The World of Sekiro: Dragonrot and the Memorial Mob.
Hi! In this post we will finally discuss Dragonrot, the last thing that pertains to Dragon Heirs and their Heritage. We will also explore Rot Essences and the Memorial Mob.
Disclaimer #0 — common sense is still everything. Please do not assume that I have access to some secret true knowledge; I'm just entertained by reading Sekiro in Japanese. My lore theories are just theories so treat them accordingly.
Disclaimer #1 —
trust me, I'm a professional if this fact is somehow important - I am a certified linguist. My major is English and Japanese as foreign languages, my minor is intercultural communication. Fun stuff!
Disclaimer #2 — I am not a professional translator, I have never worked in localization. Yes, I will say that something is translated poorly and something is not, and it will be my personal point of view. People have been complaining that I am picking on minor things or have weird opinions when it comes to "better translations". I want to emphasize that it's okay to have those :) Ultimately, my goal is to give you the information so you can see if the localization was good or not, whether something important was lost or not. My opinion is just that and I choose to share it, however odd it might seem.
Disclaimer #3 — I am not an expert on Buddhism, so if I get something wrong in the religious side of things, I'm sorry :D FromSoftware had a theological consultant who helped them build the religious narrative in Sekiro. I will leave links to the Buddhist terms that we will undoubtedly encounter so you can read more on your own, if you are interested.
Why do kanji (Japanese characters) have different readings?
This is a popular question in the comment section. In a nutshell, Japanese kanji usually have two types of readings: on-reading and kun-reading, there might be a number of them in each category. On-readings have carried over from Chinese since kanji were borrowed from there, and kun-readings are native to Japanese. When a kanji stands on its own and is used as a single word, it is read with its kun-reading. When a kanji is used as a part of a multi-kanji word, it is read with its on-reading. It is slightly more complicated, but in broad strokes I think it explains it.
As far as I know, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was localized into English by Mugen Creations.
Tiny Transcription Legend
[:] — colon after a vowel means that it's a long sound;
['] — apostrophe after a vowel or before a vowel (or between two [n]) means that these are two different syllables, not a single long one.
The transcriptions I give do not follow all academic rules, and I don't think it's necessary. They are just here to represent the pronunciation.
For this research I mostly used Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Official Artworks, English wiki and a number of dictionaries.
Its Japanese name is 竜咳 [ryu:gai], literally "dragon cough". As you probably noticed, the main symptom of those infected with this disease is cough.
Dragonrot spreads when Wolf dies a certain number of times. Resurrection doesn't trigger it, only true death. The wiki says that Dragonrot triggers every 10 deaths or so but I personally didn't find it to be the case during my first playthrough. I think I had the Sculptor infected at the beginning and apart from him maybe one more NPC, even though I died a lot. I wonder if there are any hidden conditions that possibly reset the death counter for Dragonrot as you progress the game.
Dragonrot lowers your chance of Unseen Aid, its original name is 冥助 [myo:jo]. Myoujo is defined as the divine protection or help of Shinto gods and Buddha that cannot be seen. I'd say that "Unseen Aid" is a great name for it. By default, your Unseen Aid chance is 30%, it halves with the first Rot Essence you receive and then lowers little by little with every subsequent Rot Essence.
When you trigger Dragonrot for the first time, there is a little popup that explains to you what it is and how it spreads. 「竜胤の力を持つ者が死を重ねると、「竜咳」と呼ばれる病が、世に振りまかれる」 - "if the one who possesses the power of the Dragon's Heritage accumulates death, the disease called "Dragon Cough" will be spread upon the world".
Dragonrot Blood Sample
When the Sculptor gets infected with Dragonrot, Emma takes care of him and collects his blood sample. However, one sample is not enough to help her on her quest of creating a cure so she asks you to get another sample from someone else who caught Dragonrot. The original name of this item is 竜咳の血塊 [ryu:gai no kekkai] - dragon cough blood clot. The English description is a little lacking compared to the original one.
