(Question A) "Once upon a time" is to "The End" as "昔々" is to "______" ?

Here are my thoughts and problems with some possible answers:

  • ザーエンド

    • using ザー as "the". But this seems problematic since I don't hear "the" having this pronunciation for this use. Usually it sounds more like the "the" in "these" such that it should sound like ディー or ズィー
    • it is problematic by virtue of being incompatible with 昔々 since using an English loanword is not compatible with the time/ambience that 昔々 creates
  • 終わりです

    • Is this too literal? Or sounds too much like a complete sentence or a direct description to be an idiomatic ending.
  • おしまい

  • Null (∅)

    • The story ends without any idiomatic closing phrase

(Question B) In reverse, suppose we constrain the situation and use(enforce) a Loanword equivalent for example "ディーエンド" as an ending, what would be the corresponding appropriate way to start the story.

  • Can 昔々 still be used and sound natural?
  • If we talk about traditional stories, they usually all start with 昔々, and I have seen them end many times in various way like in my answer. I am not aware of any commonly used loan word to use to start a story, but I could very well imagine it being just "null". Oct 27, 2016 at 6:05

3 Answers 3




"The End"は、普通は「ザ・エンド」ではなく「ジ・エンド」と言うことが多いと思います。でも、昔話の最後に「ジ・エンド」を使うことはないと思います。




Question B に関しては・・・ 「ジ・エンド」は、ほとんどの人が理解できると思いますが(小さい子供はムリかもしれませんが)、「ワンスアポンナタイム」とか‌​書いたら(または言ったら)わからない人が‌​いそうですし、かなり変わってる感じがしま‌​す。ですので、やっぱり「むかしむかし・・‌​・」と、普通に始めて、「― ジ・エンド ―」とか「-- THE END --」などで終わるしかないかな・・という気がします。



I think "The End" is usually 「ジ・エンド」 instead of 「ザ・エンド」. Even so, I think 「ジ・エンド」 is not used for 昔話 stories.


For stories told in puppet theatre, picture storybooks, or verbal storytelling, after opening with「 むかしむかし(あるところに~~が住んでいました)」there are many times the storyteller ends with 「(~~とさ、)おしまい。」.「めでたしめでたし。」 may also be used to end the story. There are also storybooks where 「終わり」,「おわり」is written at the end in place of 「おしまい」.

There are also dialectal variations of ending a story. A region in Yamagata has story endings like 「~だと。とんびすかんこねえけど。」,「~~‌​だと。とんびからりんこねえけど。」. I cannot recall other variations but there are more variations than these two. Kyoto and other regions probably also each have their own variations but I only know of the two above.

For the second question. If 「ジ・エンド」 is used, I think most people (maybe with the exception of young children) will understand. However if 「ワンスアポンナタイム」is written (or said), it seems there will be many people that will find it strange. So, I think it is best to stick to the usual「むかしむかし・・‌​・」to begin the story and end with「― ジ・エンド ―」or「-- THE END --」since I feel that there is no choice under this constraint.

  • 英語のタブを作って翻訳してみた。大丈夫かなぁ
    – Flaw
    Oct 27, 2016 at 18:56
  • @Flaw いつもありがとうございます^^ 前もFlawさんが英訳してくれたので今回もやってくれるかな~ってちょっと期待してました :p
    – chocolate
    Oct 28, 2016 at 0:23
  • I moved the comments into the answer since they were part of the answer.
    – Flaw
    Oct 28, 2016 at 3:56
  • わ。たくさん英訳してくれてありがとうございます、勉強になります!
    – chocolate
    Oct 28, 2016 at 6:39

@sazarando gave a good answer.

めでたしめでたし basically mean they lived happily ever after.

"The end" at the end of a movie or book is sometimes just written as
or even the French word
or simply the English
"the end"


(Question A) "Once upon a time" is to "The End" as "昔々" is to "______" ?

  • Once upon a time... ...The End.

  • 昔々... ...めでたしめでたし

  • what if it is a tragic story?
    – Flaw
    Oct 27, 2016 at 6:08
  • I'm not aware of any set phrase for that. Though, on TV or in some books on the final page you might see the character「終」.
    – sazarando
    Oct 27, 2016 at 6:28
  • 1
    Whether a story has a happy end or a tragic one, depends greatly on where you stop telling it.
    – sazarando
    Oct 27, 2016 at 6:30
  • sazarando's comment about when one stops a story is truly profound: I've made it into my computer screen-saver.
    – NattoYum
    Dec 15, 2022 at 18:32

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