Chapter Titles in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese
Chapter 8: The Deathday Party
Where a Vietnamese word has been borrowed from Chinese, the original Chinese character is shown in parentheses.
晚会 wǎnhuì = 'evening party'.
|The deathday party|
宴會 yànhuì = 'banquet'.
|The deathday banquet|
zetsumei-bi = 'death-day'.
パーティー pātii = 'party'.
|The death-day party|
|Vietnamese||Tiệc tử nhật||tiệc
tử (死) = 'death'.
nhật (日) = '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).