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不思議ちゃん

Fushigi-chan is one of those words with a meaning that just doesn’t translate well into English.

Below, I’ve translated the article on Wikipedia.jp, which discusses Fushigi-chan. This translation is posted as of October 2012. The original may have changed since then.

I actually first got the idea to do Wikipedia translations when I heard them offhandedly mention an article on Fushigi-chan while listening to JapanesePod101. If I remember correctly, it was one of their upper-intermediate lessons.

Strangely enough, the Japanese Wikipedia post on Fushigi-chan seemed to be talking more about celebrities and entertainment news than anything else. As such, you’ll find a lot of media-related vocab… as well as a number of ways to describe the strange, curious, mysterious, etc.

The structure of this post:

  1. My (so-so) translation
  2. Some translation mishaps
  3. A list of vocab that appears in the Japanese text
  4. The original Japanese article on Fushigi-chan

Enjoy!

和文英訳 (Translation)

Fushigi-Chan

“Fushigi-chan” is a slang term used to describe someone with a somewhat strange, difficult-to-understand personality, a person who has their own unique manner of speaking and behavior that deviates from the norm. It’s also used to describe a person who simply has an air about them of being strangely withdrawn from the everyday world.

Often used affectionately, the term is commonly used to describe young females. In such cases, the term “Fushigi-shoujo” is sometimes used, as well.

[Note: shoujo = 少女 = “young lady; little girl.”]

When describing males, it becomes “Fushigi-kun” or “Fushigi-shounen.”

[Note: shounen = 少年 = “boy; young boy; lad.”]

Summary

Using it to describe herself, the actress Kaori Momoi popularized the term “Fushigi-chan,” as did Miwako Fujitani, who used it as a catchphrase around the time of her debut. The famous lolita-styled singer Chiaki also used the term as a catchphrase around the time of her debut. And in the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the character Hermione Granger uses the term “Fushigi-chan” when describing Luna Lovegood.

In English, they have the term “eccentric,” but this word carries with it a somewhat stronger nuance than “Fushigi-chan,” as it is more so used to describe a person who is especially strange (e.g. “oddball,” “weirdo,” etc.).

On January 4, 2007 Fuji TV broadcast a special airing of “Alice in Wonderland,” which featured famous “Fushigi-chan” such as Yuuko Agura and the like.

[Note: “Alice in Wonderland,” in Japanese, is 不思議の国のアリス (lit. “The Fushigi Land of Alice”), if that makes a little more sense as to why it’s brought up here.]

As a recent example, the photographer Eriko Koga, who appears in the show “Tales of Bar-Hopping Women”, is referred to among her fans as “Fushigi-chan.”

There are also cases where “Fushigi-chan” is simply used to describe someone who is a scatterbrain, as well.

Translation Mishaps

For the most part, this translation went pretty smoothly. Really, there was only one term I had trouble translating:

おんな酒場放浪記.

Apparently, this is a Japanese television program. As I don’t know the show itself, I couldn’t decide if I should translate it as “Tales of Bar-Hopping Women,” or “Chronicles of a Bar-Hopping Woman,” or what.

Ultimately, I decided it wasn’t that big of a deal, though, as it’s not that essential to the overall meaning of the article.

Though they don’t mention it on Wikipedia, on JapanesePod101 they were saying that it isn’t the kind of thing you should call someone to their face.

単語 (Vocab)

日本語 English Online
Dictionary
Entry
不思議 strange; mysterious; curious Jisho.org
俗に as slang; commonly (referred to, used as, etc.) Jisho.org
マイペース doing things at one’s own pace Jisho.org
物言い manner of speaking Jisho.org
常識 common sense; common knowledge Jisho.org
逸脱 1. deviation; departure; 2. omission Jisho.org
個性 individuality; personality; idiosyncrasy Jisho.org
性格類型 character type; personality type Jisho.org
浮世 fleeting life; this transient world; sad world Jisho.org
奇妙 strange; queer; curious Jisho.org
雰囲気 atmosphere (e.g. musical); mood; ambiance Jisho.org
愛嬌 charm; attractiveness; amiability Jisho.org
呼称 naming; giving a name; denomination Jisho.org
自称 self-styled; would-be; calling oneself Jisho.org
一般化 generalization; popularization Jisho.org
人物評 personal criticism; character sketch Jisho.org
常軌を逸した aberrant Jisho.org
変わり者 an eccentric; oddball Jisho.org
奇人 odd fellow; oddball; strange person Jisho.org
変人 an eccentric; oddball; strange person Jisho.org
放送 broadcast; broadcasting Jisho.org
特集 feature (e.g. newspaper); special edition; report Jisho.org
おっちょこちょい scatterbrain; careless person; birdbrain; clumsy Jisho.org
解釈 explanation; interpretation Jisho.org

 

原文 (Original)

不思議ちゃん

不思議ちゃん(ふしぎちゃん)とは、俗にマイペースで行動パターンや物言いが常識からやや逸脱しており、周囲からは容易に理解しがたい不思議な個性を持った人の性格類型を指す言葉。単に浮世離れした奇妙な雰囲気を持った人のことも指すこともある。

しばしば愛嬌とされ、特に若い女性を指して言うことが多く、その場合不思議少女という呼び方もある。

男性の場合、不思議くん(ふしぎくん)、不思議少年(ふしぎしょうねん)と呼称されている。

概説

桃井かおりが自称し、デビュー時の藤谷美和子のキャッチフレーズに用いられて一般化した。

ロリータ・ファッションで歌手活動をしていたタレントの千秋もデビュー時のキャッチフレーズに使用している。『ハリー・ポッターと不死鳥の騎士団』の映画版ではハーマイオニー・グレンジャーがルーナ・ラブグッドに対する人物評として「不思議ちゃん」を用いている。英語ではeccentric(エキセントリック)という表現があるが、これは「不思議ちゃん」よりもさらに強い意味を持つ、常軌を逸した変わり者、奇人、変人のレベルの人を指す言葉である。

小倉優子ら日本の芸能界の「不思議ちゃん」を特集した特別番組「不思議の国のアリス」がフジテレビジョンで2007年1月4日25:55〜26:55 (JST) に放送された。

最近では、おんな酒場放浪記に出演している写真家の古賀絵里子が「不思議ちゃん」とファンの間で呼ばれている。一方では、ただのおっちょこちょいという解釈もされている。

Closing Comments

Notice any translation errors? Also, comments and questions are always welcome.

And don’t forget to check out all of our Translation Trouble articles.

Or let us know if you’d like to write one of your own.

Good luck with your studies, everyone.

Keep swimming!

Niko

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Niko

Yo! I'm Niko, the founder of NihongoShark. I'm also a Japanese translator, writer, and all-around language nerd.

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