What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Question Here are my questions

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Hello, I am writer, and my work contains two female Japanese characters. I know somewhat about Japanese culture, at least enough to create these characters. Now I need more information to validate their authenticity, as I am trying to keep my story as realistic as possible.

Here are the details. Their names are "Kiyoko" and "Kasumi". Both are geniuses, and both accomplished martial artists.

My first question would be what do Kiyoko and Kasumi mean?
Also, Kiyoko was born in 1969, and Kasumi in 1976. Would these be names that girls born at that time would have?

Now their life stories. Kiyoko is a modern day ninja. She was born into a yakuza family, her father a ninjitsu enthusiast. He had his daughter trained in the ways of the ninja, and from early on she was very good at it. When Kiyoko was 9, her father was killed in yakuza clan warfare. She narrowly esacped, and went on to fend for herself. She practiced and refined her ninjitsu skills, eventually making a living hiring herself as an assasin to the Yakuza and others as needed.

Kasumi, on the other hand is a modern day samurai. Her family had samurai ancestry, and her grandfather had her taugh in the samurai ways. In addition she was an exceptional genius, and excelled in her education, specializing in science and computers. In her late teens, her parents were both murdered by the yakuza, and the shock drove her to become a vigilante of sorts, using her skills to kill criminals on occasion.

Eventually, Kasumi and Kiyoko came into conflict. A sort of "professional" rivalry developed between the two.

Kiyoko continued her ninja lifestyle until one day she failed seriously on an assasination attempt and was nearly killed. She was saved and nursed back to health by a Chinese woman, who soon became her best friend. Afterwards, Kiyoko changed her ways. Eventually, she sought out Kasumi and explained this to her, and the two then joined forces, subsequently forming a group of Oriental female martial artists, with similar hard life stories, headed by Kiyoko's Chinese friend.

Now, I wanted to keep this realistic, so how does all the above sound. Please feel free to point out any cultural or other inaccuracies that would make the above untenable.

Now, their personalities. Kiyoko is somewhat stoic and aloof. She is very unemotional about the dealings of her life, usually going about things in a seeming professional manner. She is however quite friendly and cordial (to people she likes), and is able to change her behavior if nessecary to suit her disguise. She is however very loving to her friends, especially her Chinese friend, who she is incredible close with.

Kasumi is bright and somewhat energetic. She is a little of a live wire, not going out of her way to hide her emotions. She will talk about people quite abit behind their backs, and is cunning and clever. It is hard to describe her any more than to say it has been suggested to that Kasumi doesn't seem to behave Japanese, considering she was born and raised in the country. She minds her manners and usually bows to others when greeting them.

Next, their martial arts. Kiyoko uses all the typical ninja weapons (I am aware of), including a ninja sword, a set of sais, the ninja throwing stars, posion needles (she's an expert in medicine), caltrops, and smoke pellets. Her fighting style incorporates many acrobatic movements, as she is incredbly agile.

Kasumi uses the samurai daisho, a katana (which she uses rarely) and a wakizashi (which she uses most of the time). In unarmed combat she uses jujitsu and specializes in countering an opponent's attacks, joint locks, and attacking vital points.

Finally, the issues of surnames. Three questions here. For Kasumi, the surname Akusawa seemed good, though what does this mean? Would a person with samurai heritage of some sort have this name? Also, do Japanese women take their husband's surname when they get married?

That's it, for now. Anyone who feels they can help, please do look over this and see if by concept, their are any cultural inaccuracies here or if the characters sound implausible.

Thank you very much for your help,
-Manny
 

Olivia

Sempai
Joined
17 Aug 2002
Messages
120
Reaction score
1
hi, manny, your questions are very interesting! i can help you answering few of them, ok?

@ characters names
as discussed in another thread, kanjis with which words are written (including names) can determine its meaning, so it would be helpful if you knew/told us what the kanjis are.

@ surnames
yes, japanese women take the husband's surname when married.

well, it's not that much, but i hope it helps you!
 

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Yes Olivia, thank you. It does help a little, but every little bit does help! :) If I could get the Japanese characters in my computer to display right, I could tell you the Kanji. I will check it and display it again. From the what they sound like, what could be possible meanings?

