That’s the familiar Studio Ghibli anime legend on the cover, but with a very unfamiliar name.
China has often shown itself to be pretty lukewarm on the idea of intellectual property rights, but the country is pretty fond of anime. These two factors came together when we spotted, on a recent trip to Shanghai, a store selling bootleg copies of a documentary about famed director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.
▼ Miyazaki, wearing his famous apron, beams at potential purchasers.
Oh, wai, sorry. That’s actually Guzuo Miyazaki, at least according to the cover’s helpful Japanese text.
The trilingual billing on the front of the rainbow-sheen box has “Miyazaki Hayao” (keeping the Japanese ordering with the family name first) spelled out proudly in the Latin alphabet in the middle, with the proper rendering of his name in Chinese characters below. The top line, though doesn’t match.
In Japanese, Hayao Miyazaki’s name is supposed to be written with three kanji characters, two for his family name, and one for his given one.
▼ Hayao Miyazaki, written in Japanese
However, for some reason the designers of the box decided to write “Hayao” in the phonetic Japanese script called katakana, instead of kanji, for the Japanese version of his name on the cover. Granted, the three characters used to write Hayao Miyazaki’s name are slightly different in Chinese and Japanese, but the cover contains the correct Japanese rendering of “Miyazaki” for the top line, so it’s weird that they wouldn’t do the same for “Hayao.”
Still, while it’s an odd move to write “Hayao” in katakana, it can be done, in which case it’d look like this.
However, the bootleg box instead has this.
Only the last character, オ, matches. We suppose Hayao and Guzuo look a little similar, provided you’ve just knocked back several beers or are bleary-eyed from a marathon Ghibli classics screening.
But maybe this is a situation where the Chinese and Japanese languages having different pronunciations for the same, or at least equivalent, kanji? To find out we asked a Chinese friend of ours how Chinese speakers pronounce the anime director’s first name, to which she answered “Jun.”
Our first impulse was to recommend that any and all anime fans import a copy of this film from China and learn all about this heretofore unknown anime creator. But then we sneaked a peak inside the box, and found that instead of the Blu-ray promised on the cover, there was actually a standard-definition DVD inside. So really, we have to say you’re better off saving your money until it gets a proper HD remaster, especially if you’re a real Guzuo Miyazaki fan.
[ Read in Japanese ]
Follow Casey on Twitter, where his favorite Chinese bootleg remains “Dog Fqwr” as an alternate title for Scooby-Doo.
[ Read in Japanese ]