I am teaching"In A Grove" from Feedbooks http://www.scribd.com/doc/3682435/In-a-Grove-by-Ryunosuke-Akutagawa and have found that the same man, the samurai Kanazawa no Takehiko, as he is named by in mother in law, is referred to inside the story by his wife, Masago, as Takejiro.

A student pointed out the difference in names and has put forth that the wife didn't even refer to her husband with his proper name and using this for proof of her role in the husband's death. I do not know Japanese and am teaching this story as a lesson in critical reading and argumentation, so I was unprepared for this question. Before I posit an answer to the class, I am wondering if this could be a diminutive? Like Jimmy for Johnny or James and John, but I am not sure.

Short of this being a mis-translation, which it could be, is there another reason for this shift in names?

The quote from "The Old Woman's Testimony" aka mother in law is on page six with the samurai's full name is "His name was Kanazawa no Takehiko, and his age was twenty-six." from the link above.

The quote from the Masago, the wife, is from "The Repentance of a Woman" is on page 10 and is ""Takejiro," I said to him, "since things have come to this pass, I cannot live with you. I'm determined to die … but you must die, too. You saw my shame. I can't leave you alive as you are.""

I look forward to any help you can povide.


  • 4
    The name is 「武弘」, so I am profoundly perplexed as to how in the world it could be read EITHER of the two ways you mentioned in the first place. Also, there is no such thing as a 4-syllable diminutive for a 4-syllable name in Japanese. – l'électeur Feb 21 '17 at 0:55

1) The name of Samurai murdered is not Kanazawa no "Takehiko" but "Takehiro、武{たけ}弘{ひろ}."
There is no "武{たけ}彦{ひこ}" in the story. If the name TakeHiko in your text, it should be a mistranslation.

2) I've read the original story of "In A Grove(藪{やぶ}の中{なか})" carefully, but I couldn't find the name "Takejiro." His wife reffers his husband as not his name but just "(my) husband." So I believe "takejiro" is also a mistranslation.


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