The World of Sekiro: Miscellaneous Items II. Bell Demon and Sake

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Hi! So here we are - this is going to be the last post of this format where we discuss the rest of the items, Sake and all Sake dialogues. It's... hard to believe that the project is almost over but there are still things to discover!

Standard procedure:

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 #1trust 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 or Shintoism, so if I get something wrong in the religious side of things, I'm sorry :D I will leave links to the religious 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.

Localization info

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.

Sources

For this research I mostly used Sekiro Shadows Die Twice Official Artworks, English wiki and a number of dictionaries.

Ceramic Shard

1

We'll start with Ceramic Shard, one of the most underappreciated items in the game! Its original name is 陶片 [to:hen] - fragment of pottery, or ceramic fragment. The localization is accurate, breaking ceramic shards was a popular entertainment among Ashina boys. The original mentions something that I think is the name of this sport - わりっこ [warikko], probably has to do with the verb 割る [waru] - to break, to smash.

Fistful of Ash

2

Its original name is にぎり灰 [nigirihai] - literally "fistful of ash". The description was localized accurately but there are still a couple of interesting words used in the original. For example, 目くらまし [mekuramashi], which is "blinding someone's eyes", and 囲炉裏 [irori] - a traditional Japanese sunken hearth that usually looks like a square pit in the floor that historically served as a source of heating, lighting, communal gathering and also for cooking. You can see irori in every house in Hirata Estate and also in Mibu village.

Homeward Idol

3

Its original name is 帰り仏 [kaeribotoke] - Buddha of Returning, or Homeward Buddha. This item is very curious, considering that the world is full of Demonic Buddhas that the Sculptor makes, and all kinds of defiled Buddhas from the Senpou Temple. This palm-sized Buddha is one of the two regular ones, the other one being the Buddha in the Dilapidated Temple that sends Wolf back in time.

「義父に拾われた時から、狼がもっていたもの」- "Wolf had it ever since his foster father picked him up [from the battlefield]".

From the way it is phrased I do think that Wolf already had it when Owl took him in, this is the only item that carries memories from Wolf's life before Owl. He held onto it all these years.

It always seemed interesting to me that the localization chose to localize the Demonic Buddhas as "Sculptor's Idol". In Japanese they are 鬼仏 [kibutsu] - Demonic Buddhas. I am particularly entertained by the fact that "demonic Buddha" in Japanese is read the same way as "wooden Buddha" from the Homeward Idol description 鬼仏 [kibutsu] and 木仏 [kibutsu].

Coin Purses

Let's talk about Coin Purses! Their descriptions are not much different from one another, they all share the last line and the only things that are changed are the weight and how much sen they can store. We'll have a look at them anyway!

Light Coin Purse

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Its original name is 軽い銭袋 [karui zenibukuro] - light coin purse. It contains a small amount of sen and has 「そこそこ嬉しい重さ」 - "weight that [brings] reasonable joy".

Heavy Coin Purse

5

Its original name is 重たい銭袋 [omotai zenibukuro] - heavy or weighty coin purse. Unlike its more lightweight predecessor, it fits "a lot of sen" and has 「かなり嬉しい重さ」- "weight that [brings] considerable joy".

Bulging Coin Purse

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Its original name is はちきれそうな銭袋 [hachikireso:na zenibukuro] - a coin purse that is about to burst. It is indeed overflowing with sen.

「狼とて、微かに笑みがこぼれる重さ」- "Its weight makes a faint smile peek through even on Wolf's face".

こぼれる [koboreru] said about a smile in this context, means "to peek through, to become visible, although normally it's not".

Nightjar Monocular

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Its original name is 夜鷹筒 [yotakazutsu] - nightjar's cylinder or nightjar's tube. The description further specifies that it is a 竹筒 [takezutsu] - bamboo cylinder.

「この筒を覗き、片目のみに専心すれば|より遠くまで見通せるようになる」- "Looking through this tube with one eye with undivided concentration enables one to see without obstruction even further away".

