Defender's Starting room

Japanese in Overwatch

Recently I started playing Overwatch, an online 1st person shooter from Blizzard. Two characters are Japanese, so you can actually hear a lot of Japanese in Overwatch.

One of the maps featured in the game is はなむら, or Hanamura, the Flower Village. It has a very Japanese feel. Simply based on the view of the Mt. Fuji and some of the texts found in the area, Hanamura is not a real place in Japan.

However Japanese and read world Japanese is written all over the place. So to make some use of the game in my Japanese studies, I took some screenshots and translated them with Tori.

The main parts of Hanamura are the Shimada Castle, a nearby temple and a small shop area. Note that Japanese websites refer to the Shimada clan, and the two characters Genji and Hanzo, using katakana. But there is actually Hanzo’s name written on the wall in Hanamura in Kanji. More on that later.

The Defender’s starting room

There is a difficult to translate inscription just when you enter the game as the defending team. It’s the one in the screenshot from the game above. Since it’s written vertically, let’s start with the right text:


I’ll try to be poetic. This can be translated as: Through the dragon’s breath, even the soul freezes.

The left part then says:


This is much harder to translate. It could be something like: Through the dragon’s heart, the spirit exuberates.

To understand what 気合 means, try watching any videos of アニマルはまぐち. This retired Japanese wrestler is famous for his shout あいいだー.

The Shimada Castle

I am not sure how do you write Shimada Clan in Japanese, but there is a real place in Japan called しま. In the short film about the brothers, you can clearly see a Japanese proverb りゅうとう. This proverb is already discussed on kotaku.

There are two banners on the wall:

Fall seven times and stand up eight, ancient Japanese in Overwatch
Fall seven times and stand up eight, ancient Japanese in Overwatch

This is another Japanese proverb ななころびおき. It literally means Fall seven times, stand up eight. Something players of Overwatch know very well.

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Learned Japanese in Japan while eating lots of ramen.

3 thoughts on “Japanese in Overwatch”

  1. What is the translation of the sign on the entrance gate? (I’m curious because I was playing around with the Google Translate app for phone and it keeps translating the middle line as “Vacant Lot”)

    Also before attacking the Objective B (inside the castle) going up the stairs to the right, just before you enter the door/area where the health pack is. There is a statue. I think its a Koi? Can you confirm these, as well as translate anything that might be there?

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