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What's this? Another translations post…?

I don’t mean to get anyone too excited and worked up but

An official Japanese version of Codex is coming! Right now the goal is to get the Starter and Core sets sent off to the printers by the end of summer. The current status of the translation is “feature-complete but fixing bugs,” which is to say that there is now a Japanese version of everything included in both boxes, but they still need to be gone through with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that we didn’t miss any typos or other issues. All images here are from an incomplete and unfinished version of the game, guys.

If you happen to read Japanese, you may have noticed a few things in those pictures. For one, the Starter set specs are “Strength” and “Skill,” rather than “Bashing” and “Finesse.” There are a couple of reasons for this, the most important being that those two concepts are often presented as “set opposites” in Japanese culture, so it made sense to take advantage of that for a less “translationy” translation.

But what about Rook’s spec, then? Well, broadly speaking, the specs are pretty directly translated from English (with only minor changes here and there, often because English has more finely tuned words than Japanese). The main differences beyond the Starter set are Zane’s spec being named something closer to “Chaos” or “Disorder” than “Anarchy” (since the Japanese word for “anarchy” is either specifically “lack of a government” or “chaos” without the dual meaning of the English) and Bigby’s spec being named “Justice” instead of “Law.”

The biggest change in the spec names is for White. The goal was to keep the feeling of “scholarliness” last seen in Midori’s special move name translations in Yomi, so the White specs are named with four-character compounds: Strength becomes 百練千磨 (literally “100 practices 1,000 polishes”), Ninjutsu becomes 奇想天外 (essentially “completely unexpected”), and Strength becomes 金剛不壊 (essentially “firm and unshakable”).

If you speak Japanese, you may have also noticed that the example cards shown enjoy a bit of wordplay in the translation, in a similar fashion to how the English version has a definite sense of fun to it.

“Firehouse” is perhaps the most straightforward example: the first part of the Japanese word for a firehouse, 消防署, sounds just like the word 焼亡, which means “to be destroyed in a fire.” The net effect of “焼亡署” is more or less identical to the wordplay of the English, if perhaps a bit more direct.

“Artisan Mantis” takes advantage of the fact that readings for all of the kanji characters on the cards’ names are given explicitly. The word for “artisan” is 職人, literally “occupation-person.” The thing is, though… that’s a mantis! In recognition of diversity, the kanji for “person” was changed to the one for “bug” or “insect,” but the reading was left intact to provide a sense of “this is the intended meaning, but expressed in a slightly unusual manner” (which can occasionally be seen in, say, comics).

“Leaping Lizard” was just a huge thorn in our sides for the longest time, because the name and flavor text (“He can reach for the sky.”) are just so cowboy movie in a way that is entirely impossible to translate with any flavor left to them (something like “Jumping Lizard” that’s just sort of… dull). Ultimately, in a moment of epiphany, the idea came to instead double down on localization. As a result, the card is now named “Tobe! Tokageman” (“Jump! Lizardman”) in reference to the theme song from the original Gundam, “Tobe! Gundam” (“Fly! Gundam”), taking advantage of the fact that the words for “jump” and “fly” are pronounced the same in Japanese. For the flavor text, he has another Gundam intro song reference that happens to reinforce his ability as an anti-air unit: it says “Hikou no teki o, ute yo! Ute yo! Ute yo!” (“Strike! Strike! Strike your flying enemy/-ies!”) in reference to the lyric “Kyodai na teki o, ute yo! Ute yo! Ute yo!” (“Shoot! Shoot! Shoot your giant enemy/-ies!”), once again taking advantage of homonyms in Japanese.

Happily, most of the cards have been far more straightforward to create acceptable Japanese translations for them, but then it’s not very interesting to talk/hear about those, now is it? ; )


I happen to know Japanese (JLPT1) and I loved this post !
I definitely want to see more.

This is awesome! Full disclosure, I saw @GRAG post the images on Discord and asked him to make this post. I’m not disappointed with the result, that’s for sure!

Thank you so much for changing Bigby’s spec to “Justice,” by the way. I’ve always thought that would be better to match how the others are opposite of reality (“Peace” for the military and “Truth” for the Illusions).

Love the 4 kanji names for White, and now I want to get the Japanese version instead of the English one… But I’m sure that particular expansion will be a long way off.

You had already talked about Firehouse on Discord, but it’s still amazing how well that worked out! I’d say the pun is even better in Japanese, though that’s kind of the nature of having meanings attached to your symbols instead of just sounds.