「竜咳の罹った者が、咳とともに吐き出したもの。淀んだ色の血が混じっている。」- "this is something those infected with Dragon Cough throw up/spit out with their cough. It's mixed with stagnated blood."
As for the "stagnated blood" that Emma keeps mentioning, it's a quality pertaining more to the color of blood. That's what Emma says in her dialogue: 「血の色がわずかに淀んでいるような」 - "the color of blood appears slightly stagnant", and that's what the description of the Blood Sample says.
For "stagnant" the original uses the verb 淀む [yodomu] - to stagnate, to become sluggish or stale. I think, when attributed to blood and its color, it implies that due to the spread of Dragonrot human blood becomes kind of dead: it's stale, sluggish and prone to forming clots that those sick with the disease throw up when they cough.
After you collect another sample, Emma gives you a Recovery Charm. Its original name is 快復のお守り [kaifuku no omamori] - recovery omamori or recovery charm. We already discussed what an omamori is, feel free to refresh your memory.
The original description has a bit more detail when talking about the Dragonrot recovery process: 「。。。生の力を、それを奪った者たちに返せる。そして、竜咳に罹った者たちを快復されるのだ」 - "the power of life will be returned to those robbed of it, and then those afflicted with Dragon Cough will recover".
When I read "solidify into a bloodstone" and the corresponding Japanese 「精製した血石」, I couldn't help but wonder. Sure, 血石 [kesseki] is a simple word made of simple kanji "blood" and "stone". But I checked the dictionary nonetheless and it casually informed me that 血石 [kesseki] means "bloodstone". How the heck do you have an existing word in your language that just means "bloodstone"? English, I'm looking at you too. What's "bloodstone"? In the context of Sekiro it's literal, sure - Emma took a blood sample, did something to it and it solidified, and she calls it a bloodstone. How come this word already exists?
Turns out, I'm not educated enough in minerals :D A JP-JP dictionary explained to me that 血石 [kesseki] is one of the names for heliotrope, a cryptocrystalline mixture of quartz that occurs either as opaque jasper or as translucent chalcedony. The mineral might include red spots of iron oxide and since they resemble spots of blood, the mineral is called 血石 [kesseki], or, in English, bloodstone. Japanese has several names for heliotrope, including 血星石 (blood meteorite), 血玉石 (blood pebble) and such. In Russian it might be called "blood jasper" but we mostly reserve the "blood" metaphor for hematite, its name is literally derived from Greek αἷμα (haima) - blood.
Thanks for being with me in the mineral section of this post!
The last line of the original description was not localized into English, again, I am almost certain this happened solely because there wasn't much space on the card.
「この血石は、治すべき者たちを定める道標だ。」 - "this bloodstone is a guidepost to bring peace to those who need to be cured". I think, what this line tries to convey is that with this single bloodstone that Emma managed to create from two Dragonrot victims, you can cure any other subsequent victim, because this bloodstone will sort of lead the way. Yay for the Sculptor, saving people with the blood in his cough!
We already covered Dragon's Blood Droplet in one of the previous posts. When you use it, the words you see on the screen are 竜咳快復 [ryu:gai kaifuku] - Dragon Cough recovery.
As we previously discussed, Emma tells Wolf that this Dragonrot epidemic is not the first one: there was one before, and since the cure was never found, everyone who caught it, died. I have a theory that the list of victims includes lord Takeru and that apparently even Dragon Heirs can catch Dragonrot. If you missed it, here's the post and the video on the topic.
Funny, but Rot Essence in Japanese is called 咳の音 [seki no oto], literally "a sound of coughing". Since the localization chose to translate 竜咳 [ryu:gai] as Dragonrot, they couldn't really use "cough" in the name of this item so they settled for "Rot Essence", which I think is a great way to stick to your localization decisions. On one hand, Rot Essence, or "Sound of Coughing" is an item, and on the other hand it's not really a material thing that you can hold in your hand, and I think "Rot Essence" captures this detail as well.
