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Old 10-28-2008, 02:54 PM   #1
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Default What does Kira mean in Japanese?

I didn't know where to post this.

One of my friends told me that in Japanese Kira means sparkle. If anyone knows what it means can u let me know? It would be hilarious if it did mean sparkle.

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Old 10-28-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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Depends on the context.

Kira (きら) does generally means 'sparkle' or 'twinkle', as in "星たちがきらきらしている” (hoshi tachi ga kira kira shite iru; the stars are shining/twinkling.)

If you watched/read Death Note, then you'd know "Kira" is just a Japanese pronunciation of the english word "Killer".

Kira (吉良) is also a name of a place in Japan and a surname/family name (e.g. Izuru Kira 吉良イヅル, vice captain of the 3rd squad in Bleach.)

Erm..the main character in Gundam Seed is called Kira, but I don't know if that's meant to have a meaning, or it's just his name (it's written in katakana, a script mostly used for foreign words or words of non-japanese origins).

Hope that helps!

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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Like June mentioned, it could either mean Twinkle, Sparkle, or a name.

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Old 10-29-2008, 06:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JuNe6_^ View Post
Depends on the context.

Kira (きら) does generally means 'sparkle' or 'twinkle', as in "星たちがきらきらしている” (hoshi tachi ga kira kira shite iru; the stars are shining/twinkling.)

If you watched/read Death Note, then you'd know "Kira" is just a Japanese pronunciation of the english word "Killer".

Kira (吉良) is also a name of a place in Japan and a surname/family name (e.g. Izuru Kira 吉良イヅル, vice captain of the 3rd squad in Bleach.)

Erm..the main character in Gundam Seed is called Kira, but I don't know if that's meant to have a meaning, or it's just his name (it's written in katakana, a script mostly used for foreign words or words of non-japanese origins).

Hope that helps!
Japanese family names are more than one Kanji? Blaspemy!

*is a fan of Chinese*

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Old 10-29-2008, 08:15 AM   #5
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Japanese family names are more than one Kanji? Blaspemy!

*is a fan of Chinese*
Yeah, I'd say that 80% of all family names are composed of 2 kanji.

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Old 10-29-2008, 01:20 PM   #6
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Yeah, I'd say that 80% of all family names are composed of 2 kanji.
How about personal names? Are they just one, or is the entire name four kanji? Sorry if I have a sino-centric worldview, but I've become accustomed to thinking all asian names are made up of 3 characters. It seems to apply in Korea as well.

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Old 10-29-2008, 04:55 PM   #7
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Hi Shadow,
the chinese are commonly known to have 3-character names。But there are the occasional rarity of a 2-character surname, e.g. Ou Yang 欧阳, Si Tu 司徒. Some people only have 1 character for their first/personal name, e.g. Chen Ling 陈玲; Chen= surnmame, Ling= first name.

As for the japanese, both surnames and personal names can be made up from 1-3 kanji characters. (have yet to see 4 characters but I guess it's possible, especially personal names). Though it should be noted that 3 kanji characters could be made up of more than 3-syllables!

Not very sure about koreans but yeah so far I've seen mostly 3-character names around. So I guess that applies there. =P

Haha...seeing that you mentioned you're a fan of chinese (did u mean the language??), kanji shouldn't be a problem for you. I think I had more problems with my chinese than I did with kanji (or maybe that's just because I went through chinese education first before learning kanji...*shrugs*)

Ok...Going a little off topic there...=P

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Old 10-29-2008, 05:41 PM   #8
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thanks everyone for the help
I'm glad to get this cleared up.

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Old 10-29-2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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How about personal names? Are they just one, or is the entire name four kanji? Sorry if I have a sino-centric worldview, but I've become accustomed to thinking all asian names are made up of 3 characters. It seems to apply in Korea as well.
Japanese typically have 4character full names
2 character family name + 2 character given name

Though a 1 character first name is a little more common than a 1 character last name. So there are are some 3 character names.

Just start googling Japanese names you know and look at the number of chars in their wikipedia article.

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Old 10-29-2008, 07:56 PM   #10
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Hi Shadow,
the chinese are commonly known to have 3-character names。But there are the occasional rarity of a 2-character surname, e.g. Ou Yang 欧阳, Si Tu 司徒. Some people only have 1 character for their first/personal name, e.g. Chen Ling 陈玲; Chen= surnmame, Ling= first name.

