October 23, 2010

My Take on a Womb-a-Snatching Yoji

Did you ever watch a show and think, hey I've seen this plot before! Are all writers hacks these days or what? Well hack is an appropriate word as you will see when I dissect tonight's yoji in a macabre fashion just in time for halloween!

換骨奪胎 kannkotsudattai Breakdown:
換 kan: change
骨 kotsu: bones
奪 da(tsu): rob
胎 tai: womb (embryo)
gloss: adaptation of a previous creative work
part of speech: noun, suru verb

Change the bones, rob the womb? Yup. Make a frankensteinian monster and call it art! We only have so many ideas to go around anyways.

The recollection collection of a monk, one Eko of the Song dynasty, entitled 冷斎夜話 (reisaiyawa, Uncle Eko's Bathroom Reader of uh... Cold and Holy Trivia?) gave us this word's genesis about 1,000 years ago. It says,
その意を易(か)えずしてその語を造る、これを換骨法という。
Without changing the meaning, make that story. This is the bone-change way.

その意を規範(きはん)(手本)としてこれを形容す、これを奪胎法という
Using that meaning as your model, make a form. This is the steal-womb way.
[source] Well, thank goodness they spelled that out for us, or I wouldn't know what to steal and what to change.

Of course, examples of 換骨奪胎 are all around us. For instance, the American adaptation of Ringu may be considered one. A cool one I ran into recently is the GiantRobo remake, which in turn inspired The Big O (the ultimate 換骨奪胎 anime). Here's the intro:

If you are looking for more Halloween yoji, may I suggest the mountains of blood one. Also, I just added the Ancient Chinese Secrets tag to the blog. Check out those secrets to clean the blood out your clothes after you literally interpret this post.

Japanese Study Links

Sign/Ad J | J Slang | J News w/Pics | J Vids
Karaoke | J Commercials | Let's Yoji! | Kanji