-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Tue, 20 Feb 2001 20:03:29 -0800


> > were labeled as "Black Three Stars"...
>
> always thought it was black trinary myself. could be one of those "almost"
> translations.

Just so. The term "Black Three Stars" is a literal translation of the Japanese
and refers to a "mon" or crest worn by samurai consisting of three stars within
a circle, printed in reverse -- that is, black on gold instead of gold on black.

The three-star crest belonged to a legendary team of three ronin samurai whose
actions were so tightly coordinated that they literately acted as one person.
This team acted as mercenaries and usually appears as villains in the so-called
"samurai soaps" -- the Japanese equivalent of Westerns -- and figure prominently
in one memorable segment of the Lone Wolf and Cub story. The symbol also turns
up in both samurai and other fiction as an identifier, usually in the form of a
distinctive tattoo or corporate logo, for a reputedly unbeatable lone assassin.
You'll find such a reference in the Patlabor P-6 OAV, for example.

"Three Stars" or "Tri-Star" is awkward in English, so most figurative
translations make it "Trinary" instead, from the astronomical term for the
triple-star system.

-Z-

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