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High and Low: What's in a name

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    Vili Maunula

    Ugetsu’s recent posts have reignited my enthusiasm for High and Low, and got me thinking about it again. Although I saw it only a month ago, watching it again yesterday once again left me exhausted by its brilliance.

    Anyway, I had always thought Kingo to be a curious name, and assumed it to be a funnily Japanised version of “King” from King’s Ransom, the story on which Kurosawa based the film. And that it probably is.

    What I hadn’t realised until now is that Kingo actually is a real Japanese name. Not a very common one, apparently, but a proper name nevertheless.

    Not only that, but the characters with which it is written, 金吾, actually seem quite relevant to the story. 金 stands for “gold” or “money”, while 吾 has the meaning of “oneself” or “one’s own”.

    I can imagine Kurosawa’s satisfaction when he came to realise this.



    I hadn’t thought of that connection, its a great one! I have come across the name Kingo before – in a novel I think, but I can’t remember which one. Its a good name though for a Kurosawa/Mifune character.



    If it weren’t for kinjin from tekken revolution (a PS3 game) and multiple cries of “gold!” in the hidden fortress, I wouldn’t have picked up on at least one of the meanings of kingo’s name.

    interestingly, the linguistic cognate for “gold” in korean is kim. similar enough.



    SSJ wrote:

    interestingly, the linguistic cognate for “gold” in korean is kim.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s part of the reason why Kim is the most common Korean surname.



    It’s an amusingly profit-oriented choice of name.

    But, who knows, could be more metaphorical than that!

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