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?

1 Answer 1


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, 2021 at 9:47
  • 2
    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, 2021 at 22:56

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