The original description also says that the Nightjar are お抱え [okakae] - personal employees of Isshin. The next line is very expressive in Japanese, it says,

「葦名の城の屋根上を守り、外敵に睨みを利かせている」- "Protecting the rooftops of the Ashina Castle, they are glaring at outside invaders".

It's true that not much escapes their eyes because they noticed me before I even knew where they were :D

Promissory Note

8

What a sad item. Its original name is 穴山の手形 [anayama no tegata] - Anayama's promissory note.

穴山又兵衛、店じまいの一品である」- "The last item of Anayama Matabei's closed shop".

「一銭とて、銭はいただく|最期まで、どうにも商いは止められぬ」- "Even one sen is money. The business doesn't stop until the very end".

I feel bad for being suspicious of Anayama during my first playthrough, I was sure he was a Patches character, especially given all the patches on his clothes, and his eyepatch, I always expected him to push me down a well somewhere. But then he kind of grew on me and even though he was a bandit and remained a marauder, it was still hard not to be somehow charmed by him. And he was an honest businessman, at least to Wolf. If you pay him for the info and he tries to give you a lead to Flame Vent that you already have, he'll apologize and give you oil for free.

Five-color Rice

9

One more bottle gourd! The item is called 五色米 [goshikimai] - five-color rice. The description is pretty accurate, it is yet another 瓢箪 [hyo:tan] - bottle gourd, but not a curved one but rather a regular one, like Healing Gourd.

「地面に撒けば、目印となる」- "If spread on the ground, marks [the way]"

It is the only white gourd out of all the gourds. For "fertility" the original uses 豊穣 [ho:jo:] - "good harvest", the same word that the Child of Rejuvenation uses when spawning Rice.

Bell Demon

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If you ring the bell on Mt. Kongo, you'll get a little surprise in return - the Bell Demon. Its original name is 鐘鬼 [sho:ki] - literally "bell demon". The localization makes it seem like the Iron Bell is a proper name but the original just says 「仙峰寺の鐘」 - Senpou Temple's bell.

「鐘鬼は憑いたものには受難を与えるが、敵を倒したとき、その遺物にわずかにではあるが恵みもあるとか」- "The one possessed by the Bell Demon will experience hardship, however, when defeating enemies, may find a little blessing in [their] remains".

When you get the Bell Demon, the kanji on your screen, localized as "Sinister Burden", are 厄憑(き) [yakutsuki] - possessed or haunted by evil. When you use this item to rid yourself of the Bell Demon, the kanji are 厄払(い) [yakubarai] - evil purged.

Sake

There are four different types of Sake in the game and three characters that you can treat with it: Isshin, Emma and Sculptor. In return you'll get unique dialogue that tells you more either about character relationships, their personal backgrounds or Ashina's past. We'll talk about each of the sake items and have a look at dialogues they prompt in case the Japanese versions have more details.

All sake items have a shared line that hints at what you're supposed to do with it.

「酒とは、振る舞うものである」 - "Sake is a drink meant for sharing".

When analyzing the dialogues I'll only focus on sentences and phrases that may be different in Japanese. If I don't mention a portion of a dialogue, it means that I consider it to be correctly localized.

Unrefined Sake

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Unrefined Sake is called どぶろく [doburoku] which is a name for unrefined cloudy sake. For "bottle" the original uses 徳利 [tokkuri] which specifically means "sake bottle", across all descriptions.

「葦名一心も愛した、この濁り酒は、実に農醇である」- "This cloudy sake, beloved by Isshin Ashina, is quite strong and full-bodied".

「一方、悪酔いしやすいことでも知られる」- "But at the same time it is also known for easily getting [one] sick from drinking".

The word 悪酔い [waruyoi] can mean either "getting sick from drinking", or "becoming violent or disorderly when drunk". I think the localization did a great job translating this last line.

All Sake item pictures depict a sake bottle and a sake cup, and with Unrefined Sake you can see that both the bottle and the cup are unpolished and imperfect, just as the drink itself.

