Chapter 1 - Blue Sky Bao (Second release)

This is an updated and corrected version of the translation. My first release I used the Japanese version of the names, but I was pestered so often about how I was “wrong” about the names (never mind that I had notes pointing out that I had used the Japanese versions) that I later switched over to the Chinese version of the names. This release, I’ve gone back and adjusted the names to the Chinese versions. Below are the Japanese readings of the names.

Bao Zheng – Houjou  (crescent moon guy)
Zhan Zhao - Tenjou (bishi sneaky fighter)
Wang Chao - Oochou (bodyguard 1 – big eyebrows, long nose)
Ma Han - Bakan (bodyguard 2 – crooked nose, square-ish face)
Zhang Long - Chouryuu (bodyguard 3 – the most bishi of the four)
Zhao Hu - Chouko (bodyguard 4- youngest looking with the tilted up nose)
Gongson Ce - Couson Saku (assistant/advisor/doctor dude)

Grand Tutor Pang Ji – Hou-Daiji
Hou Iku – Pang Yu ~ I almost kept the Japanese reading, then realized this was a real person. Pang Yu really was executed by Bao for kidnapping.

First, please note that I’m translating from the Japanese version of the comic. The topic, however, is actually ancient China. The title translates to something like, “Record of Northern Song Affairs” but the suggested title I found was simply “Justice Bao.” The story focuses on one Bao Zheng, said to be one of the few honest officials of the Northern Song Dynasty. He is a really very interesting historical figure, whom you will probably become at least passingly interested in as you read the story. He was, indeed, called black-face or something like Charcoal, which would indicate dark skin. I’m not sure if the crescent shaped birth mark was real or if it is merely tradition, but he is typically portrayed as having the birthmark (and a statue commemorating him appears to have the mark, and there are lots of variations on masks). If you need a reference to the time period and the like, just do a random search and you’ll be able to place it. For those who are really into period dramas, this is before the Jin took control of Northern China (which is why it’s called Northern Song).

In a few places, such as titles, I have no real way of knowing what the title means or I get something like (in the case of Gongson Ce’s title) “Shubo: An old Chinese title- in the Central government office, this official deals with managing and administering the books and keeping records.” It’s not very informative, especially since I know that that particular title also refers to an advisor for the Justice. I’ve decided, rather than go nuts looking them up, translating the usually very complex description, and trying to find equivalents, to leave the title as it is. In most cases, the authors wrote in rough equivalents in parenthesis. I have, therefore, done the same.

Remember that Bao is considered the “perfect” official, and is similar to Sherlock Holmes in his ability to figure out difficult cases. Please note that while the manga is based off of historical characters, and some of the cases may hold some similarities to actual cases that Bao had (as with this first case), this is largely very fictionalized. This series is considered a comedy, with some touches of romance.


Translation notes:
Pg 2 - The Ghost in Chapter 1 calls Bao “Seishu-sama.” The Kanji are “star” and “master” in that order. This is a plot device that will be explained a little later on.
 … Also, it appears to actually be part of the Bao myth, post-death. >.>

Pg 6 - I hesitate in the use of "Prefecture" but couldn't think of another similar word. The kanji indicates something like a state or a county, but they don't translate exactly as I'm not sure exactly of the size approximation or even the relative level of autonomy. Just understand that where I use prefecture, I'm just trying to relate the kanji to a modern-ish idea of a region under the power of the overall government.

Pg 7 - “Blue Sky Bao” is an actual nickname, and has become such a popular phrase that “blue sky” has come to mean justice. For the most part, I use the literal “blue sky” since that is what the period reference would still mean.

Pg 8 – the Japanese version just has Pang’s title as “Taiji/Daiji” with the author note that I’ve indicated on the page. As I also point out, this particular suffix actually indicates one of three positions that are immediately under the Emperor, and therefore makes Pang one of the four most powerful men in the EMPIRE. Wikipedia doesn’t have much info on these positions, but it is clear that the author sort of understated the description. XD

Pg 11 – “Join my estate…” He’s not inviting her to be a wife, he’s inviting her to be a servant, or maybe a concubine. He’ll be sleeping with her either way, but his words in Japanese don’t actually indicate that he intends to give her the actual rank. And yes, concubine was a legal rank and much, much better than being a random servant the lord of the house likes to have sex with.

Pg 12 – Concubine Pang Kihi. Two things here, first, there doesn’t seem to be a record that Grand Tutor Pang’s daughter was actually a member of the royal harem at the time (or if he even had a daughter), though it would not be at all unusual for her to be there as a high-ranking woman of good lines if he did, indeed, have a daughter the right age. There is no official record, however, that I’ve found to give her ‘real’ name. It is, however, very common in stories and dramas/plays to cast Grand Tutor Pang as a bad guy who relies partially on the power his concubine daughter wields. So while I don’t have a real name for this young lady, the character in general is pretty well set in ‘classic’ Bao stories. I switched out the Japanese reading of the family name for the Chinese version, and left the Japanese reading of the first name.

Her title is weird, and a Chinese reader from another forum pointed out that the kanji are the formal suffixes in Chinese for concubines (with the implication that the Emperor had slept with them and they were favored). In some ways, the Chinese system is refreshingly straightforward, so I decided that they probably really are just calling her “Concubine Pang.” Amusingly, her name and title are almost exactly the same. The title is a two kanji word, and her name is those same two kanji with a third kanji between them that means “esteemed” or “precious.” You can imagine that that sort of hurt my head when I was trying to figure it out. :/ Especially since the title in Chinese is also read “kihi” so her name was “Pang Kihi-kihi.” -.-;

Pg 19 – “Chin no On Neko” is the Japanese phrase. The ‘chin’ kanji is the royal I, and the latter half is literally King Cat. This really was Zhan Zhao’s nickname. It confused the heck out of me when I first tried to translate this chapter.

Pg 19 - … 1st, 3rd, 4th rank officials. This is literally what it sounds like, the ranking levels of civil servants. This also represents how close a person is allowed to get to the Emperor in formal situations. If you look closely in any period drama at the castle courtyards, there are stone posts… which have the rank numbers on them. “19th rank stands here” essentially (‘cause the courtyard wasn’t for high-ranking people). You also see this in the Jet Li film Hero, where the advisor tells Li’s character how many steps he’s allowed to take into the room. Pang Yu’s just saying, “Hey, there’s two major degrees of separation in power between you guys, they can’t really hurt you, can they?”

Pg 31 – Satsu. Bao was highly regarded by the Emperor and was given several items of importance from him. One of those is a set of beheading devices/guillotines that you see here. Each one was stylized into a different animal, and each one was used for different ranks. Royalty was beheaded with the dragon, government officials were beheaded with the tiger, and the commoners with the dog. This is what Pang Ji means when he tells his son “This opponent can take your head” because Bao had been given the power to do so via these instruments. The lever-knife guillotines are still around, enshrined now at Bao’s temple. You can google it to see pictures.

Pg 34 – Bao felt strongly about this statement… he also famously said that if any of his descendants were to take a bribe, they were not to be called his descendants and they wouldn’t be allowed to be buried in the family grave. ^.^;; Kind of a strict guy.



~Tehlorri
 

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