大学の仲間を通じて台湾の人と一緒に英語・日本語を練習する通話を毎月やっていて、 今回自分の担当が来たので自分の好きなドラえもんについての英語記事を和訳しました。 ドラえもんを客観的に分析・説明した文章として面白かったので、一部を公開してみます。 ところどころで deepl に頼ってます。


元記事:Back to the future: The world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Doraemon



Doraemon spans generations as a cultural totem, a beloved character that is as much a part of Japanese childhood as birthday parties and bug hunting in summer. The blue robot cat from the future is always around, and has been since he was created 50 years ago by Fujiko Fujio, the pen name of manga duo Hiroshi Fujimoto (1933-96) and Motoo Abiko.

ドラえもんは文化的象徴として世代を越えて愛されているキャラクターであり、誕生日会や夏の虫捕りと同じくらいに日本の子供に親しまれています。未来の青いロボットの猫は、50年前に藤本弘(ふじもと・ひろし 1933-1996)と安孫子素雄(あびこ・もとお)のペンネームである藤子不二雄によって生み出されて以来、いつもそばにいます。


The faults in our stars 私達のスターの欠点


Doraemon is a robot but he’s also flawed. This much is made clear in the first chapter of the original manga, with Nobita’s great-great-grandson saying, “He’s not that great of a robot.” It’s a brilliantly deprecating precedent to any series.


When the series “Doraemon” first appeared in 1970, it was the advent of the technological age. Gadgets and appliances were becoming more ubiquitous and more affordable than ever before.


In a section on its website on Tokyo’s history, the Metropolitan Government describes the period as a time of mechanization: “Due to technological innovations and the introduction of new industries and technologies, this period (in the 1960s) saw the beginning of mass production of synthetic fibers and household electric appliances such as televisions, refrigerators and washing machines. As a result, the everyday lives of the residents of Tokyo underwent considerable transformation.”


“Doraemon” was a reflection of this modernity, offering a comedic glimpse into the future.


Doraemon is not endowed with superpowers as such. He is, however, able to produce a lot of quick-fix items — 1,963 himitsu dōgu (secret tools), Yasuyuki Yokohama, a former professor at Toyama University, told Kyodo News in 2004. But Doraemon’s tools from the future frequently backfire. They’re not foolproof, are often convoluted — faulty, even — and, much of the time, cause more problems than the original issue they’re supposed to resolve.


“It also keeps you going,” Freedman says. “If Nobita’s problems were resolved (with a single gadget), there wouldn’t be any episode next week. It’s a narrative tool.”


And then there is the much-loved regular roster of Doraemon’s secret tools, two of the most famous being take koputā (suction cups with mini bamboo heli-blades) and the iconic dokodemo doa (literally, “anywhere door”), allowing its users the power of swift travel. Mastery over the skies as well as the quantum world makes Doraemon, while maybe not 100 percent reliable, pretty cool.


Your average Tokyo boy 平均的な東京の男子


  • ドラえもん』は、同じ地域で暮らす異なる社会経済階級の子供達が仲良く過ごすという日本の特殊な小学校文化を反映している。
  • 平均的(中流階級)で凡庸なのび太を通して、私達にとってドラえもんは親しみやすい存在となっている。

Relatability matters. First and foremost, the manga’s predominantly urban setting — something Japan was moving toward in the late 1960s — made sense to a lot of people young and old.

親しみやすさは重要です。 何よりもまず、漫画の大部分が都会の設定で、日本が1960年代後半に向けて動いていたものであり、多くの老若男女が理解できるものです。

“In 1962, the population of Tokyo broke the 10 million mark,” the Metropolitan Government website devoted to Tokyo’s history says. “In 1964, the Olympic Games were held in Tokyo, the shinkansen (“bullet train”) line began operations and the Metropolitan Expressway was opened, forming the foundation of Tokyo’s current prosperity.”


The setting of the manga wasn’t completely urban in nature, though. Instead, it locked into a “middle Japan” demographic that exists between the city centers and the countryside. The characters in “Doraemon” hang out in the backstreets of these areas and play in abandoned lots. It’s a landscape that explores the stomping ground between postwar ruin, urban regeneration and urban decay — an endless inner city.


“One of the most fascinating things (about “Doraemon”) is the different socio-economic classes being represented,” Freedman says.


