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I was playing around in the Japanese version of Dark Souls, and i came across the word 火防女 , which in english they translated as "Firekeeper".

I have not been studying japanese for long, but i am aware of the On and Kun readings of Kanjis. So i looked up these characters and their meanings and pronunciations.

I found out that

  • 火 means Fire

  • 防 means Protection

  • 女 means Woman

But, as i said, i have not been studying japanese for long and i do not know how this word should be read. If it should be all On, or Kun, or even how to combine the single reading of one kanji with the others to make the word.

Many thanks.

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The name of this NPC is ひもりめ in hiragana (Himorime in romaji).

  • is the most common kun-reading of 火.
  • もり corresponds to 防, but this is a nonstandard kun-reading even native Japanese speakers do not know. もり is usually regarded as a kun-reading of 守, which is a kanji with similar meaning ("watcher/keeper/protector").
  • is one of the uncommon kun-readings of 女. It sounds archaic.

Unfortunately, guessing the correct reading of this name is too difficult for a beginner; even native Japanese speakers cannot read this correctly at first sight, mainly because of this 防. And such a tricky and archaic reading is what makes this name interesting. Real historical people often have kanji names whose reading is almost unpredictable to modern native speakers.

By the way, if you have seen かぼたん (Kabotan in romaji) somewhere, that's a nickname coined by fans of Demon's Souls. Even native speakers didn't know how to read this character officially, so they started calling her using this tentative nickname, and it gained popularity. The official reading of the character was eventually revealed on Famitsu.

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  • Thank you for your answer, it really was hard for me to grasp given the fact that some of it is archaic, which is consistent since some dialogue are also in an older English as well. May I also ask why it’s all Kun pronunciation rather than the other? Jul 11 at 17:03
  • @PookieSnooches On-readings were historically foreign. Most ancient names (of a person, god, monster, etc) are in kun-readings. Kun-readings are more common also in modern person names
    – naruto
    Jul 12 at 5:13

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