鬼顧 || The Oni’s Reflection

tsutae五番目物「鬼顧」
The Fifth Play: The Oni’s Reflection

Vocals: Meramipop (めらみぽっぷ)
Lyrics: RD-Sounds
Arranged by: RD-Sounds
Album: Tsutae (伝) 【Official Site】
Circle: Diao ye zong (凋叶棕)
Event: C91
Original Theme: Battlefield of the Flower Threshold [華狭間のバトルフィールド]

Requested by: Vaati

英訳だけです。申し訳ありません。

The fifth play in a traditional Noh performance is known as the Kiri Noh (切り能) or the Oni Mono (鬼物), and it features the performer assuming the role of demons or monsters. They are apparently fast-paced, and make use of bright colours. Even from that brief description, it’s clear that an arrangement of Kasen’s theme is the perfect fit.

I decided to translate the title as “The Oni’s Reflection.” Oni (鬼) literally means ‘demon,’ but Oni are an established species in the Touhou universe, which is why I went with that. 顧 means something like ‘nostalgia.’ ‘Reflection’ isn’t quite an equivalent term, but I went with it because I think it relates to the underlying theme of the song. It seems like it involves Kasen becoming(?) an Oni, but using her arm as a symbol of her humanity. Therefore ‘reflection’ refers to Kasen looking back and remembering her past, but it also has a more literal meaning: Kasen looks at her reflection, and tries to come to terms with what she sees.

In other words, it seems like Kasen has both a human and Oni nature. Her Oni nature (demonstrated in the song through the phrase ‘when the Oni are here’) compels her to hunt and eat humans, whereas her humanity (represented by her arm) compels her to hold back and feel remorse.

Like the other tracks in this album, there are lots of archaic expressions and historical allusions. As always, I’d love to hear other interpretations, or even corrections in areas where I’ve misinterpreted the grammar, etc.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“The clothes that she wore
Were unlike those of any human.
Even so, her hair was brightly coloured—
The same colour as human flesh.”

When was I born?
And when did I leave my human body behind?
Both answers came from within.
I remember the taste of blood.

Mount Ooe,
Deep in the mountains,
Became my dwelling.

There is no way of life left,
But my body must still persist
No matter what I become.

No matter what kind of soldiers they may be,
All humans are the same.
While the Oni are away, their hearts (1)
Break.
Where have they been invited to?
Will they never return to this transient world?

Be silent!
Hold your tongue!
Because of that arm of mine,
I will not lose my humanity.

“Adopting such a lifestyle
Was certainly her attempt to mimic humans.
Thus, the verdure illuminating her deeds
Surely resembled even the colour of human souls.”

In the past,
I was feared by humans.
However, before I knew it, I had placed myself in their power.
Listen to those metallic sounds…

Before the distant gates,
Rajomon,
The foolish ones gather tonight…

Though I am able make a living,
I must live inside that body.
No matter what I become.

No matter what kind of principle it may be,
It applies equally to all humans.
While the Oni are here, this heart of mine
Begins to move.
O, those who are led away!
Eating humans is the law of things.

Be silent!
Hold your tongue!
I feel pain in my arm
And I do not lose my humanity.

All humans gaze upon the Oni resting within them
And tremble in fear.

All Oni gaze upon the human resting within them
Though they cannot regain human form.

All Oni are the same,
No matter what legends one considers.
When the humans were there, they would have been defeated.
Resound!
No matter where it may be,
The path I am on is the heavenly path.

Be silent!
Hold your tongue!
I pray that, even if I restore my arm,
I will not lose my humanity.

Kill!
The voices of Oni resound.
Their extermination yet continues…
I pray so I will not lose my humanity.

_ _ _ _ _

(1) This line refers to the proverb 鬼の居ぬ間に洗濯, which is equivalent to the English phrase “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

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6 thoughts on “鬼顧 || The Oni’s Reflection

  1. 空見りんき January 18, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    Hello.
    Thank you for your translation.

    I haven’t read 東方茨歌仙 and not familiar with 華扇,
    but anyway I will write what I noticed.

    —-
    > And when did I leave my body behind?

    I think here 「身を落とした」 could mean that she became 鬼.

