Site Discussion

Site Discussion

Changes to character’s names in Love at Dal Lake

posts: 2
I know that this may be seen as a minor issue, however, for reasons I don’t really understand myself, the matter is very important to me and is as following:

What do other people think of maybe changing the names of some of the characters in the Wiki for Dal Lake?

In Dal Lake the name the main character's mostly goes by, is (for all I have found) not a real name that exists. I came back to think about it because of it being re-staged now. As a white European I certainly am no authority in knowing which Indian names exist, but Rachman just looked very wrong to me, as someone who appreciates Indian culture. So, I looked it up and the closest I could find were some last names like Rajman and Rahman. However, Rachman is supposed to be a first name and after having watched Dal Lake 2007 and having thought about how katakana versions of names work, I have to say, that the name does sound like a very common Indian name that exists: Lakshman/Laxman. Moreover, I think it isn’t too far of a stretch to come from ラッチマン to Lakshman if クリスナ is used to mean Krishna.
After this I looked through the other characters of Dal Lake and found just three other names that maybe don’t quite make sense: 1. Peper. For him I did not find an equivalent, but as he is of mixed French and Indian heritage, it is difficult to say what origin his name should be. 2. Potoraj. For this name I sadly did not find any real equivalent. 3. Radjion. As this is probably the character’s last name, I found the name Rajon, which is an actual last name, that could maybe used instead.

I do understand that the names have been in the wiki like that for probably a very long time, and being the names that people know the characters by. If anyone maybe had some official translation of the names and them really being "Rachman" etc., of course that would make my whole point a total non-issue! So, if anyone has an official translation, I would really appreciate it!
There is also no doubt for me that the people that first translated the names were working hard on it. But I think that, if there are no official translations that say otherwise, for factors of representation, mindfulness of the culture the story is set in and to ground the show more firmly in it's culture, there is a case to be made for changing the names (of "Rachman" and "Radjion").

I would really love to know how other people see this!
posts: 708
"I didn't realize they included English listings as far back as the 1950s!"

They were actually much more common in the 1950s. The Takarazuka theaters were a common haunt of the American servicemen during the occupation.
posts: 25 United States
Yeah, unfortunately it seems like often there's miscommunication by the time the English cast lists are made, as errors are regular even in plays set in Western countries (for example the name of one of the characters in Prisoner of Zenda got changed in what was probably a bit of a 'telephone' situation...).

In the wiki I agree it's probably best to directly reference those listings however even if there are issues, but noting what was most likely the original intent somewhere would be good.

I didn't realize they included English listings as far back as the 1950s!
posts: 2
Oh! That does make a lot of sense :) Thank you very much!!! Would it be okay if I made a footnote in every Dal Lake wiki, by putting this † next to "Rachman" and then just writing about the name probably being meant to be Lakshman under the cast list? I'm sorry if it's a bit of a redundant question, but I have never edited the wiki before.
posts: 708
Yeah, unfortunately, Rachman is as-written in the 1959 English-language program. XD

Mt. Asama and the Lord / Love at Dal Lake

In general I think we've adopted a policy of keeping the official English-language versions, even though they're not always great transliterations (and sometimes they're different in different programs!). Actually, I remember changing some though, when I found another more-recent program with a different romanization of Kamara/Kamala. So maybe go ahead and just make a footnote?
posts: 25 United States
No objections here! With non-English originating names especially things can get a bit confused between the original playwright's research>Japanese transliteration>Japanese program printing>re-transliteration into English characters. Even the official English cast and plot sheets included in programs also are often not the most accurate (though I don't think Dal Lake ever had one of these anyway). It's always great when we can do more research and make things more respectful to the setting.

So for Rachman for sure the change to Lakshman seems perfectly valid and likely that it was the original intent. For Radijon, I would suggest maybe waiting a bit so that there can be further research since that one does seem to alter the Japanese pronunciation a bit, so it's possible there was something else in mind (or that the director made something up based on a different name he had seen).

For this show it's worth noting that the script and character names were originally created in the 1950s so it's possible there's some information far back in the oldest sources. Does anyone have those available?