Emma

When Wolf treats Emma to doburoku, they have a conversation about Emma's sword training. Remember that Unrefined Sake is known to get one drunk rather quickly, that's why it is more of a dialogue than a monologue and Wolf has a rare opportunity to ask Emma something and actually get some answers. Emma treated to doburoku is a little bit more open and she even teases Wolf slightly by saying, "A blade...? I'm a doctor."

English: "I do not believe your skill counts... As a mere passing interest."
Japanese: for "skill" Wolf uses 剣気 [kenki], which is not really a skill but more "the way you carry your sword" or something along those lines.

English: "Well, not to kill people..."
Japanese: 「火とは、斬りません」 - "I don't kill people."

English (Wolf to Emma): "...what do you mean?"
Japanese: 「。。。火とは、斬らぬ?」 - "You don't... kill people?"

Then Emma says that she only wants to kill a demon, if one were to appear. However, the bigger question is why this conversation happened at all. Why would Wolf ask her about her training if he had supposedly never seen her fight. She doesn't even carry a sword on her: when Wolf fights her in the Shura ending, she brings her sword in hand. How did he know she can fight with a sword, let alone that her skill is more than a passing interest? So either the word 剣気 [kenki] that is not really in any dictionary I could find, carries more meaning, or Wolf knew Emma, maybe not personally, from before the Hirata Estate incident. It always seemed bizarre to me that all the dads knew each other well, fought the same battles, shared sake and generally spent quite a lot of time together and yet it seems like the there is a missing link between Wolf and the other two kids - Emma and Genichiro. So maybe there isn't.

Sculptor

When Wolf offers doburoku to Sculptor, it reminds him of Isshin and of the time he lost his left arm. The dialogue was localized accurately, Sculptor remembers how Isshin cut off his left arm because the flames of hatred began consuming him and he warns Wolf to beware of Shura's shadow.

Isshin

When you treat Isshin to doburoku, you get a chance to discuss Genichiro and his mysterious mentor Tomoe. The localization is quite accurate, although there are still some curious details to be found in the original.

When Isshin says that looking into Tomoe's eyes was like being drawn into "the depths of the ocean", in Japanese he says 水底 [minasoko] - bottom of the river or a sea. To describe his fascination with her, he uses 見とれる [mitoreru] - to be fascinated, captivated or enchanted by something or someone.

English: "I was completely taken by her and it almost killed me... I've lived a long life, but that was the closest I've come to death."
Japanese: 「見惚れて、斬られそうになるなど。。。この一心、長く生きたが、あの一度のみじゃ」- "To be almost killed [with a blade] [because] I was captivated [by her]... I, Isshin, lived a long life, but that was the only time."

Ashina Sake

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Ashina Sake is called exactly that: 葦名の酒 [ashina no sake] - Ashina sake.

The localization says that it does not contain the water from the Fountainhead when the original says that it very mush does:

「源から流れ出ずる|清らかな水で作られた酒は、葦名の民に広く愛されている」- "This sake, made from the pure water flowing out from the Fountainhead, is widely beloved by the people of Ashina".

The confusion lies in the verb 流れ出ずる [nagareizuru], a dated attributive form of more familiar 流れ出る [nagarederu]. When I see a verb form that I do not recognize, I usually assume this is some archaic form, and more often than not it turns out to be true. The same here - 流れ出ずる is an archaic attributive verb form that in this example acts as an attribute to "pure water" - "pure water flowing from Fountainhead", it is easily translatable into English because English verbs also have attributive forms, like "flowing" here. I think, the localization might have been confused by this verb form and they just took it for the negative, hence "does not contain water from the fountainhead". It does :D This verb is actually used multiple times throughout the game by different characters - Emma and Isshin for sure - and it was always translated correctly.

If you look closely at the picture, you'll see that the bottle bears the Ashina clan sigil - Japanese iris.

Emma

When you treat Emma to Ashina Sake, she tells Wolf about her upbringing and becoming a doctor.

