightning illuminates man's journey then darkness returns."

With other words, the path of life, being born, living then death.

So, if there is anyone who could translate this for me, then please. (Not in Romani of course . )

And then a second question. As several languages have different rules of reading (left to right, right to left, down - up, up - down etc), how should it be tattooed on my back? From above downwards or from below upwards?

Again, thanks for the people who are willing to help me!

RainSong
07-05-2011, 08:46
Would be written from top to bottom down your spine (ouch!)

Could be a 'yojijyukugo' (a four character proverb) or could be a short poem like a haiku. Hard to find the original source in Japanese because the translation is probably done very loosely to make it read well in English.

PAnZuRiEL
22-01-2012, 11:46
Because there are so few hits on Google, I suspect that it's just a contrivance for the game, and not a real Japanese proverb. A little investigation gives me the following quotation: "A flash of lightning; illuminates manís journey; then darkness returns." The placement of the semicolons clearly shows that this is an English haiku.

A flash of light-ning (5); i-llu-mi-nates man's jour-ney (7); then dark-ness re-turns (5).

Matching the syllable count would necessitate a very loose translation, if there was ever a Japanese original at all. And it doesn't seem to be famous, I can't find any attributions to an author. I think you're out of luck.

Maybe you should try emailing the game studio? They might reply, you never know.