Each Rot Essence refers to an afflicted NPC slightly differently to what their name might be in the game and this is also a way to tell us more about them.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get all Rot Essence pictures in decent quality, so we'll dissect one example and then you'll have to trust me on what the Japanese original says. Don't worry, I'll provide quotes!
Every single "Sound of Coughing" is titled in a similar fashion: 咳の音・[NPC_name]. All of them start identically with the sentence 「どこかで、苦しげな咳が聞こえる」- "from somewhere, you can hear excruciating coughing", or, as the English Localization translated it, "Somewhere, a pained cough rings out continuously."
All Rot Essence descriptions also end in the same way: "Owning this item reduces one's chances of receiving Unseen Aid."
The structure of the description itself is also quite consistent across almost all Rot Essences, it starts with 「咳をしているのは、」 - "the cough is coming from..." - then the description of the person - and then just "a man", or "an old woman". Some Rot Essences, however, do not follow this structure and I'll say which ones when we get there :D
Rot Essence: Sculptor
The original calls him 仏彫る者 - "the one who carves Buddhas". He is carving Buddhas 「降り積もる炎に焼かれぬため」 - "not to be burned by the building flame". 降り積もる [furitsumoru] means "to pile up" and is often used to talk about snow. Interestingly enough, to describe his zeal, the original uses the word 一心不乱 [isshinfuran] - wholeheartedly, with undivided concentration and attention. You might remember how we talked about 一心 [isshin] and the fact that he is likely named this way because of his dedication to his swordsmanship. To describe Sculptor and his process of carving Buddhas the original uses an even stronger wo rd.
Rot Essence: Newcomer
This Rot Essence tells us about Anayama the Peddler, the original calls him 商いの昇り人 [akinai no nobori hito] - "the one expanding his trade/business". Obviously, this name is way too long to fit into the title of the Rot Essence card, so the English localization called him "Newcomer". The description just repeats the same idea about the man wanting to expand his business so you get the information nonetheless. The original description doesn't mention anything about him travelling frequently but I suppose it was added in so "Newcomer" would make more sense.
Rot Essence: Black Hat
This one belongs to Blackhat Badger and it refers to him as 黒笠かぶり [kurogasa kaburi] - "the one who wears a black straw hat". "The abandoned place" he wants to return to, I think, is the cave where his child is buried.
Rot Essence: Lost Child
This one tells us about Kotaro! Its original name says 大きな迷い子 [ookina mayoiko] - not just "Lost Child" but "Big Lost Child". Again, I think this name just wouldn't fit the line.
「大きな体だが、まるで迷い子のようだ」- "even though his body is large, he is like a lost child". I just keep thinking about Kotaro and the way he talks about the dead children of the Senpou Temple. Do you think he was friends with them?..
Rot Essence: The Charmed One
Oh, this is Jinzaemon, and I hope as intensely as I can that when I get to his questline I will be able to understand what it was about and what his connection to O'Rin and lord Sakuza is, whoever that guy might be. So, the Essence calls him 魅了された者 [miryo:sareta mono] - the charmed one, or the mesmerized one. The original description doesn't shy away from using the exact same verb to describe him: 「美しき調べで魅了された」 - charmed by a beautiful melody.
Rot Essence: Surgeons
This one belongs to Doujun and Dousaku, it's called 探究する者たち [tankyu:suru monotachi] - those who conduct research/study. This description is slightly different in terms of structure.
「その心、感いながらも、あくなき探究を重ねる者たち」 - even though their minds are troubled/occupied, they are tirelessly conducting their research [over and over again].
This is where the usual description would end, however this one has one more sentence.
「咳は重なって聞こえる」 - "[you can] hear the cough piling up". At first I though this line referred to their test subjects, like there is a Dragonrot cough from the surgeons plus the unrelated cough from their tests subjects. But I'm not sure test subjects cough, I actually think they don't, and this line is here to tell us that even though the Surgeons are afflicted with Dragonrot, they are unstoppable in their research and their coughs pile up on one another as they continue working.
