I've encountered a song with romaji title Katatsubasa no tenshi, which I would understand, but the other day someone handed me an album with romaji-ed names, where the same song was written as Katayoku no tenshi so which is OK?


I have always heard this as katayoku.
(e.g. Umineko no Naku Koro ni makes plenty of references to a [片翼]{katayoku}[の]{no}[鷲]{washi}.)

For what it's worth (maybe very little), Google IME also suggests this song title as the first entry upon entering katayoku and does not recognize katatsubasa as a 2-kanji compound.

There is some discussion here about this same song, where the answerers have the same opinion. The first answer by ffbiyoriさん says that the word was coined fairly recently, and so the reading varies, with hen'yoku and katatsubasa also being seen sometimes, but less commonly than katayoku.

(Also note that if you search EDICT for words ending in 翼, they all use the yoku reading.)

  • Thanks for the link to discussion about this song, Not only I was having the problem ;) – Kitet Feb 16 '14 at 22:50

I believe it is katayoku.

normally, there are two ways to read kanji. kun-yomi and on-yomi. on-yomi is pronunciation derived from chinese reading, and kun-yomi is the traditional japanese reading. usually in a single vocabulary, these two types of readings do not mix. however, there are few special cases where these two types of reading do mix. these are called yuto-yumi(in order of kun-yomi, on-yomi) and jyuubako-yomi(vise versa). in most of the time, the words that are read in these types have been used for a long time and known as the "special cases."

however, in the case of 片翼, this is something taht came up recently. it was probably first used by Taro Koizumi in his novel "Katayoku dakeno tenshi" and since then, 片翼 has been read katayoku. it's like a coined word, so maybe if he had titled his novel "katatsubasa dakeno tenshi," we would have been reading 片翼 as katasubasa.

  • Both answers are very educating, but since Hyperworm posted that link about the song in question, he's getting an accept and yoyonote a +1. Sorry i can't divide accept in half ;) – Kitet Feb 16 '14 at 22:48

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