Post by Kevrob Post by James Nicoll
Mao, volume 1 by Rumiko Takahashi
Why use the name "Mao?" I understand this is a Japanese
name, and I have no idea how, if at all, it relates to the infamous
Were "Hitler" and "Stalin" taken?
"Hitler" was "Hiedler" back in the days of Adolf's grandfather.
And "Stalin" is an ekename, meaning "man of steel," applied to a
Georgian whose name at birth was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili.
I know neither Japanese nor Chinese. But I recall being told
(way back in my Linguistics major) that (a) Japanese has many
Chinese loanwords, and (b) the word for "cat" in Chinese is also
_mao_, though with different tones than the name of the Chairman.
Which means the two words are as different, to a speaker of
Chinese, as "pat" and "bat."
And reading James's review, I observe that Mao is one who was
cursed by a *cat-demon.*
Do we have any speakers of Japanese here, or anyone who knows a
speaker of Japanese, who might be able to clarify whether Mao in
this story means "cat" or "Chinese guy from the twentieth
As to Takahashi's style of drawing, Wikipedia tells me she's 63.
Possibly her hands are weakening? (I hope not; but mine are
degenerating to the point that my handwriting is illegible to me.
I can still print, slowly and carefully.) Let's hope that she
just decided to use a simpler style.
Dorothy J. Heydt
djheydt at gmail dot com