-Manny
 

moyashi

Sempai
Joined
15 Apr 2002
Messages
1,571
Reaction score
16
@names
Get use the kanji since the variations can be a bit.
Kasumi sounds a bit modern for a traditional family although 76 is a bit close for the ending of the "ko" on names. 69 with a "ko" is quite normal.
Akusawa doens't soound very "samurai" like since "aku" has the same sound as "devil" although "Akasawa" or "Akakawa" would work. [akakawa] as in red river might be interesting.

@ ninja
hmm, 9 years old and escaping and still developing her skills is a bit pushing it while 13 might be more plausible.

@ ninja+yakuza
hmm, combining 2 different world on top of 2 different time frames in Japanese history is a bit difficult for me. Ninja were independent but still on the pet-dogs side of society that were employed by various Daimyo and Shoguns. So ... hmmm ... the connection is a bit rough. Yakuza employing Ninja would seem possible though.

@ personalities
I hate to fiddle with story lines but I would imagine the 2 girls having the other's personality since Kasumi is of samurai heritage and actively talking behind people's backs is plain too rude. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but from a strict Samurai family I'd say not. (In college a friend was Ito Hirobumi's great grand daughter -- Ito Hirobumi was one of the main leaders of the Meiji Restoration and later a major Genro hidden and very powerful in running Japan's from the back ground. My friend probably would leave the room before ever breaking a social manner.)

@ chinese lady
hmmm, a possiblity but ... Even in the 70's I'd say you're pushing things here, unless you give her a little Teeanage Mutant Turtles help. The Chinese have a secret and deadly are called Dim Muk which "Fists of North Star" probably used as basis for the "Noth Star technique". Also, China had their own version of Ninja's called Vagabounds. I forgot their Chinese name but still enough info to go off of hopefully.

@ woman+ Martial arts
Normally, women would not be trained unless there were circumstances which necessitated such a training. Either to pass along special techniques due to a son's disinterest or possibly while living abroad ... hmmm

Women Ninja are Kunouchi (errr it's late ... I'm off on the spelling I think) they aren't referred to as ninja so to say. Training for women in ninjitsu is off course necessary to use as a way into men's quarters.

@ ninjitsu
Training has been stated to start with babies thrown into tubs of water. Those who didn't drown were trainined. Ninjitsu beyond being experts in hiding themselves, various weapons such as climbing claws, could swim in a water treading method [european forums of swimming came later] special running ability that uses little of the bodies energy [very little arm movement] and in hand-to-hand uses a techinigue which basically attacks an oppents attack rather than the traditional karate style of block-punch-kick. Ninjitsu would be punch-kick-punch.

Ninjas are what Aristotle and Sun Tsu called the fifth columns. Basically spys who performed assasinations as a side service. They don't really prefer hand to hand combat and would rather do covert operations and extract asap. So, being evil is not really right, they just performed actions that others could be bothered with and thereby recieved the evil stigma.

@ 2 girls in action
I imagine Kasumi being the Tom Crusie of the duo [Mission Impossible] with her being a James Bond type of figure and Kiyoko the one who does the dirty leg work, not of lower ability but because her fighting style and training is better fitted for it, while Kasumi with the social training and Samurai Bushi Ethic being a frontal type of an attack makes more for her being out in the open more. Also, there might be some distaste in Kasumi's mouth with the way Kiyoko goes about her job. Ninja don't have aversion to using poison while Samurai would.

(( once again I'm going for authenicity but would hate to change your story. ))

@ me
I used to be into martial arts heavily way back when but it's been close to 10 years and going from memory is a bit tough. SamuraiTora is much more active and I think he does/did ninjitsu in the States.

Please, go ahead and keep posting. I'll try to comment as much as possible.

@ reference
Try some of Erik Lustbater's (spelling) for some of his esoteric gaijin based ninjitsu.
Sho Kosugi's 80's ninja movies.
But beware, ninja stories tend to have a lot of "Green Dragon" abilities with flying and what not in them which is just pure folk lore. "Green Dragon" is based on the Wutang school of internal Kung Fu while Shaolin is external Kung Fu.