English (Wolf to Emma): "You've been doing medical work ever since you were a child?"
Japanese: 「子供のころから、薬師の手伝いを?」 - "You've been assisting a doctor since you were a child?"

English: "I used to compete with my fellow disciples to treat patients".
Japanese: for "fellow disciples" she uses the word 兄弟子 [anideshi] - senior pupil (of the same master). Emma must have been the youngest of Dougen's disciples.

At the end she talks about a difficult shinobi patient who said very little and she had difficulties treating him because she didn't know where he was hurt or how much pain he was in.

English: "It was maddening."
Japanese: Emma uses 閉口する [heiko:suru] - to be at a loss, to be at one's wits, which I think better describes her state at that time.

Then Emma lowers her voice and says as if to herself and as if it still pains her to remember it:

English: "None of this sounds familiar to you?"
Japanese: 「。。。まるで、他人事のような物言い」- "[He] spoke as if it was someone else's problem..."

The sentence is kind of tricky to translate but I'm pretty sure she's deep in her thoughts and in her memory about treating the Sculptor when she was young. With this sentence she still continues that story about how Sculptor wasn't saying much and she couldn't tell how badly he was hurting, "He spoke as if it was someone else's problem" meaning that he was numb and dissociating his wounds from himself. I think, she is talking about the time when Isshin cut off his arm and probably she and Dougen treated him afterwards. She is not comparing him and Wolf in a feat of friendly banter as the English localization makes it seem, she is deep in her thoughts remembering the Sculptor whom she loves very much.

After this sentence Wolf asks her what she's talking about, and she refuses to elaborate by saying, "No, it's nothing".

Sculptor

When you treat Sculptor to Ashina Sake, he gives you a bit of his background with Emma and Dougen.

English: "Oh, I needed that.."
Japanese: 「。。。染みる。。。」 - "It stings..."

English: "Better put, he was obsessed with mechanisms to the point that it affected his health..."
Japanese: 「。。。いや、絡繰りの馬鹿の域か」- Or rather, he was feverishly obsessed with mechanisms."

English: "I owed him my life... Ah, and we could say that you owe him your life as well."
Japanese: 「儂の恩人よ。。。ああ。。。お前さんの恩人でもあるぞ」- "I am deeply indebted to him... And you are too."

English: "After much... training... of that sort, it came to be called a Shinobi Fang."
Japanese: 「そうしたことを重ね、忍びの牙と呼べる、代物となった」- "As [these toys] piles up, it came to be called Shinobi Fang and it became quite a fine thing."

English: "In other words, that prosthetic arm... is Dogen's legacy."
Japanese: for "legacy" the original uses the word 忘れ形見 [wasuregatami] - keepsake or a memento from a dead person.

Sculptor finishes his story by saying that even though he abandoned his shinobi ways, the prosthetic was the one thing he couldn't leave, and this piece of dialogue echoes the lore of Prosthetic Arts.

Isshin

When treated to Ashina Sake, Isshin tells the story of his rebellion. Isshin calling Wolf "my boy" in the English version always struck me as weird, there is nothing of the sort in the original and I don't think their relationships warrants this kind of behavior.

English (Wolf to Isshin): Could you... tell me about the rebellion?
Japanese: in the original Wolf uses the word 国盗り [kunitori] - "stealing the country". When Isshin hears this word, he laughs at it and explains that they did not steal the country but took back what was theirs.

English: "Where the waters flowed, straight from the source."
Japanese: as you've probably guessed, in the original he says 「源から流れ出ずる水」- "water, flowing from the Fountainhead".

English: "We couldn't even pray at the water from the springs..."
Japanese: 「源の水、祀ることすら許されぬ」- "we were not even allowed to worship the water from Fountainhead".

English: "But now... It's a place of death..."
Japanese: 「だが。。。今は、死地にある」 - "But now... we are on the verge of death". Isshin is referring to the overall situation that Ashina faces, not to the land itself.

English: "It's a bitter thing, indeed."
Japanese: 「皮肉なことよ」- "Oh, the irony."

