This question is related to my Sci-fi Fantasy question "Japanese Wedding Chant from Ghost in the Shell". That question is concerned with Japanese folk traditions and mythology, and please feel free to give an answer there for that question if you have one.

Hello, I'm new to Japanese Language SE. Making of Cyborg and Reincarnation are two theme songs from the 1995 animation Ghost in the Shell, 攻殻機動隊, and both utilize the same ancient Japanese chant.

In the chant the "鵺鳥" is mentioned, which has been variously translated as 'Chimera bird' & 'Sterling bird'. What bird is meant by this, and is it the mythical Nue? And if so, then why would a symbol of ill-omen be included in a wedding chant, which should be a happy and blessed occasion?

Japanese KanaKanji






First English Translation

Because I had danced, the beautiful lady was enchanted

Because I had danced, the shining moon echoed

Proposing marriage, the god shall descend

The night clears away and the chimera bird will sing

The distant god may give us the precious blessing

Thank you.

Note: Regarding my previous inquiry into the correct translation to English regarding the tenses, broccoli forest was kind enough to refer me to this question answering exactly that, and since that has already been answered I've removed it from my question to avoid duplication.

  • You can read a bit more about 鵺 on Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nue, but the basic idea is that en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaly_thrush made creepy chirps, which made people think that it was some monsterous 鵺. I'd imagine though given the nature and old language of the chant, they mean the mythical animal 鵺 as opposed to the real bird that might be making the creepy sounds. – Ringil Apr 12 '19 at 15:12
  • @Ringil I'm confused as to why they would put that in a wedding chant though. A wedding should be a happy occasion, not one of creepy ill-omens. – Johan88 Apr 12 '19 at 18:59
  • @broccoliforest Wow, amazing, thank you – Johan88 Apr 13 '19 at 3:44
  • @Ringil Perhaps you could write this up as an answer, namely that from a linguistic perspective 鵺 could refer to either the mythical Nue or actual Scaly Thrush. And if you add a suggestion as to why a bird of ill-omen would be included in a wedding chant that would be appreciated. Perhaps the musical director Kenji Kawai has answered that in a Japanese interview? – Johan88 Apr 14 '19 at 2:22

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