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Real world religion and cultural influences in Zelda 3


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#1 Sworcery

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:54 PM

Examining the Japanese of some names and phrases, there seems to be a few connections to other religions and cultures.

1. Sahasrahla/サハスラーラ
The Sahasrara, being of the Hindu religion, is the seventh chakra.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahasrara

2. Aginah/アジナー
The Ajna, like the above, represents the sixth chakra.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajna

3. Agahnim/アグニム
Agnim, a form of the Sanskrit word for "fire."

4. Book of Mudora/ムドラの書
A mudra, meaning gesture/seal/mark, is of Hindu and Buddist origin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudra

5. Cane of Somaria/ソマリアのつえ
Or the cane of Somalia, as in the primarily Muslim east African country.

6. Great Cataclysm/オオイナル ワザワイ/大いなる災
Chronicles 21:14 of the Christian bible, "...with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people..."
Samuel 6:9, "...then he hath done us this great evil..."
link

7. The light world mountain/ヘブラ山
This mountain is unnamed in the English version, but referred to as this in the Japanese version. Likely a reference to "ヘブライ" or "Hebrew."

8. Censored Star of David
Does not appear in the English version of the game.
picture

9. The Sacred Land/聖地
Zechariah 2:12, "...And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land..."

10. The Wise Men/賢者
In the bible, these kanji correspond to the wise men or magi.
link

11. Censored tablet writings
Changed for the English release. Somewhat resembles Egyptian hieroglyphics.
picture

#2 arunma

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:23 AM

Interesting. I always thought a lot of those names sounded familiar, but I wasn't quite sure where they all came from. A couple of the Biblical references are a bit of a stretch (e.g. great cataclysm/great plague), but I can definitely see the linguistic origins of the other ones.

#3 Showsni

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:39 PM

Pretty interesting, though there's probably not a deep significance behind most of them - Japanese computer games often seem to borrow terms from different cultures and religions to spice them up.

So if two of the seven sages' descendants are named after two of the chakras, are the rest named after the others?


#4 Emiko

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:43 PM

That's really cool :) Thanks for sharing

#5 Sworcery

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:34 PM

Interesting. I always thought a lot of those names sounded familiar, but I wasn't quite sure where they all came from. A couple of the Biblical references are a bit of a stretch (e.g. great cataclysm/great plague), but I can definitely see the linguistic origins of the other ones.

Yeah, I would think it's a stretch too, if it weren't for the Biblical imagery and themes throughout the series to that point. And Zelda 3 being the game with the most borrowed themes, up to that point...

Pretty interesting, though there's probably not a deep significance behind most of them - Japanese computer games often seem to borrow terms from different cultures and religions to spice them up.

So if two of the seven sages' descendants are named after two of the chakras, are the rest named after the others?

Well, as far as Somalia being the name, unless whoever named that item had never heard of the country, there's really no room to think otherwise, looking at the Japanese writing. Not a hugely significant thing. But someone on the team, likely the scenario writer, clearly had an interest in these real world themes, and dropped them in. It really adds to the game I feel, adding a bit of character and flavor that isn't seen in the newer games.

That's really cool :) Thanks for sharing

No problem! Glad people find it interesting.




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