This dialogue is actually a good piece of history. Ashina clan lived on this magical land for a long time and worshipped the water from the Fountainhead - that's why they were considered heretics. They were then overrun and forced into submission, and they were not allowed to worship the Fountainhead water anymore. However, when Japan fell into chaos - Isshin is referring to the period of warring states, the Sengoku period, - the Ashina saw an opportunity to take back their land. But now, only some 20 years later, Ashina is again on the brink of defeat. Oh, the irony - they fought so hard to take back what's theirs and yet they will soon lose it all again.

This piece of dialogue further reinforces the lore of Ashina Arts - "Ashina Style has a deep connection to the flow of the Fountainhead Waters". It also gives some context to the Floating Passage that is considered heresy despite being an Ashina Combat Art. It was always weird to me why it would be heresy if Isshin knew that Tomoe was training Genichiro and had no problem with it. Now I understand that Floating Passage is most likely considered heretical in general, because it comes from the place that Ashina heretics are worshipping.

Monkey Booze

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Its original name is 猿酒 [saruzake] - monkey sake, or monkey booze. In case you were wondering, this is a real thing - monkeys stash fruits in hollow trees or rocks, the fruit ferments and the result is sake-like liquid. I absolutely adore the picture of Monkey Booze and that there is a little hollow branch that acts as a cup.

Here we can witness a curious but typical case of mistranslation. That's what happens when you write words in hiragana, and not in kanji! The localization says that this sake is created by "dew pooled in a hollow tree" because they thought that the word うろ [uro] is this one - 雨露 [uro], which means "rain and dew". However, here it is most certainly this [uro] - which means "hollow" or "cavity".

「木のうろに溜まった酒」- "Sake, accumulated in a hollow tree".

Japanese is dangerous like that: many words sound the same, and if they are written in hiragana, and not in kanji, you have to rely on context. Honestly speaking, the context is rather clear here, I don't know how alcohol can be created by dew, especially considering that the next paragraph explains everything in more detail, and the localization translates it correctly. Moreover, the next paragraph literally has the same phrase 木のうろ which is now correctly translated as "tree hollow".

「猿が木のうろに隠しておいた果実が、かもされて、偶然に酒となることがある」- "Fruits, hidden by monkeys in tree hollows, ferment and sometimes accidentally turn into sake".

"Brutally harsh flavor" in Japanese is 「火を吹くほどに辛い」- "burning/harsh to the point [one] starts breathing fire".

「[...]愛飲する物好きもいる」- "[...] there are [those] with strange taste who are fond of this drink".

Curiously, 愛飲する [aiin suru] means not only "to be fond of a drink" but also "to drink habitually" which I think holds true for the Sculptor who spent his youth training with monkeys in the Sunken Valley and had access to this weird type of sake.

Emma

When treated to Monkey Booze, Emma tells Wolf about a monkey who gave her a rice ball when she was little.

English: "I seem to have a strong connection with monkeys."
Japanese: for "strong connection" Emma uses 縁深い [enbukai] - having a deep bond or a shared fate - the same word is used to describe the connection between Ashina and the Fountainhead waters..

English: "Yes. I was rescued by a monkey after all."
Japanese: interesting that here instead of "rescued" she uses 拾われた [hirowareta] - "picked up", or "found and picked up", which is the exact same word that is always used when talking about how Owl picked up Wolf from the battlefield and took him in. In the same way Orangutang found Emma on the battlefield and took her in.

And after that Wolf goes "HMMMM" because well, this story so far is exactly what happened to him at the exact same time.

English (Wolf to Emma): "A monkey... maybe an ape..."
Japanese: he just says, 「猿がか」- "A monkey?" because he is apparently confused as to how an animal could eat a rice ball on the battlefield.

English: "I remember being angry at that."
Japanese: 「うらやましいと、思いました」 - she wasn't angry at all, she was just jealous because she, too, wanted this rice ball. It seemed delicious.

