Kataware-doki Fragment of Time
We are told in the movie, Kimi no Na Wa, that kataware-doki means twilight in the dialect of Hida, where Mitsuha lives. Iwakage has more about the land of Hida as seen in the movie, if you click here.
Strange things can happen during kataware-doki, the toki time of kataware. And they do, in the movie.
Kataware means a fragment. Fragment of time. Also, the fragment of the meteor that crashes to earth in Hida, obliterating Mitsuha’s hometown.
Let’s consider the fragment of time called kataware-doki. Twilight is a fascinating time of day — or is it night? It is the time between day and night, when it is neither day nor is it night. It is kure, dusk. Many haiku have been written about kure. Here’s one by Basho.
kono michi ya / yuku hito nashi ni / aki no kure.
This path — no one walks it — autumn twilight
This lonely path that Basho describes could be a viewed as an autumn day turning into night, or as late autumn when the season turns to winter. It may even allude to the time when his life is coming to a close.
Kure is a border between two things such as light and dark, life and death, between two instants of time. It is at such a border that all things are possible.
As we were pondering twilight, Earth and Sky posted an article on three definitions of twilight, saying “You can define twilight simply as the time of day between daylight and darkness, whether that’s after sunset, or before sunrise.” They explain how Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical Twilight are defined — astronomically.
Still, these definitions do not explain how we feel about twilight.
Photo: Earth at twilight as viewed from space, NASA
2017.12.04 Update. Basho in his autumn haiku used kure for dusk. The character for dusk is 昏, also read kare. We noticed that, in the movie, the teacher also explained kataware-doki as karetaso and tasokare. We find that tasokare is written 黄昏, where the first character means yellow and the second is dusk. Now, kare usually means “he, him.” But kare if pronounced tare or dare would mean “who?”
So, we are back to the title of the movie, slightly rephrased, as:
Who are you?
Perhaps that was question being posed by Makoto Shinkai.