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Apr. 12th, 2008

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

So, re-reading Saiyuuki, I’m suddenly caught by Sanzou’s name.

Or, rather, by what everyone calls him

Using usual name-title transcription, one might write his name Genjo-Sanzou. It’s a title, after all. But that title, and not his name, is what Goku, in his initial childlike language difficulties, picks to call him, and that seems to stick. It even carries over to the way Hakkai and Gojou call him, and while I could see Hakkai always calling him by a title, it seems less likely for Gojou. More likely they picked it up from Goku–and perhaps from the fact that Sanzou answers to it as if to a name?

It seems significant, because Sanzou is about the least likely person I can imagine to be defined by his role. And so his role is turned into something else, transmuted into a name.

And if we turn that inside out, in a Minekura sort of way, Sanzou’s way of living is one that takes his role and transmutes it–turns it into something immediate and personal.

I have no idea whether it was deliberate, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

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