I'm working on a translation for a Tanuki trinket and have the following sentence:


Apparently, this is one of eight good luck charms of the Tanuki. The part I am having trouble with is 我が徳. I translated it literally as "My virtue," but I'm not sure that that's quite right.  The sentence is describing the Tokkuri sake bottle that the Tanuki always carries. As such, it's conceivable that the "toku" could just be a shortened form of Tokkuri. In that case a better translation would be "My bottle", or something like that.

Any ideas for a better way to spin this particular nuance?

The source text is the list numbered 1-8 that is posted here: http://homepage2.nifty.com/tanamac/etc-jouho.html




  • 0
    from Japan

    This is a pun.

    Your translation "My virtue" is correct. The word “徳" means “virtue.”

    However, the "徳(toku)" in this sentence also plays on the word "徳利(Tokkuri).”

  • 0
    Thank you so much! I will stick with "my virtue" and hope that the client does not mind the pun getting lost in translation.
  • 0
    Natalia Manidis

    Nice question, Miguel and great answer, from Japan! 

    I'm going to move this to the "Japan Forum" — hope that's OK.

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