I've been trying to improve my Japanese by memorizing songs I like. My current effort is 白虎野の娘 ("The Girl in Byakkoya") from the movie パプリカ.

The line at the end of the first full verse has me confused. Most sites I've found the lyrics on have it like this:

高{たか}台{だい}に現{あらわ}れた 名{な}も知{し}らぬ人{ひと}は懐{なつ}かしく

...with the English translation:

Someone whose name I don't know appeared on the high ground and its moving

("And its moving" doesn't really make sense and I don't see anything like "moving" in that line, but anyway...)

In searching around and trying to understand this line I happened across an alternate rendering offered by a smaller number of sources:

高{たか}台{だい}に現{あらわ}れた 名{な}も知{し}らぬ広{ひろ}野{の}は懐{なつ}かしく

...which one site translates:

Then you find a nameless and nostalgic field on a hill.

Not only does that make more sense, but if I listen carefully to the singer (for example here around 1:02) it sounds like ひろの, not ひと with an extended final vowel as I originally assumed.

The problem now is that I can only find that 広野 meaning "field" or "plain" should be read with its on-reading こうや, not its kun-reading ひろの, which only seems to applicable to names of people or places. I couldn't find a single source which suggested otherwise.

My best guess is that kanji can perhaps be read using whichever reading one wants if it makes a poem or song scan better. Is that what's happening here? If not, what's going on?

Bonus sub-question: How is it that the word for "unknown" is 知らぬ instead of 知らない? I have the impression from watching various shows that ね can be used in place of ない at the end of a negative, but ぬ is totally new to me.

  • What translation tool did you use? – ajsmart Jun 15 '18 at 19:52
  • @ajsmart I didn't use a translation tool, when I'm trying to learn a song I just search for pages that have the Japanese text, ideally with the pronunciation of the kanji, and an English translation. – Sean Jun 15 '18 at 22:21
  • 1
    ひろの is 訓読み so sounds softer than こうや, no...? cf [工場]{こうじょう/こうば} [草原]{そうげん/くさはら} [牧場]{ぼくじょう/まきば} [音色]{おんしょく/ねいろ} [風車]{ふうしゃ/かざぐるま} – Chocolate Jun 16 '18 at 1:28
  • @Chocolate 「ねいろ」と「おんしょく」は意味自体が違いますね。ねいろを変える → 楽器を変更する。おんしょくを変える → その音を加工する。 – user4092 Jun 17 '18 at 0:35
  • 「ふうしゃ」と「かざぐるま」も違うものを指しますね。明鏡国語辞典には、「おんしょく」のところに「その音のもつ感じ。 ねいろ 。」、「ねいろ」のところには「~~それぞれの音の特性。 おんしょく 。」と書いてはありますが。 – Chocolate Jun 17 '18 at 2:00

Second question first: ぬ is an archaic/literary negative form.

What is the difference between the negative forms -ず and -ぬ?

It's very common in song lyrics.

As for 広野:


It's certainly not out of the question to read a word in an unusual way in lyrics for poetic effect/meter/just because, but in this case the word can be pronounced either way.

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.