Once Again, Overwatch Isn't Very Good At Picking Kanji Characters

Last year, a short Overwatch animation featured some iffy kanji choices. It seems the latest Hanzo skin does, too.

[Image: Blizzard]

Japanese has a rather complex writing system that features kanji characters from China. There are also native writing systems called hiragana and katakana that are used along with kanji in written Japanese.

The latest Hanzo skin features the characters 矢印 (yajirushi) on the strip of his quiver. When Japanese people see this, it stands out like so:

Why? Because yajirushi literally means "arrow mark", as in the arrow symbol you'd see on a sign or a map. It doesn't mean "arrow" as in the thing you shoot from a bow — that would simply be "ya" (矢).

So seeing the word for "arrow sign" on Hanzo's strap looks so weird to those who know Japanese.

If you are wondering how this happened, Google Translate could be the culprit. If you put "ya" (矢), you get "arrow" in English.

But, if you put "arrow" in English, you get "yajirushi" (矢印), the word for "arrow sign".

If you put in "yajirushi" (矢印) in Japanese, you do get "arrow", but the more accurate, though somewhat awkward sounding "directing arrow" below.

The inclusion of this kanji is miffing Overwatch fans in Japan.

"Hanzo's arrow sign is even on the weapon..."

"What's up with Hanzo's arrow sign"

"While Genji is a god of military arts, Hanzo's 'arrow sign' is totally not cool, don't cha think?"

"Why is 'arrow sign' written on Hanzo's new skin..."

"Why the heck is 'arrow sign' written on Hanzo's strap"

"Hanzo, the arrow sign, you're making me laugh, stop it lol"

"Even though I thought why has Hanzo been turned into those odd [kanji] T-shirts foreigners wear... Is it that 'ya' (矢) is 'arrow' and 'arrow' is 'yajirushi' (矢印)? lol"


    Is Blizzard actually using Google Translate? Couldn't they just ask one of thousands of adoring Japanese fans? Or hire a translator or anything that is you know... Legit?

    Yet again the internet reacts to the important things. Not oh wow that is a nice Hanzo skin. But wtf the smallest minute part has a spelling error! Wtf literally unplayable.

    I would like to see the half wigs hat criticise game artists do a better job. Or take the same criticism that other game artists do without breaking down to the feral position trying to find their safe space.

    I weep for the future of this world. I really do.

      Because it is sometimes fun to rib the things you like?

      Shouldnt mean more than that, but then again I prefer brutal honesty. Builds trust :)

      implying people haven't complained about trivial things since the dawn of written communication.
      And no one has said it's unplayable, only that it is silly, funny or annoying.

      Because to anyone who actually understands the language, like myself, it stands out like a sore thumb. And that's the point of the article, that it sticks out to anyone who can actually read the characters and are thus poking fun at Blizzard. Stick Engrish anywhere and it's the same thing.

      Last edited 25/05/17 12:41 pm

      I think you're the one overreacting. It's no different anyway from how we point out 'Engrish'.

      Would you not find it amusing if Soldier:76 had a gun with "metal railing" written on it in English?

      This kind of dungoofed is something you'd expect from an Indie dev with a limited budget, not Blizzard.

    I always wondered if Japanese people would get revenge on us Westerners for mocking 'Engrish'...

    Holy crap he's actually started translating tweets!

    Maybe Hanzo's armour was built by westerners and they did in fact use google translate for the word arrow

    Perhaps they're building some kind of subtle running gag where it turns out Hanzo can't actually speak Japanese.

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    Hmm I hope I can shed some light on this. I don't work at blizzard so I don't know for sure, however, a lot of overwatch's skins if not all of them are outsourced to other studios/freelance artists, (presuming that blizzard artists are working on other core stuff or outright other ip). The likely scenario is this kind of thing got glossed over as looks right (there are quite often bigger fish to fry - e.g. wrong colour, broken models/textures, etc to fix) as the people they get outsourced to usually don't have translators on hand (unless it's Google translate) unless they have people working for them who have a background from those nations. This is quite likely the result.

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