I was trying to read a raw copy of the Ore no Kouhai ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai and on the page shown below, there's this kanji, 定命: enter image description here As seen, it has the furigana さだめ. However, when I tried looking it up on dictionaries, I only found two possible readings for said kanji: じょうみょう and ていめい. I could not find anything with regards to it being read as さだめ. So, why is the furigana different? Does it convey the same meaning despite this difference in its reading?


As described in this answer on the Japanese Language SE, there is a phenomenon known as "ateji" where the kanji and associated ruby* are not 100% aligned, either in reading or in meaning. This particular style is especially used in light novels and manga as a way to provide a double message - the ruby is the actual word spoken, but the kanji gives a clearer understanding of the desired meaning.

*A Ruby character is any smaller writing placed above the main writing, technically it's only furigana if it actually provides a guide to the reading of the kanji but that's a distinction that is frequently ignored.

  • Oh, I see. Based on that link, there are two types of ateji. So, in this case, from what I understand, it's the second type of ateji, which would mean that despite the difference in reading, the kanji still means destiny or faith. Is that right?
    – W. Are
    Apr 19 '21 at 9:47
  • 1
    Yes. In this case, you get the meaning from the kanji, although "sadame" (using the same first character) already partially has that meaning too.
    – ConMan
    Apr 19 '21 at 22:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.