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Why are some lyrics words written in kanji whose usual reading is not how it is sang?

So, we were reading Hunter X Hunter manga in Japanese (page 16 if you're interested) and stumbled upon the following sentence:

実はオレずっと前から知ってたんだ親父の 仕事{こと} ・・・

And we figured out the following (probably incorrect) translation:

The truth is, I was always aware about my father's (work? thing?) ...

The furigana next to 「仕事」 says 「こと」 and we thought it to be strange, because we usually encounter 「仕事」 as 「しごと」 (work), moreover we were unable to find the 「こと」 reading in the dictionary.

To sum it up: Why is 「仕事」 read as 「こと」 in this case and what does the sentence actually mean? Thanks.

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Man how are you guys always so on top of these duplicates? –  ssb Dec 10 '12 at 15:31
    
@ssb: Usually it's questions answers that the finder participated in. Or, search function. –  istrasci Dec 10 '12 at 15:35
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marked as duplicate by Flaw, Tsuyoshi Ito, Zhen Lin, Dono, dainichi Dec 11 '12 at 1:04

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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I am not familiar with the manga, but this is a fairly common way of expressing words that have a double meaning. For example, judging solely based on the one sentence you posted, I would guess that the speaker's father has some unusual job, like maybe he's an assassin or something like that. What the speaker would be actually saying would be 親父のことを知ってる, but what he specifically means is that he knows about his father's job. Just a way of showing textually both what he says and what he means. You'll often see this in subtitles for movies as well. One simple example I always remember is when I saw Tron here, they always said 出口{ポータル}. So just think of the top as what they say and the bottom as what they mean.

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It's quite a confusing way to state something while meaning something else, but I guess I understand it better now. Thanks. –  Oleg Dec 10 '12 at 16:07
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