Speaking of which, I like the use of that with Artisan Mantis. I’ve seen a few examples of this before, where they use furigana to give the intended reading to unusual kanji. You see that a lot with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, like how they use さだめ (sadame) as part of the lyrics of several opening songs but always write it as 運命 (unmei), or how the original reveal of Stands in the manga uses the kanji 幽波紋 (Ghostly Ripple) to tie them to the Ripple used earlier. This is a particularly amusing example, though!

Leaping Lizard is the kind of localization story that I would point to as an example of why literal translation is not the best translation. Even without knowing anything about Gundam, I was grinning as I read about it and I’m sure that anyone you show it to in Japan will love it.

Please, show us as much as you can! You’ve set a high enough bar that anything will look tame by comparison, but we’ll all still enjoy it regardless.


Wow, great review! Thanks a lot


Grag, any chance you could post all the spec’s names out? I love the elegance of Strength vs Sill (I think that would have worked in English too, were it not for Bashing being less…strong) and how they look with one character.
Are all the other ones 1 character or anywhere between 1-4?

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The NetHack player in me greatly desires that you refer to these posts as YATP

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Good question! The starter set is the only specs that are only one character long — with… two? exceptions, they’re all two characters (on purpose). I’ll post a list later.


OK, specs.

Bashing: 力
Finesse: 技

Balance: 均衡
Feral: 野性
Growth: 成長

Anarchy: 無秩序
Blood: 流血
Fire: 火炎

Law: 正義
Peace: 平和
Truth: 真理

Demonology: 悪魔学
Disease: 疾病
Necromancy: 死霊術

Discipline: 百練千磨
Ninjutsu: 奇想天外
Strength: 金剛不壊

Past: 過去
Present: 現在
Future: 未来

Overall, they’re pretty straightforward translations. The main things to note outside of White’s spec names are that Blue’s names do match up with the Japanese translation of 1984 (with “Law” becoming “Justice”) and that Blood literally means “bloodshed.”


Ugh, I’m terrible! I’ve written this much and I still haven’t mentioned that @Kasumi has been helping a whole lot, too! I mean, I’m not a native speaker of Japanese, for one, so most of what I’ve been doing has been Photoshop work for the cards and page layout stuff for the manuals (and offering some localization ideas).


Nice work @GRAG and @Kasumi. This is really cool. One thing I love about Codex is the humour and references in the cards and it’s great to see that localized with care, attention and intelligence.


I appreciate how Fire is [Fire] [Bigger Fire]

Which then gets me wondering. How come Fire isn’t just the first one 火?
Or the one with all 3 of them crammed together as “one character?”

火炎 (literally “fire-flame”) is just a word that means a blazing fire. Basically, it would have seemed kind of weird to have that be a single character, so we used a slightly poetic synonym to bring it in line with the rest.


Ah I see. And bashing and finesse are the starter set which I guess gets a pass for having simpler shorter names

It’s so difficult than Puzzle Strike.
Puzzle Strike Japanese edition has many OTAKU (anime & games)jokes.
And I love BBB’s rocket punch changed “ろけっとぱんち!”.
Hiragana looks like childish, and it will be Kawaii !
I think BBB is cute mascot in Fantasy Strike world.
(Like R2D2 or BB8 ?)

But Codex needs intelligence and wizdom.
To tell the TRUETH, I didn’t know “1984”.(Whoa! I’m ashamed.I don’t like reading.)

We must say thank you for Mr.Shindo ‪@logicwolf ‬←His Twitter.
He is a translator of English to Japanese.
He checked our translation, and help to change elegant.


This may be too early but, is there going to be a Japanese codexcarddb ?

I believe @LK4O4 is in charge of that, but he’s got a lot of other stuff to do before adding anything related to the Japanese version. It would be nice if that could happen at some point, though!

Unfortunately the way CodexCardDB is set up, it’d be a good deal of work to localize it.

You’d also need to do localization of all the rules clarifications text as well

That’s true, but I would guess that it’s relatively easy to add a setting which makes it display English or Japanese cards.

If the images of the japanese cards are out there someplace, there would be a way to make changes s.t. the image asset got swapped out that wasn’t too easy.

Would just be a lot of route copy-pasta work (720-ish URLs?) and some switch logic to accept language in the URL and change which assets get served.

@GRAG are the japanese image assets someplace publicly staticly hosted?

@GRAG What was the reason for not calling Ninjitsu Ninjitsu? Was it due to the fact that you wanted 4 character compounds for White in general? Is the one you picked for Ninjitsu linked to Ninjas in some way? It’s not an expression I’m familiar with at all, and a quick google search only seemed to turn up a magazine about the Occult…