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"Cousin" in Japanese


Spectre_15

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I didn't know where else to look for an answer to this.  I tried googling it, but I just couldnt figure out how to write it, so I figured that, when all else fails, go to LL and see if anyone on here knows.  I've been watching an anime, Elfin Lied, and in it, two characters named Kohta and Yuka are introduced and routinely referred to as "cousins".  With this identifier between them, the two have some sort of romance angle going on, including Yuka getting jealous when Kohta is the other main female character, Lucy.  At one point in the show, the two even share a kiss, which is followed by Yuka falling and Kohta checking out her underwear.  As such, I need to ask, does the word "cousin" just mean something different in Japanese, or is this show that is already admittedly really weird and quite fucked up *coughchildslaughtercough* even weirder than I thought it was?

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Yes... and no. In Japanese culture, it is normal to refer to people close to you or your family by familial titles like brother/sister, uncle/aunt or cousin. There is a possibility that Yuka and Kohta are not related at all and just their families were really close. On the same token, they could very well be cousins if we don't have a context to extrapolate from. Such is the way with Japan I guess. Layer upon layer of complex formality. Sorry if that didn't clear anything up.

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Not familiar with this show but if the characters are actual cousins, it is likely they would often call each other that.

In some countries someone might say "Mom" to their Mom, "Grandfather" to their Grandfather, "Aunt Sally" to their Aunt Sally, but in Japan they would just address her as "Aunt" without adding her real name.  Even brothers and sisters traditionally would often not be called by name, especially younger to older.  So if you had an older brother and in a traditional Japanese home, you wouldn't speak to your older brother Bob and call him "Bob", but you would actually speak to him by saying " 兄さん " (niisan)!  But when talking to others about your older brother, you would call him "兄" (ani), and not add the polite "さん" (san), since you don't use honorifics like that for your own family members.  Usually.  Except when.....

 

OK, you get the idea. Japanese titles and labels and honorifics are a whole world and very confusing.  You won't really get a true answer to your question very easily, it would take great studies!  I'm sorry if I'm not really answering very well, just some thoughts.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/16/2019 at 7:16 PM, 27X said:

In this particular instance it refers to a dialectic thing where they are close, and also a long term relationship thing.

While it's not present in the English version of the manga, the original Japanese manga has Kouta's Father speaking to Yuka's mother with an honorific only used by an older sibling to a younger sibling. Yuka refers to Kouta's father as 'Uncle'.

So in this case Yuka and Kouta are actual cousins.

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23 minutes ago, namaradus said:

While it's not present in the English version of the manga, the original Japanese manga has Kouta's Father speaking to Yuka's mother with an honorific only used by an older sibling to a younger sibling. Yuka refers to Kouta's father as 'Uncle'.

So in this case Yuka and Kouta are actual cousins.

I didn't imply otherwise, simply adding that the particular dialectic is also framing them as a particular type of relationship.

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2 minutes ago, 27X said:

I didn't imply otherwise, simply adding that the particular dialectic is also framing them as a particular type of relationship.

Thank you for the clarification I wasn't sure what you had meant at first.

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21 hours ago, namaradus said:

While it's not present in the English version of the manga, the original Japanese manga has Kouta's Father speaking to Yuka's mother with an honorific only used by an older sibling to a younger sibling. Yuka refers to Kouta's father as 'Uncle'.

So in this case Yuka and Kouta are actual cousins.

So basically the central romance plot of this anime is a love triangle for Kouta is between his cousin and the woman that murdered his sister and father.  Japan... just why?

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