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The use of German in anime




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Iria51



Joined: 05 Aug 2004
Posts: 138
Location: San Antonio, Tx
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 12:26 pm Reply with quote
I have always wondered about this. There are quite a few anime series that use German names and words in their titles, as well as many villains and main characters that have German names. Elfen Lied, Gantz, and Weiss Kreuz jump immediatly to mind. You also see this in some video games that come out of Japan as well. My uneducated guess is that it is due to Japan's involvement in WWII on Germany's side, and that it must have left some sort of impression on the Japanese culture. I know that there were a lot of things that the Japanese learned from Germany at that time and I wonder how close their relationships were to one another. Anyone else notice this or have any thoughts?
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Starwind Amada



Joined: 26 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 12:32 pm Reply with quote
What about Asuka's German dialogue in Eva and Satella's in Chrono Crusade (which Tiffany Grant excels at in both)?
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The Ramblin' Wreck



Joined: 07 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 12:52 pm Reply with quote
Iria51 wrote:
I have always wondered about this. There are quite a few anime series that use German names and words in their titles, as well as many villains and main characters that have German names. Elfen Lied, Gantz, and Weiss Kreuz jump immediatly to mind. You also see this in some video games that come out of Japan as well. My uneducated guess is that it is due to Japan's involvement in WWII on Germany's side, and that it must have left some sort of impression on the Japanese culture. I know that there were a lot of things that the Japanese learned from Germany at that time and I wonder how close their relationships were to one another. Anyone else notice this or have any thoughts?


German, like English, is "cool".

Also Rozen Maiden has a lot of German in it.
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ChibiBritt



Joined: 28 Jul 2005
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Location: Denton, TX USA
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:02 pm Reply with quote
I'm not 100% on this, but it's possible that it could be in relation to why there are so many English words in anime. From what I have gathered Japanese people enjoy the sound of English words. In many cases when say..anime songs are sung in English, like in most of Cowboy Bebop, it's more about how the song sounds to them...rather than what the singer is actually saying. It's one of the reasons why there are so many cute signs and titles for things in Japan. Even if many Japanese cannot translate...they like how it sounds when they say it. So it's possible that is the same for German words.
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Iria51



Joined: 05 Aug 2004
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Location: San Antonio, Tx
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:43 pm Reply with quote
ChibiBritt wrote:
I'm not 100% on this, but it's possible that it could be in relation to why there are so many English words in anime. From what I have gathered Japanese people enjoy the sound of English words. In many cases when say..anime songs are sung in English, like in most of Cowboy Bebop, it's more about how the song sounds to them...rather than what the singer is actually saying. It's one of the reasons why there are so many cute signs and titles for things in Japan. Even if many Japanese cannot translate...they like how it sounds when they say it. So it's possible that is the same for German words.


That's true and I hadn't considered that it might be the same with German as well, and I can understand why English might be a language which has become popular in anime and pop culture in Japan, because America has been a source for pop icons, movies, and music that could influence the youth culture. Also, English is taught pretty widely in schools in many different countries around the world. I think that Germany hasn't had the cultural impact on other countries like it has had on Japan though, so that's why I thought it was kind of odd that it was used so much in pop culture there. Maybe I'm just seeing things though.
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dormcat
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Joined: 08 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:40 pm Reply with quote
Iria51 wrote:
I think that Germany hasn't had the cultural impact on other countries like it has had on Japan though

You got it right. During the Meiji era of modernization, Japanese military decided to learn from the best: German Army and British Royal Navy. I'd say that influence is still in effect today. Most, if not all, mecha-oriented manga-ka and animators are fans of German weaponry, notably Hayao Miyazaki. However, there's still fans of the Brits, e.g. Kaoru Mori. Here is a good fight between Kriegsmarine and Royal Navy, featuring a bad guy from JoJo (I can't remember his name...) and Shirley Madison.

Shirley Madison wrote:
ロイヤル・ネイヴィーが世界一
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Deltakiral



Joined: 07 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:27 pm Reply with quote
There are also WWII ties to FMA many of the characters are named after planes and tanks, Mustang, Hawkeye, Hughes just to name a few. There is also ties to WWII in gundam wing as well, the five gundam boys are shown in typical children clothing of the third reich. I thought this was just because of Japan involvement in WWII on the axis side.

dormcat wrote:
Japanese military decided to learn from the best: German Army and British Royal Navy. I'd say that influence is still in effect today.


That is quite intersting, I did not know that Japan looked at the German for influence, I thought it was mostly an American/English influence when the ship landed in Tokyo damned trade that cause huge cultural change. Also when does the Meiji era take place then?

Delta Kiral
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smutchi



Joined: 16 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:49 pm Reply with quote
That's a really interesting topic, I've been wondering at it, too!
My Japanese roommate told me that they also use the German word "Arbeit" (which means work) when talking about part-time jobs and the word "Rucksack" for backpack (of course the word rucksack is also used in English Smile ).

There's also the manga Pilgrim Jäger (Jäger meaning hunter).

Iria51 wrote:
Elfen Lied, Gantz, and Weiss Kreuz jump immediatly to mind.

Gantz is not really a German word...
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abunai
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Joined: 05 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:49 pm Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Shirley Madison wrote:
ロイヤル・ネイヴィーが世界一

Very true, then and now.

- abunai
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dormcat
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Joined: 08 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Deltakiral wrote:
That is quite intersting, I did not know that Japan looked at the German for influence, I thought it was mostly an American/English influence when the ship landed in Tokyo damned trade that cause huge cultural change.

That's why they learned naval tactics from the Brits.

Speaking of German influence: Japanese medical societies are also Germanic. All medical students today have to learn German in medical school. Just read/watch Black Jack for examples.

Deltakiral wrote:
Also when does the Meiji era take place then?

Go google.
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Gauss



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 519
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:33 pm Reply with quote
[quote="dormcat"]
Shirley Madison wrote:
ロイヤル・ネイヴィーが世界一


Could somebody give a summary of the "battle"? It looks like a fun round of b*llsh*tt*ng but I can't read the text.

Also, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on a WW2 connection Iria51. As said the connection is much older. It's claimed that when Prussia won the war of 1870-71 against France, boys school uniforms in Japan were changed to emulate the winner's looks (makes one wonder what they would wear if France had won, dark blue jackets with red pants?). In addition, lots of people study foreign languages so it shouldn't be too surprising if a certain admiration of a culture rubs off in the process. Kousuke Fujishima of Ah My Goddess fame would be one of the more well known, having been an exchange student in Germany.

Interesting to hear that medical students have to learn German. I guess it makes sense since Germany used to be the world leader in pharmacology and chemistry before WWI. Just odd that it would still be a required subject...
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