As for the japanese, both surnames and personal names can be made up from 1-3 kanji characters. (have yet to see 4 characters but I guess it's possible, especially personal names). Though it should be noted that 3 kanji characters could be made up of more than 3-syllables!

Not very sure about koreans but yeah so far I've seen mostly 3-character names around. So I guess that applies there. =P

Haha...seeing that you mentioned you're a fan of chinese (did u mean the language??), kanji shouldn't be a problem for you. I think I had more problems with my chinese than I did with kanji (or maybe that's just because I went through chinese education first before learning kanji...*shrugs*)

Ok...Going a little off topic there...=P
Chinese culture is something of my hobby, and I've been learning the language in my free time for the past four years. This year I'm recieving formal instruction at my university, so I no longer have to rely completely on books and friends to learn ^^

I used to be a "whapanese" when I was younger, but my attention shifted completely to China upon me starting to learn the language. Therefore I now have a worldview where China is the "middle kingdom" of Asia; the norm against which I analyze all other cultures in the area.

I might learn Korean and/or Japanese in the future, but I need to become fluent in Chinese first. One thing at a time. A plus is that I will actually be able to read the Kojiki and other such books without knowing a word of Japanese, since it's written entirely in Kanji.

Maybe I should also take my teacher's advice and become the first swede to learn Manchurian? Thoug it's extinct as a spoken language, there is apparently a wealth of texts around. Yet none of the scholars in my country have taken to learning it...

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Old 10-30-2008, 12:55 AM   #11
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Chinese culture is something of my hobby, and I've been learning the language in my free time for the past four years. This year I'm recieving formal instruction at my university, so I no longer have to rely completely on books and friends to learn ^^

I used to be a "whapanese" when I was younger, but my attention shifted completely to China upon me starting to learn the language. Therefore I now have a worldview where China is the "middle kingdom" of Asia; the norm against which I analyze all other cultures in the area.

I might learn Korean and/or Japanese in the future, but I need to become fluent in Chinese first. One thing at a time. A plus is that I will actually be able to read the Kojiki and other such books without knowing a word of Japanese, since it's written entirely in Kanji.

Maybe I should also take my teacher's advice and become the first swede to learn Manchurian? Thoug it's extinct as a spoken language, there is apparently a wealth of texts around. Yet none of the scholars in my country have taken to learning it...
Wow~! I admire your enthusiasm! 加油!("Jia you", means "do your best"/"ganbatte!", literal meaning: "add oil" =)

I'm just a language junkie trying to learn as many languages as I can (but one at a time), and become fluent in them.

Excuse my ignorance, but what's "kojiki"?? Is it Japanese literature?? I think even if it's written completely in kanji, it's still japanese; very different from chinese despite kanji originating from chinese. Though I'm not so sure about old Japanese literature though.

And erm...I think Manchurian's completely different altogether. They have their own script that again is completely different from chinese (seen some in tv shows, but I could have mistaken). Haha..but yeah it'd be cool if you become the first swede to learn it! 6_^

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Old 10-30-2008, 11:00 AM   #12
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"Kojiki" is the first major work of japanese literature. It is a large collection of Shinto mythology, comissioned by a japanese empress who feared the stories about the gods might be forgotten lest they be written down. I think this was in about 700 A.D.

Hiragana and Katakana were not invented at this point, and I've heard that it's largely intelligeble to someone who knows Classical Chinese.

It should be noted that althoug the Kojiki tells about the lives of the gods, the book in itself does not have the "holy" status of the Bible or the Quran. You don't get 70 000 years in hell for putting a chocolate fingerprint in the margin.

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Old 10-30-2008, 05:31 PM   #13
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"Kojiki" is the first major work of japanese literature. It is a large collection of Shinto mythology, comissioned by a japanese empress who feared the stories about the gods might be forgotten lest they be written down. I think this was in about 700 A.D.

Hiragana and Katakana were not invented at this point, and I've heard that it's largely intelligeble to someone who knows Classical Chinese.

It should be noted that althoug the Kojiki tells about the lives of the gods, the book in itself does not have the "holy" status of the Bible or the Quran. You don't get 70 000 years in hell for putting a chocolate fingerprint in the margin.
Haha...Thanks for the explanation! Sounds like an interesting piece of work. But for some reason I have images of chinese deities and tales in my head when I saw the mention of 'life of the gods'. I'm sure it's completely different; it's just my wayof relating things. >.<

Good luck with your mandarin lessons and hope you finally get to read/understand the Kojiki! =)

p/s: It'll be great if you could master classical chinese because the language itself is an art.

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