Rot Essence: Fine Son
This is Inosuke Nogami and the original refers to him as 孝行息子 [ko:ko: musuko], where 孝行 [ko:ko:] denotes filial piety, and 息子 [musuko] means "son". "Fine Son" is quite accurate. His mother is not sick though, she is just 年老いる [toshioiru] - old. The coughing is coming from a man thinking of his old mother.
Rot Essence: Thirsty One
Funny, but Inosuke's Rot Essence and Shosuke's Rot Essence share the exact same picture. Shosuke is called 怯え、渇く者 [obie, kawaku mono] - "a scared and thirsty person". The description just reiterates the same information.
Rot Essence: Timid Maid
This one belongs to Inosuke Nogami's mother, the original calls her 案じる老婆 [anjiru ro:ba] - a concerned/anxious old woman. She is deeply worried for her master Kuro. To describe her feelings about him, the original uses the word 慈しむ [itsukushimu] - to love someone weaker than oneself, or to love tenderly. So sweet.
Rot Essence: Faithful One
This Rot Essence tells us more about Old Hag whom we just discussed in the previous post! She was the one asking for Rice and telling you all about the Child of Rejuvenation. Her Rot Essence has the same picture as Timid Maid's Rot Essence. Her name is 信心深き者 [shinjinbukaki mono] - a deeply religious person. I still think, she was a part of the Senpou Temple before they started kidnapping children and strayed away from the ways of Buddha. Now she also holds deep religious faith, and I think it is her faith in the Child of Rejuvenation.
This description is also different in structure. The first and the last parts that usually encircle the description are combined into one sentence right away, and it seems the description would end there but no. It has another paragraph:
「狂えども、信じ続ければ、見えるものもある。まこと、ありがたいことである。」 - "keeping one's faith even when driven mad allows one to see certain things. Thank heavens..."
The English localization does a really good job translating this paragraph, it's very accurate. I wonder what it was that this woman saw in her madness. Was it the way to help the Child of Rejuvenation lead the Dragon away from this land, ending the search for immortality and in some way atoning for the sins that were committed in this blasphemous pursuit?
Since the Memorial Mob can catch Dragonrot too, I thought it would be fitting to talk about these guys in this post. There is actually a lot that we can learn about them by simply observing and listening.
These merchants are called 供養衆 [kuyo:shu:], where 供養 [kuyo:] means "holding a service", and 衆 [shu:] denotes a group of people. I think, Memorial Mob is a great localization: it sounds good, it's elegant, and it's fairly accurate.
So, all these merchants belong to the same group of people who perform 死者の供養 [shisha no kuyo:] - memorial service for the dead. I am no expert in Buddhist services but I think what they're performing might be 永代供養 [eitaikuyo:] - memorial service for the dead performed in perpetuity by a Buddhist temple. This is done when the departed does not have a successor, a child or a grandchild, or any blood relative for that matter, who could be taking care of the ceremony. This type of memorial service is also held when the departed were the victims of natural disasters or died in war.
If you look closely, you will notice that all merchants have the same set of items:
- They all burn incense.
Incense appeared in Japan in the 6th century with the introduction of Buddhism where it is used in rituals and ceremonies.
- The pole they use to set up their tents is actually a shakujo: staff.
錫杖 [shakujo:], or khakkhara is a ringed Buddhist staff that was carried by travelling monks. Originally it was used as a noisemaker to announce a monk's presence so people would know and would come to give alms. It was also used to scare away animals, including tigers, and ward smaller animals like snakes and insects off the monk's path so they wouldn't be accidentally stepped on. In Japan, the shakujo: was used as a weapon, and a formidable one indeed in the hands of a seasoned Buddhist monk. Its metal tip is very sharp, and the bottom end also has a metal part that can inflict considerable damage. But I'm sure you know how it feels because some Senpou Monks use the exact same shakujo: staffs to beat the crap out of Wolf :D
The number of metal loops on top of the shakujo: staff can vary and all combinations carry symbolic significance based on Buddhist numerical formulas. In the game both the staffs of Memorial Mob and the staffs used by the Senpou Monks are identical and are topped with 6 metal loops, 3 on either side of the pole. As far as I can say, this is sort of a standard appearance of the shakujo: staff.
