John R. asked a question recently about Kirby Squeak Squad for the Nintendo DS:
Hello! I was playing Kirby: Squeak Squad and when I opened the weapon subscreen with the Ninja power, I noticed some kanji.
Could you please let me know what this kanji means, and if there is an equivilent in the Japanese version? Thanks!
Pretty simple – the kanji here is 忍, which is the “nin” part of “ninja”.
To get into a little more depth, the character 忍 generally refers to stealthiness or concealment. The whole Japanese word for ninja is 忍者 – the second part, the “ja” part, usually means “person” or “one”. So a ninja is basically a stealthy person.
Incidentally, because Japanese kanji characters have multiple possible readings, 忍 by itself can also sometimes be read as “shinobi”. So if you’ve ever wondered why the words “ninja” and “shinobi” seem to have some strange connection in video games and such, this is why – different Japanese readings and phrases for the same character!
(Boring technical disclaimer: 忍 as “shinobi” does usually include a hiragana び “bi” at the end to clarify things, but not always)
Anyway, if you ever see this character in Japanese games or movies or manga or what have you, now you know what 忍 is probably referring to!
As for whether or not it’s the same in Japanese – I can’t easily tell. I checked some videos online, but couldn’t find anyone who caught footage of this screen. I assume it’s the same, though, since it’s very common to see this character used in Japanese entertainment.