The Yellow Emperor is credited with the foundation of internal Kung Fu. Internal vs external is just a reference to where the art was founded. Internal = in China, External = out side of China, largely as in India with Buddha.


Good luck
 

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Thank you for your input, it is appreciated. For the most part, I did want to take in elements of the ancient ninjas/samurais but I did want to modernize it a bit. It seemed more logical (I think) that people today would be a little more pragmatic in how trained the skills, that way I wanted them to behave not as rigid traditional arts suggested. Kasumi's personality is probably the result of her intellectual persuits. Being a genius (IQ 178), she would be well knowledge of a variety of things, especially in science, computers and world cultures. She won't go around and randomly talk about people...more accurately she will comment on people to her friends. It's really is hard to explain (as I said... :) ), its just that Kasumi is a modern, educated woman, and I tried to tried to portray as such. I've been trying to strike a balance between making her modern and sophisticated while making sure she was still Japanese in her behavior, if you know what I mean... :)

Other question, when you mention about Kiyoko's Chinese friend, and TMNT help, exactly whjat did you mean. Li Mei, (Kiyoko's friend and the story's MC) met Kiyoko in the mid '90s. I'm not sure what about this may be not plausible, please clarify.



-Manny
 
Last edited:
Joined
19 Apr 2002
Messages
618
Reaction score
5
@moyashi, fascinating insight on behaviours ect, is that all from memory? if so, wow! 🙂
@manny, You have me hooked! the brilliant storyline and the backgrounds of these two are unique, keep up the good work! 🙂
 

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
[This is a correction to my previous post]


Thank you for your input, it is appreciated. For the most part, I did want to take elements of the ancient ninja/samurai but I did want to modernize it a bit. It seemed more logical (I think) that people today would be a little more pragmatic in how they trained the skills, thus I wanted them to behave not quite as rigid the traditional arts suggested.

Kasumi's personality is probably the result of her intellectual persuits. Being a genius (IQ 178), she would be well versed in a variety of things, especially in science, computers and world cultures. She won't go around and randomly talk about people...more accurately she will comment on people to her friends (and occasionally her friends to her other friends). It's really is hard to explain (as I said...), it's just that Kasumi is a modern, educated woman, and I tried to portray her as such. I've been trying to strike a balance between making her modern and sophisticated while making sure she was still Japanese in her behavior, if you know what I mean... :)

Other question, when you mention about Kiyoko's Chinese friend, and TMNT help, exactly whjat did you mean. Li Mei, (Kiyoko's friend and the story's MC) met Kiyoko in the mid '90s. I'm not sure what about this may be not plausible, please clarify. Mei is a former Chinese spy and an expert in wu shu kung fu, she and Kiyoko organized their little secret group, along with Kasumi and a few other of their female oriental friends.




-Manny
 

moyashi

Sempai
Joined
15 Apr 2002
Messages
1,571
Reaction score
16
@ Debs

Yeah, everything I write here at the forums is down off the cuff to say. No research or anything. Just blabber most of the time though from me.

@ Manny
hmmm, wu shu for Li Mei sounds a little weak. Wu Shu has always been a very flashy art for me involving space to execute moves and what not. You might want to rent "Green Dragon" to see what Wu Tang Monastery has to offer. The Vagabond arts too.

Timing was in reference to a Chinese lady having easy movement in Japan. But since she's an ex-spy and they met in the 90's I guess this isn't a problem.

Ahh I see what you're getting at for Kasumi. I mentioned all of the above since people like me who would probably end up reading your novel normally have deep interest in the Arts so are in a way Couch Potato Experts and will look for authencity.

Truly good luck
 

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
@Deb. Thank you for your interest! Some day (soon I hope) I will get it published so folks can read. In the beginning of the story I must say, they don't "fight" very much, persue other dealings. Trying to keep with the spirit of most martial arts, and with "typical" female mentality, they fight only as a last resort, but are very brutal once they get going....

@ Moyashi. Yeah, I understand the "couch patato" mentality, as you call it :) Far from an expert in martial arts (never had a single lession), but I have read, watched, and heard quite a bit about the arts, at least enough to model the fighting styles of the characters. For example, my Korean character, Sun-Mi, I've created a style that's unique to her...it's her own personal spin (literally) on Korean arts, such as Hapkido, Hwarangdo, and Tae Kwon Do. For weapons, Sun-Mi uses a pair of oriental fans, and relies alot on many acrobatic and "spinning" moves.

