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Once Again, Overwatch Isn't Very Good At Picking Kanji Characters

[Image: Blizzard]
[Image: Blizzard]
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Last year, a short Overwatch animation featured some iffy kanji choices. It seems the latest Hanzo skin does, too.

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Japanese has a rather complex writing system that features kanji characters from China. There are also native writing systems called hiragana and katakana that are used along with kanji in written Japanese.

The latest Hanzo skin features the characters 矢印 (yajirushi) on the strip of his quiver. When Japanese people see this, it stands out like so:

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Why? Because yajirushi literally means “arrow mark,” as in the arrow symbol you’d see on a signpost or a map. It doesn’t mean “arrow” as in the thing you shoot from a bow—that would simply be “ya” (矢).

So seeing the word for “arrow sign” on Hanzo’s strap looks so weird to those who know Japanese.

If you are wondering how this happened, Google Translate could be the culprit. If you put “ya” (矢), you get “arrow” in English.

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Illustration for article titled Once Again, iOverwatch/i Isnt Very Good At Picking Kanji Charactersem/em

But, if you put “arrow” in English, you get “yajirushi” (矢印), the word for “arrow sign.”

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Illustration for article titled Once Again, iOverwatch/i Isnt Very Good At Picking Kanji Charactersem/em

If you put in “yajirushi” (矢印) in Japanese, you do get “arrow,” but the more accurate, though somewhat awkward sounding “directing arrow” below.

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The inclusion of this kanji is miffing Overwatch fans in Japan.

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“Hanzo’s arrow sign is even on the weapon...”

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“What’s up with Hanzo’s arrow sign”

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“While Genji is a god of military arts, Hanzo’s ‘arrow sign’ is totally not cool, don’t cha think?”

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“Why is ‘arrow sign’ written on Hanzo’s new skin...”

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“Why the heck is ‘arrow sign’ written on Hanzo’s strap”

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“Hanzo, the arrow sign, you’re making me laugh, stop it lol”

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“Even though I thought why has Hanzo been turned into those odd [kanji] t-shirts foreigners wear... Is it that “ya” (矢) is “arrow” and “arrow” is “yajirushi” (矢印)? lol”


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

It’s kind of bad in another standpoint: this appears to be the ONLY text on this skin, making its appearance even stranger.

Text can be instruction, advertation, or art. But the way it appears it here it looks very much to be instructional... which is weird. Is the quiver so unconventional it needs to tell people what it holds? Does Hanzo forget where his arrows are??

Had there been a ton more instruction decals all over his armor (a la Gundam), there would’ve been a neat and obvious throughline for the design. But that lonely kanji really throws a wrench into the theme.

Just try picturing a very sleek looking supercar with no decals but then right by the fuel door it says “LAMP OIL HOLE” in Mandarin in bright neon letters.