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Some Kingdom Hearts-related linguistic curiosity



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Ikkin

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Just a couple of questions for anyone who knows Japanese:

First, about "hearts." From what I can find on Google, it seems that the Japanese concept of the heart ("kokoro") is significantly different from our Western conception of the heart as something purely emotional. Since Kingdom Hearts loves to raise questions about what it means to have/lack hearts, I'm really curious about what might have been lost in the translation of "kokoro" to the English word "heart."

The second is on a similar line: in the Secret Ansem Reports, Ansem makes a distinction between heart ("kokoro") and soul ("tamashii"). What, exactly, is the dividing line between these two concepts in Japan? The difference between the two isn't explained all too much in the game, so I'm wondering if we might be expected to know it already... which seems like something that might get messed up by linguistic differences.

Of course, there is the distinct possibility that Kingdom Hearts' metaphysics might not perfectly correlate to either language - but I still think it would be helpful to get a better feeling for the Japanese concepts, since Nomura himself admits that's what a lot of what he's doing is based on.
 
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Azrael

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Just a couple of questions for anyone who knows Japanese:

First, about "hearts." From what I can find on Google, it seems that the Japanese concept of the heart ("kokoro") is significantly different from our Western conception of the heart as something purely emotional. Since Kingdom Hearts loves to raise questions about what it means to have/lack hearts, I'm really curious about what might have been lost in the translation of "kokoro" to the English word "heart."

The second is on a similar line: in the Secret Ansem Reports, Ansem makes a distinction between heart ("kokoro") and soul ("tamashii"). What, exactly, is the dividing line between these two concepts in Japan? The difference between the two isn't explained all too much in the game, so I'm wondering if we might be expected to know it already... which seems like something that might get messed up by linguistic differences.

Of course, there is the distinct possibility that Kingdom Hearts' metaphysics might not perfectly correlate to either language - but I still think it would be helpful to get a better feeling for the Japanese concepts, since Nomura himself admits that's what a lot of what he's doing is based on.
It's been said that for a Human being that the Heart serves as the mind of an individual as well. Soul powers the body to do what the Heart command and gives the Body Life. Body gives Heart and Soul a shell. Heart provides emotion for the body although this is through Memory. Without a Heart, the Soul takes charge.
 

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Hearts give emotions and memories. The Soul is the power source of the being, and provides sentient thought. That's as much as I know for Kingdom Hearts.
 
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Azrael

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∞;4606817 said:
Hearts give emotions and memories. The Soul is the power source of the being, and provides sentient thought. That's as much as I know for Kingdom Hearts.
Does it provide sentient thought? Because from what I thought, the Heart was the Mind or when a Nobody forms, a seperate Mind forms.

It's all confusing. Memory gives a Heart form and if you don't have Memories, I doubt it'll be possible to feel emotions if you don't know how to use them.
 

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Well, other than a strong sense of self, sentience and intelligence are things that Nobodies have, but Heartless do not, and it seems absurd that the Body would relate to anything psychological.
 
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Azrael

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∞;4606895 said:
Well, other than a strong sense of self, sentience and intelligence are things that Nobodies have, but Heartless do not, and it seems absurd that the Body would relate to anything psychological.
True. I'm just wondering. Sense of self is due to Memories (in most cases) retained after the Heart is consumed and goes into darkness.
 
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Well Sora went a long time without a "Body" or "Soul." I wonder what that means.

I have a few ideas but nothing definitive.
 

Igshar

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Well Sora went a long time without a "Body" or "Soul." I wonder what that means.

I have a few ideas but nothing definitive.
Assuming Roxas was actually his Body and Soul, especially considering Namine, not Roxas, was born of his Body and Soul. >_> I'm also pretty sure it was stated somewhere that Sora actually returned to his complete self (Body, Heart, and Soul) after the Kairi scene in KH1 and that that was part of what makes Roxas and Namine so special; that they exist while their original exists fully as well. The Memories are not a fundamental part, so they wouldn't be necessary for him to be technically complete, but they would be necessary for him to be fully complete, which he wasn't until the very end of KH2, when Roxas finally accepted being a part of Sora. This is demonstrated shortly after when Sora starts cutting buildings in half and other such crazy shit that he had never demonstrated the ability nor capacity to do before. >_>;

In short, Sora was without Memories, not a Body/Soul.


