What does Satan mean in Japanese (how to say Satan in Japanese)?

In the Bible, in scriptures such as Ezekiel 28:14–18Job 1:6-7and Revelation 12:10Satan is depicted as a rebel against God and an accuser of men before God. Together with other verses, these are said to be key in the understanding of who Satan is in Western culture. One may want to know if the same applies in the East and ask, “What does Satan mean in Japanese?”

Akuma is the name ascribed to Satan in Japanese Christianity. In Japanese folklore, Akuma is said to be a malicious fire spirit, a negative and fearsome creature. 

Akuma is supposed to have similar characteristics as Satan, hence the designation. The English word “Satan” is also commonly used.

In this article, I’ll be exploring more on what Satan means in Japanese. I’ll be looking at some of the interesting questions about the topic, such as what the Japanese translation of Satan is, what Akuma means, how to write Satan in the language, and why Hercule’s name appears as Mr. Satan in Japanese Dragon Ball versions. Join me to find out all about these and more.

What is the translation of Satan in Japanese?

Akuma is the Japanese translation for Satan. The word “Satan” is sometimes also used. Since Japanese culture was not monotheistic, it did not have the concept of an opponent to God. With the introduction of Christianity in the mid-sixteenth century, the use of Akuma gradually evolved as a common name for Biblical Satan. This is said to be because of the similarity between Satan and the Japanese folklore character, who is believed to be a malevolent fire spirit.

What does Akuma mean in Japanese?

how to say Satan in Japanese?
What does Akuma mean in Japanese? Image source: Pinterest

Akuma is a combination of two kanji characters: Aku, which means “bad,” and Ma, which translates to “demon.” The kanji character “Ma” can also mean wickedness, sorcery, witchcraft, or magic. Akuma is both singular and plural.

Akuma also gives the notion of demonic possession. For instance, the Japanese word for an exorcism is akuma barai. In Japanese culture, any demon denoted as Akuma is often said to be a negative and fearsome creature.

How do you write Satan in Japanese?

The kanji characters for the word Akuma are 悪魔. The word Akuma can also be written as あくま in the Katakana alphabet. The word Satan, written as さたん (サタン), is also used but limited to Christianity.

The first character, 悪, is said to be extensively used in Japanese to mean ‘bad’ or ‘evil .’The second character, 魔, is used to refer to a supernatural being or force, such as a ‘devil’ or ‘demon.’

Why did Hercule’s name go from Hercule to Mr. Satan in Japanese?

What does Satan mean in Japanese?
Why did Hercule’s name go from Hercule to Mr. Satan? Image source: Pinterest

“Mr. Satan” is a ring name for the world champion in Dragon Ball Z series games. His real name is said to be Mark. He is the same character as Hercule of the French Dragon Ball Z dub, based on Greek mythology Hercules. The name goes from Hercule to Mr. Satan because of the Japanese pronunciation of Mark, which is “Maaku .”Maaku happens to be a pun on the Japanese word “Akuma,” which means Satan.

Although the champion’s tactics are meant to link to the biblical Satan, the name ended up not having the same religious and cultural significance in North America as it did in Japan.

Dragon Ball, therefore, decided to retain Hercule in some English versions.

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