In Daredevil S2E8, part of Stick's backstory speech about "The Hand" goes like this:

[They] spread across Asia, and finally give themselves a name... yami no te. It means "The Hand".

Since "yami no te" literally means "hand of darkness", my immediate reaction was to wonder why half the name got dropped in translation. I assume the out-of-universe reason is simply that the English name "The Hand" was invented first, and since there is no equivalent of "the" in Japanese you can't really translate "The Hand" into a sensible Japanese name without adding another word.

Was "The Hand" ever given an official Japanese name in the comics, be it "yami no te" or something else? Or did they simply invent a name for this one-off line in the TV show?

  • You can translate ‘The Hand’ into Japanese, though I'd say you're probably right that 手 te on its own would probably not be a very sensible name. Good thing the name isn't The Empty Hand… – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 17 '16 at 14:26
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I think there is a missing shade of meaning if you translate it as just "hand"... – Paul Apr 19 '16 at 0:47

OK, I am Japanese/ English bilingal, Japanese first. This purely an answer based on language and not a conical explanation as to if there was Japanese name.

As you may know there 3 alphabetes here, Kanji, Hiragana and Kana. In the Kana Wiki states simply,

Today katakana is most commonly used to write words of foreign origin that do not have kanji representations, as well as foreign personal and place names.

The first sentence in that quote is the big clue, "words of foreign origin", in other words to show that they were originally not Japanese of origin.

So, the debate about what the translation for "The Hand" would be, dose not necessarily mean that the word has to be translated into Kanji for it to be recognized as a Japanese word. In other words, once an English word is written in Kana and is widely used, it becomes an adopted word and recognized as part of the Japanese language.

This link shows a few examples of English words being adopted as Japanese words in Kana

So essentially, "The Hand" in English is "ザ・ハンド", which reads "za hando", in Japanese and is an actual Japanese translation. In other word the Japanese language does not force itself to use nothing but "Kanji" for translating foreign words for everyday use.

So "The Hand" or "za hando" in Japanese phonics certainly could have been the official translation until they decided to say "Yami no te, 闇の手"

More information about The Hand in Japanese

  • But in the legend, the Hand originated in Asia and the Japanese name came before the English name, so "za hando" wouldn't make sense. – Mark Reed Nov 3 '18 at 17:27

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