As far as KH goes, I'm with Infinity here. The Heart gives Emotion and gives a basis for the Memories within the person (though Memories can exist separate of the Heart as well, so long as the vessel they end up in is connected to the original owner of the Memories) while the Soul provides life and thought. Beings without Hearts become rational, logical (See: Organization XIII). Beings without Souls become irrational and instinctual (See: Heartless). :\ (one of the reasons I don't think XH is really a Heartless~)
 

Ikkin

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I'm also pretty sure it was stated somewhere that Sora actually returned to his complete self (Body, Heart, and Soul) after the Kairi scene in KH1 and that that was part of what makes Roxas and Namine so special; that they exist while their original exists fully as well.
If something like that was said, I certainly don't remember it.

However, there are some very strong implications that Sora wasn't a full being without Roxas, up to and including a direct statement by Xemnas. Case in point - "You look like him. Which means, you are not complete."
 

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Ig. Do us all a favor and stop flaunting that theory around. Namine was based for 9 reports as a being made of all but nothing. If AtW truly believed she had Sora's B+S, he'd have bothered telling us Roxas was a special Nobody in more than lacking Sora's Memories.
As he didn't - pipe down, would ya? Had Namine been born on the night of the storm, she'd have been born of Kairi's B+S - just lacked any of them.
Source of origin =\= components.

As for Heart and Soul - as said before, Soul is only fuel. "Heart" is more the 'mind', and the trio of components in KH follows the Eastern tradition of the Being being made up from Mind - the consciousness, the Self, Body - the physical vessel, tying the Self to this plain, and Soul - basically the fuel.
Nomura talked in one of the interviews about how tricky it was working with Disney because they came with Western beliefs and it was hard explaining this to them, seeing how in Western concepts, the Soul is both the Soul and the Mind/Heart in Eastern tradition.
 

Ikkin

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As for Heart and Soul - as said before, Soul is only fuel. "Heart" is more the 'mind', and the trio of components in KH follows the Eastern tradition of the Being being made up from Mind - the consciousness, the Self, Body - the physical vessel, tying the Self to this plain, and Soul - basically the fuel.
Nomura talked in one of the interviews about how tricky it was working with Disney because they came with Western beliefs and it was hard explaining this to them, seeing how in Western concepts, the Soul is both the Soul and the Mind/Heart in Eastern tradition.
Yeah, that certainly seems to be the case in Kingdom Hearts, as far as I can tell.

But, when I searched around for information on the Japanese conception of the soul ("tamashii"), it seemed like there was more to it than just that (though I couldn't find a source that did a good job on explaining how, exactly). That discrepancy is one of the things I'm most curious about - it'd be interesting to know whether Kingdom Hearts' metaphysics is intentionally different from Eastern traditions as well.
 

Igshar

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Ig. Do us all a favor and stop flaunting that theory around. Namine was based for 9 reports as a being made of all but nothing. If AtW truly believed she had Sora's B+S, he'd have bothered telling us Roxas was a special Nobody in more than lacking Sora's Memories.
As he didn't - pipe down, would ya? Had Namine been born on the night of the storm, she'd have been born of Kairi's B+S - just lacked any of them.
Source of origin =\= components.
Which part is theory? .-.

This part, stated by Nomura:
Essentially when a strong hearted person has their heart stolen, they change into a heartless, and on rare occasions their body changes into a Nobody. But in the case for these two, for Kairi's heart to be hidden within Sora, it took a special shape.
Where he states Sora's body took a special shape, which is more than likely referring to Namine, as Roxas would be illogical as a "special shape" unless you consider the hair to be super important in defining shape. >_> You could technically call that a theory, though the term "logical conclusion" lines up more nicely.

or... When Ansem the Wise states:
I believe that Naminé was born as a special type of Nobody when Sora attacked himself with the Keyblade, causing his and Kairi's hearts to leave their bodies simultaneously.

Naminé emerged as Kairi's Nobody… but the body and soul necessary to exist as a Nobody belonged to Sora.
And Ansem also states:
Apart from Naminé, Nobodies retain their memories of their time as humans, but Sora's Nobody, Roxas, has lost Sora's memories.

