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  1. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    A western version of a nekomata or kitsune?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Holo, Oct 12, 2011.

    I love the nekomata and kitsune from Japanese folklore and want to incorporate them in my fantasy series and was thinking of making my protagonist one of them instead of the typical vampire, werewolf, or witch. The problem is, with western readers, it may be hard to define them since kitsune and nekomata are japanese words and come from a different culture. So I was wondering if there were any other names that I could call them that mean the same thing or if there were any western variations of these creatures?
     
  2. Prince_Genji
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    Prince_Genji Member

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    No probably not, the Japanese have been isolated from the world to a very large extent since more than a thousand years ago. Their mythology and language are largely dissimilar to Chinese and Korean folk lore much less to any European nation's. Some thing's that are from fears that western and easterners alike experience. The danger of children drowning while they swim is one and can create some startlingly similar things like Kappas and Kelpies, but This is very rare.

    I'm new to writing but I think a truly unique story will almost always require some interesting description. Reading about new things is the reason many MANY people read, don't be afraid to describe things. Description makes interest as long as it's well written and not too long or short. A good length is determined by it's importance to the story and reader.
     
  3. Ocean Seven
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    Ocean Seven New Member

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    You could call them by their English names, like catgirl.
     
  4. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Just use the original word. Explain what they are in the book, near the beginning. Readers aren't that dense. :p
     
  5. Prince_Genji
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    Prince_Genji Member

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    Neither of these are catgirls...
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    found the out what the meaning of those names in Japanese then translate into English.


     
  7. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    I would keep the original names of the creatures, instead of saying something like: "shape-shifting fox-creature". I don't think these creature have western equivalents.
     
  8. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    They are written in Western Alphabet though.
     
  9. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    Which is the translation of Japanese characters.
     
  10. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I am trying to say that if these Japanese folkloric creatures are written in the western alphabet then they are in a way integrated.
     
  11. Baba Yaga
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    Baba Yaga Member

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    I've never heard of these creatures, but they sound interesting. I think you should keep their Japanese names but describe them as well, I love being entertained and learning something at the same time. It's been done a gazillion times, but wherever your is set, you could have a foreigner seeing the creatures for the first time- and describe them from the point of view of someone foreign and then have him meet a Japanese national, who will provide him with the folklore and history around them. Looking forward to seeing a story featuring them!
     
  12. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Baba Yaga , I have always associated folklore with people only, meaning traditions and culture mixed together.
    I have never thought that creatures made up for books and stories are part of the folklore.
     
  13. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    Yes westerners have been exposed to stories of Japanese creatures like kitsune or tanuki, but we did not adopt them.

    Holo: I've looked up kitsune on wikipedia and two western animals that came close were an "English shape-shifting dog-spirit" called Barguest and the "snake-fox" Nguruvilu from Mapuche, Chile. It's not the same though, so I'd stick with kitsune.
     
  14. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    In several books I've seen the original term used the first time, often following a description of the creature and a reference to folklore (although sometimes the original name is not mentioned at all), and then translated thereafter - I've specifically seen this done with 「狐」 in a book written by a Korean-American author. If you're writing in English then in this case "cat" and "fox" would work fine. Repetition of foreign words can often throw people off - I lost count of how many times the French word "étoile" pulled me out of the story in 「ストロベリー・パニック!」 (Strawberry Panic!).
     
  15. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    how do you mean about 'etoile'?
     
  16. FoxPaw
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    FoxPaw Senior Member

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    But I think she's refusing to the mythical creature when she says kitsune, etc. Yes, it also means "fox" but it's interchangeable with the folklore, which I think is what Holo's after?

    And "étoile" was part of the school's ranking system. They could have used a Japanese word, which probably would have been preferable, but it's up to the author in the end when it comes down to rank-names for things. Yes, I've read Strawberry Panic!.

    Edit: After looking at Ixloriana's post, she has a really good idea with that cat/fox demon/spirit/etc. example below.
     
  17. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    Calling it a "cat" or a "fox" might get the reader confusing them with normal cats and foxes, but I see where you're going with that.

    You could refer to them as werecat/werefox, or cat/fox demon. Or cat/fox spirit. Or something like that, depending on the impression you want to give.
     

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