- They all have a saisen-bako.
If you've ever been to a Buddhist temple or a Shinto shrine, you might have noticed a wooden coin box with a grate for the top part that is used to collect offerings. The money offered to gods and bodhisattvas are called 賽銭 [saisen], and the box is called 賽銭箱 [saisenbako] - a box for saisen. All Memorial Mob have these boxes inside their tents, and all these boxes bear a small sigil of the Senpou Temple that depicts a 五鈷鈴 [gokorei], a Five-Pronged Bell that is also the Illusive Hall Bell, and two ginkgo leaves.
- All Memorial Mob tents have a lit metal lantern.
Traditional Japanese lanterns made of metal, stone or wood are a whole other topic to discuss, there are so many types of them and so many nuances in their use and significance. However, I think that the ones the Memorial Mob have hanging off their shakujo: staffs are actually metal 釣灯籠 [tsurido:ro:] - hanging lanterns that were originally used in Buddhist temples to illuminate paths and were also considered an offering to Buddha when lit.
These are the things they all have in common. Each specific member of the Memorial Mob has his own little things in or around the tent, like the one near the Ashina Castle Gate has parts of armor and a bunch of spears and katana swords lying around because he is basically sitting on a battlefield. I think, we can conclude that the Memorial Mob are acting on behalf of the Senpou Temple (as evidenced by the emblem on their saisen box and the related items), conducting a memorial service for the dead who have nobody to take care of them. That's why they are located in such specific places: on the battlefield, on the cliffside where dozens of children are buried, near a prison, in the poisonous pool - basically, where people still live and die but there is nobody to take care of them afterwards.
When you talk to any Memorial Mob, they all greet you with the same line: 「ご供養如何かね」 - "how about an offering for the dead?", and when you're done with them, they bid you farewell with 「死者たちにご冥福あれ」 - "May the dead have happiness in the next world/May the dead rest in peace."
Their Rot Essences call them 供養者 [kuyo:sha], "a person who performs a memorial service" to reflect the fact that an individual merchant got afflicted with Dragonrot. I found it very curious that the original description never explicitly gives the location of the merchant, you kind of have to solve it like a puzzle based on the name and the facts mentioned in the text.
Their in-game names usually refer to the place they are at, and their Rot Essence names tell us more about who they are and for whom they perform their services. We'll look at both names. I tried to structure this part as nicely as I could so nobody (including me) would get confused and I hope I achieved at least some semblance of clarity. Keep in mind that their original names might be quite long when accurately translated, and the English localization had only a handful of symbols at their disposal to fit the name, and "Rot Essence" and "Memorial Mob" were already taking up a chunk of the line.
Rot Essence: Crow Mob
Rot Essence JP name - 烏の友たる供養者 [karasu no tomotaru kuyo:sha]
Rot Essence EN name - Crow Mob
In-game JP name - 鴉の寝床の供養衆 [karasu no nedoko no kuyo:shu:]
In-game EN name - Crow's Bed Memorial Mob
His Rot Essence name is kind of cute, 烏の友たる can be translated as "friend of crows/crows' companion". His in-game name points at the location he's at: 鴉の寝床 [karasu no nedoko] literally translates to "crow's bed", his localization is on point.
The localized version says that he "takes pride in memorializing the dead" and I think it might correspond to this part: 「眼下を見渡し供養し続ける」 - "[he] continues to memorialize the dead while looking from above/looking down". Here it's most certainly literal: he is not looking down on the dead, or being prideful at all, he is just perched all the way up on the cliffside so he kind of inevitably looks down on everyone in the literal sense :D But I think the localization most likely only had text and no images or any knowledge on where this character is located so they did their best with what they had.