Nobita is an ordinary child and his family life isn’t anything special; his mother stays at home, his father commutes to work on the train. By comparison, the mother of a local bully named Takeshi Goda (more commonly referred to by his nickname, “Gian”) owns a local store, while another bully named Suneo Honekawa comes from a well-off family with aristocratic ties. The contrast in socio-economic status is clear. In “Gosenzo-sama Ganbare,” Nobita travels back in time with Doraemon to the moment when Suneo’s family gained its social standing, hoping to nudge his ancestor into the limelight (messing things up in the process, of course).


But clearer still is the harmony in which the children in the original “Doraemon” manga play together. Fights and misunderstandings happen, but for the most part the children get along fine despite differences in class because they are neighbors.


Such a utopia seems hard to achieve but it’s ever-present in “Doraemon.”


Freedman calls this environment a conscious reaction to the “elementary school culture of the times” that captures “aspects of middle-class Tokyo that weren’t exactly lived.” There’s little doubt that Fujiko Fujio deliberately intended this fabricated universe to appear realistic yet inclusive.


Even Doraemon’s name is an echo of the unruly nature of these children: “Dora” comes from “doraneko” — a corruption of “noraneko” (stray cat) that means something akin to a “cat that does what it wants”; then there’s “emon” (more properly “aemon“), an antiquated suffix for male names, which makes the fact that Doraemon is from the future an etymological pun.


And, of course, a crucial component of this typical slice of Japan — with its very relatable, socially diverse set of characters — was its magic ingredient: a blue anthropomorphic cat robot from the 22nd century.


“A lot of the appeal of ‘Doraemon’ is actually that Nobita is so familiar and relatable — he’s average, goofy, lazy, a bit uncool, but still a good kid — so we recognize him,” says Caitlin Casiello, a Yale Ph.D. candidate in Japanese and film and media studies. “Therefore, Doraemon would be our friend, too. This contrast between a normal boy and time-traveling robot cat makes us feel connected to Doraemon, like participants in their adventures.”


Grandfather paradox おじいさんのパラドックス


  • ドラえもんは祖父母のような役割を作中ののび太と両親の関係において果たしている(のび太の祖父母は亡くなっている)。
  • ドラえもんの立場の背景には、戦後日本における三世代同居家族の出現があるのかもしれません。

Knowing that “Doraemon” was going to be screened on television every Friday at 6 p.m. is one of the regular, everyday aspects of the manga that has kept the series such a mainstay of Japanese life. So ingrained was “Doraemon” as a timekeeper for the nation that when the slot changed to Saturdays last year, it made headlines in many mainstream media outlets.


“It’s like Reiwa and ‘Doraemon’ changing times were the biggest changes of 2019,” Freedman says. She’s joking, of course, but there’s definitely some truth to her remark.


It’s this regularity that office worker and long-time fan Michiko Yamada, 34, attributes to at least part of the series’ comfort factor. Her view of the family set-up in the show is also interesting. “Doraemon acted like a grandparent in the household who always stood for good and had a good moral background,” Yamada says. “Nobita was always kind of lazy but Doraemon was always telling him to study, so the overall message was always good.


“Many families in the 1970s would have had an obāsan or ojīsan (grandmother or grandfather) living with them. I really think that’s why Doraemon has such an androgenous voice as well. Honestly, it has crossed my mind that he could be a grandmother or grandfather.”


Re-examining the series with Doraemon playing the role of an elder gives it some serious grounding. Nobita constantly goes above his parents and seeks help from Doraemon — a grandfather figure with all the answers.


And although Doraemon tries to be hard on Nobita, he almost always gives in, much like a doting grandparent. As comic as it is, Doraemon is typically at the receiving end of the scolding that Nobita gets from his mother once the jig is up.


“It’s just so comforting,” Yamada says. “It’s like, “Don’t worry, families are changing, times are changing.” It’s that kind of reflection of change in society, I suppose. The ’70s may have been a time when the family structure was evolving and so it was just a new way of presenting that in the media.”


‘That’s a cat?’ あれは猫なの?


‘Doraemon’ morals 『ドラえもん』のモラル


‘Doraemon’ in 2070 2070年の『ドラえもん



ドラえもんって今の子ども世代の目にはどう映るんでしょうね? 両親が健在で、父親が稼ぎ頭で、持ち家の家族って今どれだけ代表性があるのでしょう? たとえそういう家族であるとして、あれほど平和な家庭ってどれだけあるのでしょう?