This is likely because Sora's time as a Heartless was short, having recovered his heart and returned to his human form soon after leaving behind Roxas, his Nobody.

[...]

Roxas is Sora's Nobody, but was left behind because Sora's Heartless regained human form using Kairi's heart instead of his own.
So uh, he did state things about Roxas being special in more than lacking memories. Left behind while his original existed.

Where's the theory here? >_>

The part after that where I bullshitted about Sora not needing his Memory was just conjecture based upon the above quotes. Technically theory, so psh.
 

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Where he states Sora's body took a special shape, which is more than likely referring to Namine
Why is that any more likely than Sora's Heart-only being suddenly re-taking a human form?

or... When Ansem the Wise states:
Yes, they were Sora's, and those parts went to Roxas. Namine is confirmed to be made of nothing, and Roxas having Sora's Body and Soul.
 

Igshar

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∞;4608438 said:
Why is that any more likely than Sora's Heart-only being suddenly re-taking a human form?
Kairi was a strong factor in both cases, actually, and both are just as likely. Kairi's existence is that of a Princess of Heart; she has a Heart of Pure Light. She clearly brought Sora back from the Darkness when he had become a Heartless, as confirmed by us watching the scene unfold and Sora who says he was falling into Darkness.

Yes, they were Sora's, and those parts went to Roxas. Namine is confirmed to be made of nothing, and Roxas having Sora's Body and Soul.
Confirmed where to be made of nothing? And how would Roxas be a special shape, though? His body type is extremely identical to Sora. His hair would be the only thing that would make it special at all. Namine is of a completely different gender altogether.
 

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Kairi was a strong factor in both cases, actually, and both are just as likely. Kairi's existence is that of a Princess of Heart; she has a Heart of Pure Light. She clearly brought Sora back from the Darkness when he had become a Heartless, as confirmed by us watching the scene unfold and Sora who says he was falling into Darkness.
Still no explanation as to why it's more likely to be Namine.

Confirmed where to be made of nothing? And how would Roxas be a special shape, though? His body type is extremely identical to Sora. His hair would be the only thing that would make it special at all. Namine is of a completely different gender altogether.
In the Secret Ansem Reports, he said Namine was born like a Nobody yet lacked the features (or whatever he said) to be an actual Nobody, as in, she has no Body or Soul, and is 'the most fleeting of shadows'.
Namine's gender is different specifically because her existence (read: not powers) ties strongest to Kairi, indicated by her appearance, gender and the fact she was reabsorbed into Kairi.
 

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Kairi was a strong factor in both cases, actually, and both are just as likely. Kairi's existence is that of a Princess of Heart; she has a Heart of Pure Light. She clearly brought Sora back from the Darkness when he had become a Heartless, as confirmed by us watching the scene unfold and Sora who says he was falling into Darkness.


Confirmed where to be made of nothing? And how would Roxas be a special shape, though? His body type is extremely identical to Sora. His hair would be the only thing that would make it special at all. Namine is of a completely different gender altogether.
Yeah she obviously is.
It is also stated in Ansem Report 12
Namine is Kairi's Nobody, but came into being via Sora's body and soul
Yeah. It definately did take a special shape.
 

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The fact that Roxas returned to Sora and not Namine. The fact that had Diz truly believed Namine was made up of anything that belonged to Sora, he wouldn't have told Riku to off her. The fact that Namine returned to Kairi, and Kairi didn't end up with two vessels. The fact Diz didn't bother going on about how Roxas was made of nothing unlike with Namine, etc.
 

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She was made by them, yes. But not composed of them. There is a key difference you guys aren't considering/ignoring.
 

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∞;4608496 said:
She was made by them, yes. But not composed of them. There is a key difference you guys aren't considering/ignoring.
This is what I've been saying for ages.
The main issue here isn't giving Namine composition - it's changing its origin. AtW had no problem saying Namine came from Kairi for the vast majority of his reports. I fail to see why changing the body and soul she took nothing from would mean she suddenly had composition to her, especially seeing how it was never even implied she gave any of it back - indicating Sora wasn't a whole being without her.
 
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