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What does the word 奸閥 mean? It appears in the sentence 「万流奸閥解体!」, as seen in the image below. (万流【ばん.りゅう】 is the name of a character in the television show 「ブブキ・ブランキ」, which is the source of the image.)

Judigng from the characters and from context (the text comes from a poster calling for the fall of the Banryuu-led government), it seems like this would be pronounced カンバツ, and would mean something like "[evil] faction". However, I cannot find this word in any of the online dictionaries I checked, nor in BCCWJ.

My best guess is that 奸閥 is not a single lexical item, but rather the use of 奸 "evil(?)" as a modifier on 閥 "group, faction". Is that the case? (If so, this is novel to me - I don't think I know of any characters whose on readings are used freely and productively as affixes on nouns.)

"Bubuki Buranki" episode 1 17:37

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I haven't seen this anime, but ブブキ・ブランキ is basically a sci-fi? Then first I would like to mention that this art style is not that of modern Japanese. This reminds me of certain "far-right" political factions which typically use odd, old-fashioned and propagandistic wordings, simulating a propaganda poster from around the 1920's. They tend to use difficult words made of difficult kanji for whatever reasons. Basically I won't be surprised if they create new kanji compounds which suit their needs, because they obviously hate katakana words :-)

I haven't seen 奸閥 itself, and both 奸 and 閥 are not commonly used today.

  • 奸: I barely know that this kanji was used in some historical contexts and means a morally evil person. But I can safely say this kanji is almost dead today among ordinary people. かん is the only reading I know.
  • 閥: 財閥 and 学閥 are the only words I know, both of which have negative connotations. ばつ is the only reading I know.

So the word 奸閥 looks reasonable to me as a historical word that means "evil syndicate." I'm not sure if this is a real word or a made-up one (either by a real political group or the anime staff).

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  • Yes, it's a sci-fi show, set roughly in an alternative version of the present or a little bit in the future. I think you're right that the idea was for it to look like a propaganda poster (see i.sstatic.net/XF8fx.jpg, for example). Most of the results I get from googling for "奸閥" are in Chinese, but I did find one Japanese result: blogs.yahoo.co.jp/hapy24hide/54802069.html.
    – senshin
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 9:50
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    @senshin And the author is referring to 2.26 and 三島. Maybe people who have an affinity to this kind of act are familiar with the kanji 奸 and 奸閥; apparently "defeating 奸" seems to have been the slogan for some such factions in the early Showa era.
    – naruto
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 11:18
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Without any knowledge of the story, I would have to judge from the kanji used. Hopefully, one of the following 'meanings' would fit the story.

"rape gang", "wicked family/group", "traitors' clique", "villains' faction", etc.

「奸閥」 would be read 「かんばつ」 unless the author gives it an unusual and/or creative reading. If you could find no furigana in the book, then that would be a good sign that 「かんばつ」 would be just about the only "natural" reading.

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  • Yes, "villains' faction" or "wicked group" would probably be good English equivalents for the group in question in the context of the story. Would you happen to know whether the use of 奸 is common (or at least precedented) in political rhetoric to describe political opponents/enemies? I'm trying to get a feel for whether this is relatively less offensive (like something that a politician in present-day Japan could say about his opposition) or more offensive (e.g. something that a one-party state might say about its opposition or vice versa).
    – senshin
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 9:15
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    Basically, if not exclusively, you would only see 奸 used in older stories about people in power. The character, to me personally, has a Chinese or old Korean feel to it. It looks and feels "foreign" to me even though I do occasionally run across words like 奸臣 (traitor) and 奸悪 (wickedness). You would rarely, if ever, hear a present-day politician calling another using a 奸-word as it just sounds very offensive and "over-dramatic".
    – user4032
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 9:54

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