Japanese Anime Fans Are Baffled By Demon Slayer Season 2 English Title

The English title of demon slayerthe second season is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc. The Japanese word used for bow is yuukaku (遊廓), and this word has a much more pointed meaning than “entertainment district”.

Yuukaku translates to a “Red light district”, “pleasure district” or even “A brothel.” Yoshiwara is the most notorious center of prostitution in Japan – and it’s also the setting for the second season, leaving little doubt about the meaning of the word. “Entertainment District”, however, is defined as “a type of arts district with a high concentration of cinemas, theaters or other places of entertainment”. These are clearly different spaces and words with different meanings.

Above, the official English logo. (Image: ©吾峠呼世晴/集英社・アニプレックス・ufotable)

Popular Japanese Blog Hachima Kikou recently called the English title “egregious” and “no good”. Commenters on the site chimed in, looking slightly taken aback by the headline.

A commentator pointed out that the word kanrakugai (歓楽街) can translate to “entertainment district” and wondered if the second season’s English title was mistranslated. I imagine that is not the case and that something else is brewing.

Commentators have offered their own title suggestions, including “Nightlife District Arc” or even “Yoshiwara District Arc”. Others speculated that it wouldn’t be possible to properly translate the title to “Red-light District Arc” due to the overt sexual connotations. To circumvent this, while keeping the nuance of the original title, a commenter wondered that it wasn’t simply written as “Yuukaku Arc”. Another commenter replied, “Because today’s kids know how to use Google.” Good point.

A bird's eye view of Japan's most famous yuukaku, Yoshiwara.  (Screenshot: ©吾峠呼世晴/集英社・アニプレックス・ufotable) A bird’s eye view of Japan’s most famous yuukaku, Yoshiwara. (Screenshot: ©吾峠呼世晴/集英社・アニプレックス・ufotable)

Controversy is nothing new for this season’s title. When the title was originally revealed last February, some parents in Japan weren’t happy. According to Door News Live, some said they felt uncomfortable with their children watching an anime with the title, and they couldn’t explain to their children what kind of place yuukaku was. At the time, other fans defended the title, pointing out that these pleasure quarters were real places, and that it was weird to pretend they never existed.

For the anime’s English release, the distributors seem to want to avoid this controversy altogether. The translation may not be correct, but I guess at least it won’t bother parents.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc is broadcast on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

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