I know what a Ghoul is in the context of the Tokyo Ghoul series, but I was wondering what does Ghoul mean in japanese. Is it a made up word or it is the same "Ghoul" from Arabic? What do the kanji which composes the word mean separately?
If you look at the word for ghoul as it's written in the title of Tokyo Ghoul, you can see that there's both kanji and furigana (pronunciation) for it. The furigana is グール, which the katakana word for ghoul. It's a phonetic loanword, pronounced guuru, which (based on the Japanese Wikipedia page for it) seems to have been taken from the English "ghoul", which was of course taken from the Arabic al ghûl.
The kanji, 喰種, doesn't seem to directly translate to anything, but 喰 means eat and 種 translates to a number of things, but the most relevant ones here are species or kind. Basically, it can be loosely translated to a species that eats.
Let's look at kanji of Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種) :
- 東京 means Tokyo.
- 喰 used in different words. 食べる(taberu) means eating. 食い物(kuimono) means food. 喰 also means eating.
- 種(shu) means species or kind.
So in conclusion "ghoul" part of title is means eating kind/species. 喰種 both doesnt mean anything however because of the popularity even Google Translate translates it like Tokyo Ghoul if you put full title.