The localization also missed the line 「死に集る鳥と共に」 - he is doing the service "with the birds that flock to death". These details are supposed to give you clues on which merchant it is even if you don't remember his name: the one that sits high up with the birds overlooking the area. Instead, the English localization chose to tell the players directly that he is somewhere in Ashina Outskirts.
Rot Essence: Wartorn Mob
Rot Essence JP name - 戦場の供養者 [senjo: no kuyo:sha]
Rot Essence EN name - Wartorn Mob
In-game JP name - 戦場そばの供養衆 [senjo:soba no kuyo:shu:]
In-game EN name - Battlefield Memorial Mob
I'm not sure where "who is near death" comes from, the first line about coughing is identical across all Rot Essences and just translates to "the one who is coughing" yet this Mob for some reason is quite dramatic. 戦場 [senjo:] means "battlefield", so he is Battlfield Mob. His in-game name, again, points to the location he's at: 戦場そば [senjo:soba] - "near a battlefield". The original description is much simpler than the localized version:
「戦で果てた者たちを供養し続ける」 - "[he] continues memorializing those who perished in battle".
Rot Essence: Jail Mob
Rot Essence JP name - 捨てられの供養者 [suterare no kuyo:sha]
Rot Essence EN name - Jail Mob
In-game JP name - 捨て牢の供養衆 [sutero: no kuyo:shu:]
In-game EN name - Dungeon Memorial Mob
His Rot Essence name can be translated as "Memorial Mob of the Abandoned". His in-game name points to his location: the Abandoned Jail. The description itself is pretty accurate, he both continues to see those gruesomly abandoned, and continues memorializing the dead.
Rot Essence: Toxic Mob
Rot Essence JP name - 毒溜まりの供養者 [dokudamari no kuyo:sha]
Rot Essence EN name - Toxic Mob
In-game JP name - 毒溜まりの供養衆 [dokudamari no kuyo:shu:]
In-game EN name - Toxic Memorial Mob
This Mob's names are identical minus the last kanji that points at him as and individual in his Rot Essence. 毒溜まり [dokudamari] is literally "a pool of poison", and the original description says that this Memorial Mob 流れ着く - drifted here. I feel like this verb lacks intention, much like in the case of the Sakura Dragon who also drifted to Ashina and then took root. Maybe this Memorial Mob didn't necessarily want to end up in this place: he is obviously suffering in this poison pool and is most likely gravely ill, but when he ended up in this place for whatever reasons, he probably saw that there are also people who need his services, and that's why he stayed.
「無縁の者たちを供養し続ける」 - "He works to make offerings to those Buddha cannot save".
無縁 [muen] can be translated as "unable to be saved by Buddha" but it can also mean "without relations", "having no surviving relatives". When talking about people of the Sunken Valley, I think these meanings might be more relevant than the religious one. These guys are isolated, changed by the poisonous swamp they live in so there is not a lot of things - or people - that connect them to the world above.
Rot Essence: Pious Mob
Rot Essence JP name - 仏代わりの供養者 [hotokekawari no kuyo:sha]
Rot Essence EN name - Pious Mob
In-game JP name - 修験道の供養衆 [shugendo: no kuyo:shu:]
In-game EN name - Shugendo Memorial Mob
仏代わり [hotokekawari] literally translates to "instead of Buddha". This Mob is located on Mt. Kongo near Senpou Temple that strayed from the ways of Buddha.
「忘れられた仏に代わりせめてもの供養し続ける」 - "[he] continues performing the bare minimum of memorial services instead of the forgotten Buddha".
I think, the original description tries to convey the idea that since the Senpou Temple strayed so far away from the ways of Buddha in its blasphemous pursuits, its residents can no longer be subjects of the memorial services. However, this Mob chooses to perform the bare minimum, at least some memorial services, for them anyway.
