How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

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J L
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How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

Postby J L » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:56 pm UTC

Hello everybody,

I'd like to ask for some help with a story I'm writing: In the end, my (American) protagonist is going to sacrifice himself for some greater good (yes, it's a little cheesy) and records a video message for his (Japanese) girl-friend, in which he explains everything and says good-bye to her. I'd very much like to end his message with some words in Japanese. And this is where my problems start.

I did some googling and I realize there are many ways to say "I love you" in Japanese (daisuki, aishiteru ...); however, it seems that it's not as commonly said as in English (or even in German). I asked a (German) japanologist about it, and he didn't really offer any assistance because he claimed in such a drastic situation you wouldn't say anything at all. Well.

Since it's basically just "pulp fiction", I'm willing to bend realism a bit. However I want to avoid stupid mistakes, too. Does anybody have any suggestion for something roughly equivalent to "I love you" or at least "Farewell" that you would say as a final good-bye to your loved one?

Any help is much appreciated.

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bigglesworth
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Re: How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

Postby bigglesworth » Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:27 pm UTC

Some brief searching brought this fruit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_poem
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J L
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Re: How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

Postby J L » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:21 pm UTC

Thank you very much for your reply! I'm aware of this custom (it's fascinating), however I was hoping for something less complex ... Like I said, something you would say at the end of a recorded message, like "Good bye", "Take care", or "Love you."

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Re: How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

Postby CurePeace » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:20 pm UTC

As a consumer and occasional translator of low-brow Japanese fiction, I can say that I've seen "aishiteru (yo)" used in such situations.

It's a bit unrealistic, but I think it's at an appropriate level of realism since your speaker isn't Japanese -- he's American. Given that the rest of his message is presumably in English, it's probably fine to have his entire message be spoken with American norms. "Daisuki" is wildly inappropriate though, and none of the Japanese words for "farewell" really seem to fit (sayonara, saraba, etc. all just seem to draw attention to the sadness).

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Re: How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

Postby J L » Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:27 pm UTC

Thank you very much ... this was exactly what I was looking for! In the meantime, I've managed to get hold of another japonologist, and she recommend the (apparently even less formal) "suki da yo" ... would you consider this to be inappropriate, too? I'm a bit torn between the two.

As for the character speaking, it's more Bruce Willis than Richard Chamberlain.

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Re: How to say good-bye to a loved one ... in Japanese?

Postby Pattern Tracker » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:02 am UTC

If your character is Bruce Willis, I doubt he'd have the kind of temperament or patience to even want to bother to use her language. If he's dating her, they'd probably already have their own shorthand for understanding each other, likely mixing Japanese and English words, sayings, idioms, etc. They might, gag me, have some sort of cliched shortcut like Patrick Swayze in Ghost saying "Ditto" to Demi Moore to tell her he loves her because he's too much of a douche to just say it. Or he could have a made-up Engrish word, some sort of Americanized muddle of "aishiteru" or "tsuki". Using fond terms when saying a weighty goodbye is probably as close as Bruce will get to being sensitive.


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