make romanizations, not war

closeup of the romanization discussed in this postWhile a lot of things might be unusual about this old print of a Japanese soldier having sex with or simply raping a Western soldier, what particularly startled me is the use of romanization. Given that much of the text in the full image (note: definitely not safe for work) isn’t accompanied by romanization, it appears the intent is to help indicate which lines are being said by the Westerner. (But I can’t read Japanese, so I don’t know for sure.)

Has anyone noticed this practice — the romanization, y’all — in other Japanese prints?

Commenters on Eros Blog (again, not safe for work) translate the text and place the cartoon from the time of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05.

4 thoughts on “make romanizations, not war

  1. My take on it is that this is the white guy talking. He’s saying, “I too feel like dying.” The Japanese characters being romanized are all just katakana phonetic characters instead of a normal mix of kana and kanji (hanzi), so it’s probably meant to be taken as someone speaking in a weird way. For example, in a game I played, all the space aliens and robots talked in all katakana, I guess to give the vibe that they talk like machines.

  2. Hmm, actually, I just looked at the full image. Yeah, it’s definitely the Russian (“Rosuke”), who says the first part. He’s also speaking horizontally instead of vertically. The Japanese, ?-something, says, “Soon I’ll arrive at the end,” in a really rude way. Rosuke contingent then says, “Quickly! Run away!” At least, I think it’s run away, but this is based on the supposition that “hayaku nikero” should be “hayaku nigero.” Maybe they leave out the diacritic on the ke because Russians have a weird accent? Or maybe it’s just too small to read in this image file…

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