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Hinomoto Oniko: Moe Meets Racial Slur

This is one of those times when otaku do something that’s somewhere between impressive and tragically oblivious.

Apparently, as the Internet tells it, there is a racial slur in China targeted at things Japanese written using the following characters: 日本鬼子; it roughly means “Japanese devil.” These characters also exist in Japanese, but don’t come across as meaning quite the same thing; in particular, the character 鬼 is oni, the traditional Japanese ogres we all know and love from Urusei Yatsura and any number of other anime incarnations.

Now, it also happens that in Japanese that looks a bit like a name: Hinomoto Oniko. Which, once you think of it that way, is a pretty badass-sounding name; were it a real name, it would mean something like “Japanese Child of the Oni.” And then you give that to otaku, and you get this:

Oniko Hinomoto

This is just one of dozens (#46, specifically) at the below-linked site; it doesn't give an artist credit.

The page from which this illustration came makes an attempt at aggregating well over a hundred moe-fueled examples—some quite skillful—of interpretations of the person that the name would fit.  #9 is particularly cool, and even includes a subtle tiger-print UY nod.

It’s not entirely clear whether this is a clever subversion of an insult or a comically tragic example of the contextual ignorance that happens when you throw otaku at pretty much anything—rule 34 and the laws of moe work their magic on it.

Either way, it’s pretty funny, and there is some nifty art in the gallery.

[Linguistic footnote: Hinomoto Oniko is the Japanese order; her family name would be the fictional Hinomoto (written with the same characters as "Japan"), and her given name would be the unsurprisingly-fictional "Oniko" ("child of the oni"). The name would also be female, since it ends with the character "ko."]

Square Enix Head Not So Into English

Youichi Wada, president and CEO of video game giant Square Enix and regular Twitter user, tossed off a rather amusing language-related tweet yesterday. In response to some other Japanese companies with international markets who’ve switched all internal communication from Japanese to English, he remarked (roughly):

“I’d switch internal communications to C before I’d switch to English!!”

As amusing as the image of Square Enix issuing all company memos in C++ is, one can see why the suggestion of forcing your Japanese staff to learn and use a second language even while at the home office might rub you the wrong way.

It’s also either mildly ironic or very appropriate that one of the first Japanese game companies to do high-quality international localization would stick to their native language at home, and certainly appropriate in light of their core business being not just RPGs, but J-RPGs.

Real-life Ponyo Village Saves Bay From Destruction

TBS News is reporting that the town used as a model for the setting of Ponyo, Tomo no Ura, has managed to stop the destruction of part of the now world-famous bay. It seems that Hiroshima prefecture wanted to build a bridge across the bay and fill in a portion of the waterfront to create land for a parking lot and other amenities. Leaving the not-so-subtle irony of burying Ponyo’s bay for the sake of parking aside, the residents of Tomo no Ura were angry enough about the environmental destruction and associated eyesore that they sued the prefecture to stop the project. The court handed down a decision in favor of Tomo no Ura, so it looks like the bay will remain as pictured by Miyazaki for the foreseeable future.

Miyazaki said during a public appearance that he was pleased with the court’s decision.