I want to join two passions of mine in a single tattoo I want to get to commemorate something important to me.
One of these is the love for the Digimon series I had since I was very little and still endures, the other is the work of Brandon Sanderson, specifically the "Stormlight Archive" series.
In the Digimon series, there is this "Digicode", a sort of third syllabary for Japanese, there is a link to it if you want to see it: https://digimon.fandom.com/wiki/DigiCode
In the Stormlight Archive, there is an order of knights, and they all swear the same oath:
- Life before death.
- Strength before weakness.
- Journey before destination.
My idea is to write the oath using the Digicode syllabary. My knowledge of Japanese is cursory at most, just know a few words from watching anime or playing videogames. I tried to transliterate it, like "Journey -> Yo-ni (ヨニ)", but I feel like I'm murdering the language and I don't want to have something half-baked burned into my skin forever.
I got this:
Life - ra-i-fu ライフ before - bi-fo ビフオ death - de-zu デヅ Strength - su-to-re-n-zu ストレンズ or tsu-re-n-zu ツレンズ Weakness - u-i-ku-ne-zu ウイクネズ Journey - Yo-ni ヨニ Destination - de-su-ti-ne-sho-n デスティネション
Wich, if correct, would become:
ライフ ビフア デヅ ストレンズ ビフア ウイクネズ ヨニ ビフア デスティネション
As I said, I have almost no idea of Japanese. I did this with the help of a friend and just a katakana table at my side, trying to match pronunciations. It might be, and I expect it to be, pretty wrong, but it's what I got.
As for translation, here is the conjoined effort from my friend and I, with the help of the google translator (which as far as I know is super unreliable).
- Shi no mae no jinsei.
- Yowa-sa no mae no tsuyo-sa.
- Mokutekichi made no tabi.
We were not sure if "tsuyo-sa" is the correct word for it. Chikara is the one I know of, but just because I heard it in anime doesn't mean it's the right word. My friend thought "chikara" was more suited to spiritual strength or ki, and tsuyo-sa is a more "generic" term, but it is more of a gut feeling than anything tangible. The other words check up against a dictionary, as far as I know, but any nuances the language might have are lost to me.
The grammar is surely sketchy too.
Since some context might be useful to decide between different synonyms, I'm gonna quote a section of the book where one character explains, in-world, the meaning of the oath, in case it helps:
- Life before death - The Radiant seeks to defend life, always. He never kills unnecessarily, and never risks his own life for frivolous reasons. Living is harder than dying. The Radiant's duty is to live.
- Strength before weakness - All men are weak at some time in their lives. The Radiant protects those who are weak, and uses his strength for others. Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.
- Journey before destination - There are always several ways to achieve a goal. Failure is preferable to winning through unjust means. Protecting ten innocents is not worth killing one. In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.
What I'd like is two things:
- A transliteration of the oath into a syllabary I can use (I think Katakana is the more appropriate one?)
- A translation of the Oath in Japanese, but keep it in a syllabary so I can later "translate" it to Digicode. This might require explaining to me what's what, so I know what am I putting on my skin.
For both, I'd like to have the romaji too, if possible, so I can search the Digicode table with a little more ease. With these, I would have at least a couple of options and see which one looks better.
As an extra, if somehow any of you knows the official translation in Japanese, used in the books, that might help! But this is by no means necessary.
Thank you very much!
P.S.: I know there is a Digicode script for roman letters, but I have discarded it because it ends ups being too long and I don't particularly like the looks of it.