@ Li Mei and wu shu. :) Once again I used personal variants here. Her form specializes in using common objects as weapons...some of her signature weapons are her earrings, hairpins, and belts, etc... She uses whatever at hand as a weapon, which seems to fit the lifestyle of a former spy, and a woman, well....

@Kasumi's personality. Kasumi smiles, giggles, bows, and is cordial, yet with friends, speaks her mind. I'll have more questions about her and her relation to Japanese culture later, especially two lines she says that I need to verify the authenticity of...

-Manny
 
Last edited:

moyashi

Sempai
Joined
15 Apr 2002
Messages
1,571
Reaction score
16
Great to see that you're covering all bases pretty well here :D

Have fun writting!
 

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Well everyone, I'd said I'd be back and here I am, with more questions about Japanese culture for Kasumi:


One, what is a Japanese wedding like today? And how do Japanese women address marriage? Is it something that they feel they must do by certain time? Kasumi is written as greatly desiring husband and children. Though Kiyoko does not, is that acceptable for Japanese women today? Also, how does a Japanese wedding work. I assume it works differently from a Western wedding. What does the bride wear, who shows up, what does the groom wear, what are the nuances involved etc...

Next a few line item tidbits, here are some excerpts from my story:

<I was just having some fun with them> said Sun-Mi to Kasumi in Japanese.

<Just play along while I get rid of them!> barked Kasumi to Sun-Mi in a way that made it seem like she was scolding her, albeit calmly. She didn't want to seem to be loosing her temper too much.

This notes that it's bad form for Japanese to lose their temper in public. Kasumi is trying to contain herself, even thought she's in the US at the moment. How true is this?

Next:
Kasumi chuckled. "Yes, once. Though I didn't stay long. Actually, I've learned to speak English long ago. I was fluent in it since I was 10 years old. One of the many things I mastered in school."

"Oh, Doctor...I am sure. Which doctorate is it?"

Kasumi looked at him. She wanted to be careful, she didn't want do seem as if she was coming off being immodest about herself, which was not well received in Japanese culture. Especially from a woman to a man. So she tried as matter-of-factly to answer the question. "Ph. D., Hana San. I completed school only this summer."


Somewhere I got the impression that Japanese aren't supposed to brag. And especially from a woman to a man, true or no? Does the above make sense culture wise?

Kiyoko says this, true or no:

"Most of us anyway. I'm atypical for a Japanese lady. I'm fairly tall. I'm 170 cm tall (5'7") and I weigh 58 kilos (128lbs)."

Lastly, how do Japanese deal with death? What are typical funeral arrangements? I won't say who, but Kasumi loses two people close to her and is responsible for their final arrangements. What is a Japanese funeral like?


Thanx again everyone, I'll still be on the look out for anymore questions but I believe that's it for now, have a good one!
-Manny
 
Last edited:

moyashi

Sempai
Joined
15 Apr 2002
Messages
1,571
Reaction score
16
@ funeral
Try to pick up Juzo Itami's "Funeral" ... you'll get a pretty good view of everything from actual death to the ending after cleanup after the cremation.


@ marriage
2 types ...
shinto type ... you're gonna have to dig around for that
European type .... includes candle service, no dancing, and a rigourous schedule. About 2-3 hours, with 2-3 dress changes including wedding dress. The bride and groom sit at the top of the room accepting a toast from everybody. Between the endless speeches friends sing karaoke.
 

Manny_

後輩
Joined
6 Oct 2002
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Hi everyone. I stumbled across some kanji for Kiyoko and Kasumi. I'll post some of them here, if you would please, tell me what they mean. Thanx

For Kasumi:

[ Removed mojibake ]

If you could tell me what some (or all maybe) of these mean, it would be greatly appreciated.

-MannyFor Kasumi:
 

kinjo

Sempai
Joined
15 Mar 2002
Messages
3,442
Reaction score
32

One, what is a Japanese wedding like today?


