My question is how to read these 呼吸 kanji in this line この呼吸も所詮退屈凌ぎ from this song. I looked it up and as far as I found out it should be read こきゅう but in the song all I hear is just いきい. Why is that so, are my ears just bad or is there some other reading of these two?


1 Answer 1


This is known as 義訓(ぎくん)("meaning-based reading").

As the name implies, a 義訓 is a nonstandard reading of a string of symbols that nonetheless matches its meaning. Or, viewed the other way around, it's the phenomenon of assigning nonstandard kanji(/characters) to a word.

呼吸 would normally be read こきゅう, but here it's read いき(息)instead (or you could say that いき is spelled as 呼吸, rather than 息). Hopefully you can see how this makes sense. As for the why, I assume it's just for poetic effect. Afaik 義訓 is pretty common in song lyrics.

I'm more familiar with it in manga myself. In manga, it's basically used as a way to give the reader two pieces of information at once; the furigana tell you what the character actually says, while the kanji essentially act as footnote.

Further reading:

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