I'm reading the manga "Fruits Basket". On page 89 of the first volume, Shigure informs Yuki during supper that Kyo will start going to the same high school as himself and Tohru. Yuki responds with fury. He stands up, the background of the frame becomes stormy, and he lashes out at Shigure: "食べるな。近寄るな。出て行け…っ".

Above his head appears the description: 絶対零度の怒り

I looked for this phrase in Google and it seems to be relatively common. That is, not an invention of this particular mangaka. But of course I couldn't find a proper definition/explanation in any of the common dictionaries.

Now, of course this is a description of his anger, but I'm not sure whether it refers to the type of fury or the degree of fury. That is, does it mean "absolute, extreme anger" or indicates a specific anger that is not the usual kind of anger?

If it refers to the degree of anger, does this mean that in Japanese culture anger is perceived as cold? In my own native language as well as English, I think anger and fury are usually perceived as "hot" except particular types ("burning rage" vs. "cold fury"), so I'm interested to know if there is a cultural difference here.

  • Is there something wrong with "cold fury"?
    – Avery
    Jun 20 '15 at 8:28
  • @AveryMorrow I don't know. I don't know what the phrase means exactly, that's why I'm asking. Is it exactly the same as "cold fury"? Because "cold fury" is a particular kind of anger, not a degree. Is this one a degree or a kind? And I am not sure lashing out at a person is compatible with the nuance of "cold fury". Yuki actually loses his "cool" here. Jun 20 '15 at 9:02

In general, fury is usually associated with fire/flame in Japanese, too. There are many figurative set phrases like "怒りの炎", "怒りに燃え上がる", or "怒りで爆発する", and so on.

Now, 絶対零度の怒り is not an established idiom, and I think its interpretation should depend on the context. This phrase would at least mean 'extreme/strong anger' because it sounds stronger than simple 冷たい怒り. It may also mean 'cold fury' at the same time, but this could be optional.

It seems that Yuki is normally a calm and collected person, and the author probably wanted to express some kind of "coolness" in his anger, even though Yuki was not trying to his anger this time.

Anyway, this is not the phrase you have to memorize, and I think you have already "felt" the vibe of 絶対零度の怒り already reasonably.

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