In the names of cartoon movies 桜花抄, 百鬼夜行抄, what's the special meaning of 抄? Is it a kind of synonym of 物語?

  • Two of the hanzi you've used don't appear to be used in Japanese. Jul 19, 2011 at 6:09
  • Aha, here we are. The first is actually called 「秒速5センチメートル」 ("5 centimeters per second") but used the localized name instead (since the title refers to sakura petals), and you probably meant 「物語」on that last bit. Jul 19, 2011 at 6:19
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    @Ignacio Actually, the first act of 「秒速5センチメートル」 is 「桜花抄」 - the modern Japanese kanji that conform to the ones he used.
    – rintaun
    Jul 19, 2011 at 6:21
  • @inganacio Hanzi = Kanji? Jul 19, 2011 at 7:14
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    @Mark @inganacio Hanzi and Kanji are both written as 漢字, hanzi is just the Chinese (or more specifically Mandarin) reading of 漢字, and they both mean Chinese characters in their respective language. Weather if Kanji and Hanzi means the same thing in English, I can't say.
    – Ken Li
    Jul 19, 2011 at 7:38

4 Answers 4


The literal meaning of 抄 is “excerpt,” and it also means an annotation of literary work. However, it is often used in a title of a literary work when it is neither an excerpt nor an annotated version of another writing, and I guess that your two examples fall into this category. I do not know the exact meaning of 抄 in such cases.

Sometimes the use of 抄 in a title can be explained from the meaning “excerpt” even when it is not an excerpt of another work. There is a well-known collection of poems by Kōtarō Takamura titled Chieko-shō (智恵子抄) published in 1941. Chieko is the name of his (deceased) wife. This work is not an abridgement of anything. The title may mean that this work describes some essential part of his wife, but not her entirety.

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    -1 "I do not know the exact meaning of 抄 in such cases"
    – repecmps
    Jul 20, 2011 at 2:49

It means a collection of abstracts/summaries from some original writings.

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    -1 I think Lenik can read a dictionary.
    – repecmps
    Jul 20, 2011 at 2:49

I am putting my guess here that the suffix 抄 comes from 詩抄 {ししょう} which means "anthology" in English, and similar to the English word it does not have to contain summaries only; it can probably be a collection of short but full stories/poems, which is what 秒速5センチメートル is an example of.

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    Admittedly I did not know the word 詩抄, but according to Daijirin and Daijisen, 詩抄 means that a book which contains poems which are selected from many poems. This suggests that 抄 in 詩抄 still means “excerpt.” Jul 19, 2011 at 15:32
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    @Tsuyoshi To my understanding, an "excerpt" is a portion of a full story or article, e.g. extracting a paragraph or two from a 10 page article, while the clause "which are selected from many poems" seems to mean to select a number of full poems rather than quoting a stanza from each poem. The difference is in whether the selected/extracted portion is standalone by itself or is meaningless without the rest.
    – Lukman
    Jul 19, 2011 at 15:37
  • Now I see the difference. You are right in that 詩抄 contains selected poems in full, not excerpts from poems. Thanks. Jul 19, 2011 at 15:41

抄 etymologically is a Transcription of an event or Copy of an existing literary work.

In your case it's simply the transcription of a story (or stories) => Tale or Story of

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