Bakemonogatari episode 14 has a fairly famous tongue-twister in it, which Black Hanekawa recites with her cat voice. It was translated as: "Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?". The scene is here (potentially NSFW):

Bakemonogatari - Neko Hanekawa Tongue Twister | HD |

Translating tongue-twisters is notoriously hard, so I suspect this is done fairly liberally.

What is the original Japanese text which is being spoken? Also, what does it literally mean (not worrying about making it a tongue-twister)?


1 Answer 1


Yes, huge liberties were taken with this phrase. The English phrase roughly corresponds to: "Can you think up a group of caged animals who are dreaming of handling fictional caged animals?"

The Japanese one, however, is more or less the following:


Naname nanajyuunana-do no narabi de nakunaku inanaku nanahan nanadai nannaku narabete naganagame.

And Black Hanekawa's kitty version is something like


Nyanyame nyanyajyuunyanya-do no nyarabi de nyakunyaku inyanyaku nyanyahan nyanyadai nyanynaku nyarabete nyaganyagame.

Now, very roughly, this translates into English as something like...

I have been watching these seven 750cc motorcycles (nanahan) which are noisy like horses, and are placed beautifully at an angle of 77°.

It's very clear the English and Japanese tongue-twisters are nowhere close in meaning. What I can say about why they were chosen is that the English one plays off the sound mee as mew, the sound of a kitten meowing; the Japanese one plays off na as nya or nyan, a common way of making onomatopoeia for a cat's meow.


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