His in-game name is Shugendo Memorial Mob, and 修験道 [shugendo:] is a syncretic Buddhic religion, a mystical-spiritual tradition that originated in pre-feudal Japan. In this tradition, the "awakening" is reached through the understanding of the relationship between humanity and nature. Shugendo centers on ascetic, mountain-dwelling practice. It literally means 'the way to spiritual power through discipline".
Rot Essence: Drunk Mob
Rot Essence JP name - 酒びたりの供養者 [sakebitari no kuyo:sha]
Rot Essence EN name - Drunk Mob
In-game JP name - 村外れの供養衆 [murahazure no kuyo:shu:]
In-game EN name - Exiled Memorial Mob
酒びたり [sakebitari] denotes continuous or daily drinking. Apparently, this member of the Memorial Mob partakes in the festivities of the Mibu Village.
「酒びたり、供養のまことを忘れた」 - "soaked in liquor, [he] has forgotten the sincerity of offerings/memorial service".
His in-game name points at his localiton: 村外れ [murahazure] means "outskirts of a village" or "edge of town".
Rot Essence: Info Broker
Rot Essence JP name - 事情通 [jijo:tsu:]
Rot Essence EN name - Info Broker
In-game JP name - 情報屋の藤岡 [jo:ho:ya no fujioka]
In-game EN name - Fujioka the Info Broker
You thought I forgot about him, didn't you! Well, I didn't :D Fujioka the Info Broker is listed alongside the Memorial Mob in the artbook, not other NPCs, and they have identical icons. Memorial Mob and Fujioka are depicted side by side in the artbook so you can see that he is basically a younger, fresher version of a Memorial Mob member. They have identical hats!
His Rot Essence name is 事情通 [jijo:tsu:] - and informed source, a person who possesses information (on a certain matter).
I think I spot a little wordplay in this description.
「人の事情は売りさばくが、人の情は捨てきれぬ」 - "one's situation/state of affairs can be widely sold, however one's compassion cannot be discarded".
事情 [jijo:] denotes circumstances, situation, state of things, but when you leave only the second kanji, like it's done here, it's 情け [nasake] - sympathy, mercy, compassion. I also think that the subjects in both parts of this sentence are different: even though one's whereabouts/information can be widely sold [what Fujioka is doing], he can't throw away his own sympathy and compassion.
I think that Fujioka at some point might have been a part of the Memorial Mob but left the group to start a more profitable business. However, he can't get rid of the compassion that likely led him to join the Memorial Mob in the first place.
His in-game name is 情報屋の藤岡 [jo:ho:ya no fujioka], Fujioka the Informer.
Who would've thought that Memorial Mob is such an interesting part of this world! It's incredible how such unwanted items like Rot Essences that you get because you die too often and bring a horrible epidemic upon those connected to you, still serve to expand the lore and give us additional information on different characters that we cannot get otherwise.
Sekiro is just an endless discovery. Whatever I look at, wherever I turn I find more and more significant details that I either completely missed or just didn't know about their importance. The Memorial Mob could be anyone: nameless, loreless NPCs just selling you stuff. They don't have quests, they are not important for the story, only a few of them have dialogues. And yet there is so much we can learn about them just by paying a little bit more attention.
I haven't decided yet what the next post we'll be about, maybe we'll start on Prosthetic Tools and Upgrade Materials, we'll see.
As usual, stay tuned here and on the Lair's YouTube channel not to miss out on anything.
Thank you for your time.
The World of Sekiro: Dragon Heirs. Part III. The Girl and the Serpent
The World of Sekiro: Dragon Heirs. Part II. Kuro and Wolf
The World of Sekiro: Dragon Heirs. Part I. Lord Takeru and Lady Tomoe
The World of Sekiro: Remnants I
The World of Sekiro: Remnants II
The World of Sekiro: Remnants III
The World of Sekiro: Sugars, Spiritfalls and the Headless