The Twelve Kingdoms: The Majesty of the Seas (Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai)
By Fuyumi Ono, Illustrated by Akihiro Yamada.
Japanese-to-French translation by Tamako Kageyama, Denis Roger, and Patrick Honnoré.


"The Majesty of the Seas" is the third episode in the "Twelve Kingdoms," a Japanese heroic fantasy series published in 1992. Faced with the enormous success of the books, the series was adapted for Japanese television in 2001. Those familiar with the TV series -- which has been available in France for several years -- found several differences between the show and the books. The Japanese producers had, in effect, adapted the story, adding or subtracting characters and modifying the series of events. Such is why the events of the books do not exactly match up with the events of the TV series. However, the book series constitutes the true original work.

The translation presented here is directly from the Japanese. We have striven for clarity and coherence, to better allow us to express in French all the subtleties of the universe of the twelve kingdoms without alienating readers unfamiliar with Asian culture. The translators of the animated series made different choices regarding terminology, and small differences between the it and the books are inevitable. Thus, all the names of characters, animals, places, titles or offices have been transcribed here in adherence to the Hepburn system, the most commonly-used system in France. Each term and its significance in the world of the twelve kingdoms is always explained at least once, when the narrating character understands it himself. When the terms are not explained, it is because the narrating character does not understand the meaning (in Japanese, it is necessary sometimes to see a word written to understand what it means), or because the author leaves the readers to infer the meaning.

We have also chosen to respect the original order of the character names, with the family name preceding the given: Takasato Kaname, for example, and not Kaname Takasato. We have not kept the Japanese politeness suffixes (-san or -sama), so to not load down the text. The French language has suitable corresponding titles that are easily used: monsieur, madame, Seigneur or Altesse*, for example. Similarly, when titles or offices have an identifiable equivalent in French, we have chosen to translate it. In return, if the original word is a creation of the author or is specific to Japanese, we have left it as it is.

* Seigneur and Altesse are very respectful terms for "lord" and "highness," respectively. The former has religious connotations; as if speaking to a god or spiritual figure.

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