Chien Ting Chin (
Tue, 11 Jan 2000 22:51:07 -0500 (EST)

Mark Simmons wrote:
> > Whoa, I thought Kai was Japanese for Custom?
> Not really. "Kai" means something akin to "refined" or "improved," and

For what it's worth, 'Kai' in Chinese means 'modify', it's neutral
regarding positive vs. negative modification. For example, one may choose
to "kai" something by reducing armor or capacity to reduce cost or
increase range. But...

> usually denotes an upgraded version of a mass-produced model. For example,

I think that's true at least in the Gundam world. Don't know if it's
generally true in the Japanese language.

> "Custom," on the other hand - written as "kasutamu" in katakana - would
> typically denote a unit that's been personally customized or modified. The

That's how an English speaker would interpret the word 'custom', but it
seems to me the Gundam fandom has always equated 'kai' with 'custom',
until today I might say.

> Right. The RGM-79C is called the GM Kai. The RGM-79N is named the GM
> Custom. This alone would indicate that Kai is not the same thing as Custom,

So the C is Kai and the N is called kasutamu? So for whom exactly was
the RGM-79N customized? South Burning? I thought he flew a C-type?

> though Bandai seems to be indordinately fond of the latter term. ;-)

So is it more proper to translate 'kai' as 'modified' or as you like
'improved'? If so, who made the original mistake of using 'custom'?
Bandai or Western fans?

CHIN, Chien Ting
Dept of Medical Biophysics, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre
... o O *
Man is a bubble

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