AwesomeBrand asked a question about Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven:
Randomly when looking up some random tenchu stuff (and finding out the Japanese and Western versions of the 2nd game are very different) my mind suddenly went to two different things and then my brain sorta collided them. Mato could translate that string of characters in Tenchu 3?
Basically when you assassinate some guards in Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven (or Return from Darkness on the original Xbox) one of a collection of Japanese symbols above your health light up. When they’re all lit up in a level you learn a new skill and apparently your attacks do more damage.
I guess what I wanna ask is can you share what the string of text in this screenshot says?
This isn’t too hard – in fact it looks like this text appears elsewhere in the game:
What’s being said is:
This is something called a “kuji-in” or “nine mantras”. There are a handful of these, and this particular one is one of the most well-known. I only very barely know about them from a report I did about ninjas back in high school, but for more information, the Wikipedia article on kuji-in has a ton of details.
Basically, though, these mantras are connected to a type of Buddhism, and they were later incorporated by certain schools of ninjutsu. Which is why it appears in ninja-themed games, including the Tenchu series.
All-kanji Buddhist text is usually a bit tricky to pronounce and translate, but looking at some Japanese resources, here’s how it’s meant to be pronounced:
rin pyo tou sha kai jin retsu zai zen
And, according to Wikipedia and other sources, it translates to something like:
(Celestial) soldiers/fighters, descend and arrange yourselves in front of me!
May all those who preside over warriors be my vanguard!
Again, check out the Wikipedia article for more details.
Because of the connections this particular line has to ninjutsu, it’ll sometimes pop up in ninja stuff. But because it also has religious connections, it’s not uncommon to see it used in religious contexts too. Here’s one such example:
So it turns out there’s actually a lot of culture, history, and religion behind this tiny string of text that pops up in Tenchu and other games with ninja stuff in them!
|Tales of the World Radiant Mythology|
Of course, things like this always go really, really deep, so I’m definitely just scratching the surface here. So if anyone out there can shed more light on this or provide more information, share it in the comments!