    ▼ 身を落とすの意味 三省堂 大辞林 – Weblio辞書
    : [URL] http://www.weblio.jp/content/%E8%BA%AB%E3%82%92%E8%90%BD%E3%81%A8%E3%81%99
    : おちぶれる。零落する。

    —-
    > I stop this way of life,

    I think 「絶えてなお」 is not active and its subject is not “I”.
    If “I” is subject 「絶ってなお」 or 「絶ちてなお」(an archaic expression) would be used.
    I would translate that part to
    “There is no way of life left,”

    —-
    > All humans are the same—
    > They are nothing but foolish soldiers.

    > Even in terms of foolish logic.

    > Even in foolish legends.

    There seems no meaning of “foolish” in original lyrics.
    I would translate the first part to
    “No matter what kind of soldiers they are,
    All humans are the same after all.”

    ▼ いかなとは – Weblio辞書
    : [URL] http://www.weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%84%E3%81%8B%E3%81%AA
    : 1. どのような。どんな。 「 -ことでも」 「 -人でもかなうまい」

    —-
    > While the Oni are away, this heart of mine

    Original lyric goes 「鬼の居る間はこの心」, here it says 「居る」 and not 「居ぬ」.
    So the translation would be
    “When the Oni are here, this heart of mine”

    I think this paragraph could say that
    when 華扇(or humans) have the 鬼 inside her heart, she eats other people.
    Whether subject is 華扇 or humans will depend on how we interpret 「この心」.

    —-
    > While the humans are away, have your revenge.

    Original lyric goes 「人の居る間に討たれなん」, here it says 「居る」 and not 「居ぬ」.
    「れなん」 will be 「る」(an auxiliary verb of passiveness) + 「ぬ」(one of completion) + 「む」(one of conjecture).
    These auxiliary verbs are all archaic ones.
    I would translate this part to
    “When the humans were there, they would have been defeated”

    I think this paragraph could say that
    when 鬼 have humans inside their hearts, they become weak and can be defeated by humans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • releska January 19, 2017 / 7:36 am

      Thank you very much for your comment! Your explanations of the grammar points were insightful, and they helped me to further clarify my understanding of the lyrics.
      _ _ _
      いかないかな – I originally went with ‘foolish’ because I saw a definition that implies that the word strengthens what comes after it (sometimes in a negative way). However, I think the interpretation you provided makes more sense for the first instance. I feel a bit uncertain about the second one (with 理) still…
      http://kobun.weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%84%E3%81%8B%E3%81%AA%E3%81%84%E3%81%8B%E3%81%AA
      >〔下に打消の語を伴って〕とてもとても。どうしてどうして。決して。
      _ _ _ _ _
      Also, thanks for pointing out the areas where 居ぬ is actually 居る. I was so focused on the old proverb that I overlooked the change in verb form.
      _ _ _ _ _
      I was also a bit puzzled by 風け – merami-pop appears to sing 響け、 but it’s written with a different character. I went with ‘resound,’ but do you know of any occasions when 風け is used as a verb?

      Like

  2. 空見りんき January 19, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Hello.
    Thank you for your reply.

    —-
    > I feel a bit uncertain about the second one (with 理) still…

    Neither am I.
    I think the second one could say
    No matter what kind of principles(or rules) they are, including one that human could eat other humans,
    they equally apply to every human.

    —-
    > I went with ‘resound,’ but do you know of any occasions when 風け is used as a verb?

    I don’t know that use.
    It is same to the 力け which appears to be sung as 動け.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ammy / エイミー (@StellaLirica) March 19, 2017 / 12:24 am

    I feel like there’s a problem with the line “No matter what kind of soldiers they may be,”.
    In いかないかな兵とて we got “兵” which is hei hence the “Soldier” but in the song Merami says “いかないかな強者とて” so basically “強者” which is tsuwamono.
    I think they both mean different things? I was clueless until I heard the song so I wanted to figure it out.

    Like

    • releska March 19, 2017 / 9:02 am

      It looks like 強者 literally means ‘strong person.’ So, you could change the line to ‘no matter what kind of strong person they may be.’ I didn’t pick up the change in that line, so thanks for pointing it out! (^_^)

      Like

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