And then she says that the monkey gave it to her. At this point Wolf realizes that she's talking about the Sculptor and says "What a kind monkey". She laughs so warmly, agreeing that he was a very kind monkey indeed.

Sculptor

When you treat Sculptor to Monkey Booze, he reminisces about his time training in the Sunken Valley with monkeys and tells you about Kingfisher.

English: "There was no proper master for the likes of us."
Japanese: 「まともな師は、もはや、おらなんだ。」- "There were no suitable mentors any longer." I always read the English version as "we did not want to serve anyone" but in Japanese Sculptor says that there wasn't a proper mentor for them so they went to the valley to learn from monkeys. The "any longer" part reads as if they had learned everything from every available master and there was no one who could teach them anything new.

And here Sculptor tells Wolf how he used to listen to his partner's "nakimushi whistling" when she used her weird ring. We talked in detail about Malcontent's Ring in the corresponding prosthetic post.

Isshin

When treated to Monkey Booze, Isshin will also talk about Shura and cutting off Sculptor's arm.

English: "So this is what it's like to breathe fire!"
Japanese: Isshin quotes a part of Monkey Sake's description that says "so harsh it feels like you breathe fire" - 「火を吹くとは、このことよ!」

English: "They don't even remember why... Simply enraptured... They kill solely for the joy it brings them. "
Japanese:「何のために斬っていたか。。。それすら忘れ、ただ斬る悦びのみに、心を囚われるのじゃ」- "What for they're killing... they don't remember even that, their hearts seized only by the joy of simply killing."

If you drink Monkey Booze with Isshin after you choose to Break the Iron Code, he'll tell you that he was mistaken and there is no Shura in you and that if Shura were to appear, he would cut them down himself.

If you drink Monkey Booze with Isshin before you choose to Break the Iron Code, he'll tell you that he sees Shura's shadow in your eyes and warns you:

English: "Give me cause, and I will kill you."
Japanese: 「せいぜい、儂に斬られぬよう」- "Only it seems I won't be the one to cut you down." - this sentence was confusing to me but I think I get it now. When he really thinks about the possibility of fighting Wolf, he knows that Emma - who was sword-trained for the sole purpose of killing Shura - would have more chances to bring him down. So he threatens Wolf that there is someone else he should fear. And indeed, if Wolf turns Shura, it's Emma who tries to defeat him first. This sentence, together with Emma's Unrefined Sake dialogue, is actually a little hint that there is a scenario where Wolf might meet her in battle.

Dragonspring Sake

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Interesting, but this type of sake doesn't actually have "sake" in its name, it's called just 竜泉 [ryu:sen] - Dragonspring.

Localization seems to think that Dragonspring is a special water source while it is just an alternative name for Fountainhead waters because, you know, the dragon. In the previous video we discussed that the people of Ashina considered the Fountainhead waters an object of pilgrimage, hence the year of Dragonspring Pilgrimage - pilgrimage to the Fountainhead waters. This sake is just the best quality sake that is brewed by the master-brewer from the Ashina rice and so on, and that's why it's so special.

「竜泉は葦名の杜氏が作る至高の酒|葦名の米が、その豊穣を源からの水が、あますことなく引き出すのだ」- "Dragonspring is a supreme type of sake brewed by the master-brewer of Ashina. The water from Fountainhead fully brings out [the flavor] of the bountiful harvest of Ashina's rice".

If you look closely, you can see the Ashina sigil on the bottle but the style is quite different, more... artistic, if you will. It reminds me a lot of how Japanese iris flowers are painted in the environments of the Fountainhead Palace - maybe this depiction was the original one from which the current sigil was then fashioned.

Emma

When you treat Emma to Dragonspring, she shares her memories of parties that were held in Ashina Castle once lord Isshin got his hands on this special sake.

English: "Everyone would start gathering at Ashina castle and a rather rowdy party would ensue."
Japanese: the word used is 酒宴 [shuen] - drinking party.