Exactly like a western wedding. Church weddings with a white dress and all the standard trimmings are very popular amongst young people today. I've discussed marriage before with a number of female friends and all of them want a western style wedding. From what I've heard first-hand, I'd say this is for two reasons:

a) A traditional Japanese wedding is a lot more expensive than a western wedding.

b) Japanese women tend to think that a white brides dress is more fairytale-like than a Kimono (even though wedding kimonos are truly beautiful).

And how do Japanese women address marriage? Is it something that they feel they must do by certain time? Kasumi is written as greatly desiring husband and children.

Depends on the woman. Modern young career-minded Japanese women are getting married a lot later these days, but on the other hand, I have a number of friends who are slightly more "traditional" in their views. I had dinner with one of them a couple of weeks ago and asked her about when she wanted to get married, to which the reply was "as soon as possible".

Though Kiyoko does not, is that acceptable for Japanese women today? Also, how does a Japanese wedding work. I assume it works differently from a Western wedding. What does the bride wear, who shows up, what does the groom wear, what are the nuances involved etc...

I know very little other than looking at friends wedding photos, but the bride looks quite a sight. She wears a huge (often gold) kimono, a big black hairpiece with a sort of white hat thing and is heavily made up. She probably looks more like what you imagine a geisha to be than a bride. The guy wears quite a dull looking outfit, usually a dark colour like black or gray. It's pointless me trying to explain it though. Just do a google search for "Japanese wedding" and you'll probably find loads of information.


Next a few line item tidbits, here are some excerpts from my story:

<I was just having some fun with them> said Sun-Mi to Kasumi in Japanese.

<Just play along while I get rid of them!> barked Kasumi to Sun-Mi in a way that made it seem like she was scolding her, albeit calmly. She didn't want to seem to be loosing her temper too much.

This notes that it's bad form for Japanese to lose their temper in public. Kasumi is trying to contain herself, even thought she's in the US at the moment. How true is this?


Sounds reasonable enough, although rare as it is, when Japanese women do actually lose their temper (and their inhibitions) it can be quite an experience. Wild screeching animal is a fairly apt description. I witnessed such a thing a my local train station last week. Frankly I feared for my life.


Next:
Kasumi chuckled. "Yes, once. Though I didn't stay long. Actually, I've learned to speak English long ago. I was fluent in it since I was 10 years old. One of the many things I mastered in school."

"Oh, Doctor...I am sure. Which doctorate is it?"

Kasumi looked at him. She wanted to be careful, she didn't want do seem as if she was coming off being immodest about herself, which was not well received in Japanese culture. Especially from a woman to a man. So she tried as matter-of-factly to answer the question. "Ph. D., Hana San. I completed school only this summer."

Somewhere I got the impression that Japanese aren't supposed to brag. And especially from a woman to a man, true or no? Does the above make sense culture wise?


I've never met a Japanese who claims to be good at English. I've taught English in the past, and my advanced students (who probably speak better English we do) would spend most of their time apologising for how poor their language skills were.


Kiyoko says this, true or no:

"Most of us anyway. I'm atypical for a Japanese lady. I'm fairly tall. I'm 170 cm tall (5'7") and I weigh 58 kilos (128lbs)."


Don't ask me about weight - I don't even know how much I weigh. That's reasonably tall though without being freakish.


Lastly, how do Japanese deal with death? What are typical funeral arrangements? I won't say who, but Kasumi loses two people close to her and is responsible for their final arrangements. What is a Japanese funeral like?


Funerals take place as quickly as possible and the dead are always cremated. As far as I know, cremation is actually a legal requirement (partly because there's no space to bury anyone).

One thing that is worth mentioning is that the 'saying goodbye' process itself takes ages. The family of the deceased will keep a small altar in the house on which they will place various items such as food and drink, to aid the deceased into the next life. They also have regular ceremonies on certain number of days after the passing. I have a friend who recently lost his father and he had something like 2 or 3 post-funeral 'services' (for want of a better word) which fall on specific dates (such as 50 days after death - although don't quote me on the specific intervals).

Again though - it's such a complex issue, that you're better off getting a book or doing some research on the web.
 
Top Bottom