Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Translation
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Chapter Titles in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese


Chapter 8: The Deathday Party


(For the romanisation of Chinese and Japanese, see Transliteration. To understand the writing systems of CJV, see Writing Systems. For word order notes, see Word Order)

Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese character is shown in parentheses.


Chinese (Mainland) 忌辰晚会
Jìchén wǎnhuì
忌辰 jìchén = 'deathday'.
晚会 wǎnhuì = 'evening party'.
The deathday party
Chinese (Taiwan) 忌日宴會
Jìrì yànhuì
忌日 jìrì = 'deathday'.
宴會 yànhuì = 'banquet'.
The deathday banquet
Japanese 絶命日パーティー
Zetsumei-bi pātii
絶命日 zetsumei-bi = 'death-day'.
パーティー pātii = 'party'.
The death-day party
Vietnamese Tiệc tử nhật tiệc = 'banquet'.
tử () = 'death'.
nhật () = 'day'.
The death day banquet

The 'deathday' is not a novel concept in the Orient, where it's familiar from Buddhism. The Chinese and Taiwanese translators conveniently make use of the Buddhist words 忌辰 jìchén and 忌日 jìrì, which literally mean 'day/occasion of abstinence'. The two words refer to the traditional practice of refraining from alcohol or pleasure on the anniversary (monthly or annual) of the death of an elder or respected person such as a parent.

The Japanese are also familiar with the concept of a 'deathday'. Japanese has several terms for this, including the two Chinese terms above (忌辰 kishin and 忌日 kijitsu / kinichi) as well as the term 命日 meinichi. In Japan, Buddhist services are held every seven days after a person's death. Monthly anniversaries are known as 月命日 tsuki meinichi, the annual anniversary is known as 祥月命日 shōtsuki meinichi, or 命日 meinichi for short.

But the Japanese translator avoids the traditional Buddhist terms -- maybe she felt the solemn overtones didn't fit in with the idea of holding a party! Instead, she follows the English example, making up an entirely new word, 絶命日 zetsumei-bi ('death-day'), the opposite of 誕生日 tanjō-bi ('birth-day'). 絶命 zetsumei is not the common word for 'death'; it means 'the end of life'.

The Vietnamese translation uses a completely literal translation of the English: 'death + day + banquet' (in reverse order to fit Vietnamese grammar), although Vietnamese, like Chinese and Japanese has expressions meaning 'death anniversary': ngày giỗ or bữa giỗ. The banquet for a death day anniversary, at which special foods may be eaten, is called đám giỗ.

See Death Anniversary (Wikipedia).

(A summary of this chapter can be found at Harry Potter Facts. Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)

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