In general the localization is pretty accurate, even though in the original Emma doesn't say that she "distinctly recalls" Genichiro practicing in the back of the castle, she just states it as a fact. I think, this monologue ties quite nicely into the one from Ashina Sake when she says she couldn't stand the smell of sake when she was younger. Probably that's why when everybody was drinking Dragonspring she preferred to leave and take a long walk.

Sculptor

Dragonspring brings out Sculptor's memories about Emma and how he found her on the battlefield. Side by side this dialogue and the one you get when treating Emma to Monkey Booze, make a complete story.

English: "Now that really hits the spot..."
Japanese: 「。。。実に染み入る。。。」- "It really sinks in..."

English: "I found her on a battlefield..."
Japanese: again, the original is very consistent, and Sculptor uses 拾った [hirotta] - "I found/picked her up from the battlefield".

English: "She crept up slowly towards me, her eyes fixed, unwavering on the rice I held in my hand."
Japanese: 「じーっと、ずーっと、握り飯を睨んできたな」- "Standing still, she stared straight at the rice ball [that I held]"

English: "It became too much to bear, so I gave it to her."
Japanese: 「面倒だから、くれてやった」- "It was such a bother, I gave it to her."

English: "I suppose it didn't really matter where she ended up. One thing's for sure, she's happier for the fact she wasn't raised by a shinobi."
Japanese:「ま、どこだろうが、忍びといるよりゃ、よほど幸せじゃろう」- "Well, wherever [Emma] ended up, she was happier for the fact it wasn't with a shinobi."

What a gut punch this part is! You know who ended up with a shinobi and was raised by one? Wolf. Although, if previously I thought this part of the dialogue to be directed at Wolf, like you were raised by a shinobi, how did that work out for you, now I think that it is genuine regret. I feel like Sculptor really wanted Emma to stay with him but he knew that it wouldn't be the best option for her. You know, out of all the adoptive fathers in the game, I think the Sculptor really is the one to have his way with kids in the best way possible. He loves Emma very much, even though in his story he says "It was such a bother, I gave the rice ball to her and then she started following me for some reason" like it all happened against his will. Out of all the parent-child relationships in the game, I think Emma and Sculptor's are the absolute best. And because of that, there's a great deal more heartbreak.

Isshin

When treated to Dragonspring, Isshin will tell the other side of Emma's story about drinking parties in Ashina Castle. The localization did a good job translating it. Isshin would get his hands on Dragonspring, and certain people, getting a whiff of it, would gather to be treated to Dragonspring. He talks about Gyoubu, Lady Butterfly, Dougen and Owl. The only detail that was localized a little bit differently that it is in the original, is "the cunning owl", in Japanese it's 「見かけ倒しの梟」, where 見かけ倒し [mikakedaoshi] means "false impression" or "mere show". I think, this characteristic just continues the line of contrast between Owl's size and the fact that he got drunk incredibly easily, that's why Isshin says that Owl, with his giant stature, was a mere show.

Conclusion

Wow :D Sake items turned out to be quite lost in translation so I'm happy I got to talk about them. Sake dialogues have way more depth that I gave them credit for, especially if you hear heard all of them and can put them side by side to piece together the story.

Well, this post marks the end of our item research. Yes, there are still things we haven't discussed yet like some notes and prayer necklaces. We'll talk about them when we explore their associated areas. In the next part of the project we'll travel the Ashina lands, look at all the places and all the enviromental pieces that have names in the artbook and cover the rest of the items. Who knows what fascinating things await us there! I haven't really decided yet what these posts will look like, probably just a bunch of screenshots interlaced with the usual item discussions.

As usual, stay tuned here and on the Lair's YouTube channel not to miss out on anything.

Thank you for your time.

Take care.

All Sekiro posts

Shetani

My name is Shetani. I am a linguist (EN-JP), and I write about videogames because I can't help it. Here you can find essays, guides, reviews and lost-in-translations. If anything I wrote inspired you to play a game, don't hesitate to drop me a message about your experience. I stream several times a week on Twitch - new titles, retro stuff from my childhood or just games that I genuinely like. Come hang out.
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