4

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

2

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).

  • 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.stack.imgur.com/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 Dec 11 '16 at 9:50
  • 1
    @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 Dec 11 '16 at 11:18
1

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.

  • 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 Dec 11 '16 at 9:15
  • 2
    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". – l'électeur Dec 11 '16 at 9:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.