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Hibun

Image of the Japanese epitaph in the PS3 remake.

The Witch's Epitaph (魔女の碑文 Majo no Hibun?) is one of the central riddles of Umineko no Naku Koro ni. It was put up in the main hall of the Ushiromiya family mansion in April 1984, next to what is purportedly a portrait of the witch Beatrice. The riddle appears to be a guide to the location of the Golden Land, where Kinzo supposedly hid 20 billion yen worth of gold. Rumor has it that Kinzo put the epitaph on display as a means to determine the succession of the Ushiromiya family headship.

The EpitaphEdit

English TranslationEdit

Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key.

As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules.

On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices.
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, at journey's end, you shall attain to the power of the Golden Land's treasures, once and for the last time.

The witch shall praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of all the dead souls.
One shall be the resurrection of the love that was lost.
One shall be to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my beloved witch, Beatrice.

Original Japanese TextEdit

懐かしき、故郷を貫く鮎の川。
黄金郷を目指す者よ、これを下りて鍵を探せ。

川を下れば、やがて里あり。
その里にて二人が口にし岸を探れ。
そこに黄金郷への鍵が眠る。

鍵を手にせし者は、以下に従いて黄金郷へ旅立つべし。

第一の晩に、鍵の選びし六人を生贄に捧げよ。
第二の晩に、残されし者は寄り添う二人を引き裂け。
第三の晩に、残されし者は誉れ高き我が名を讃えよ。
第四の晩に、頭をえぐりて殺せ。
第五の晩に、胸をえぐりて殺せ。
第六の晩に、腹をえぐりて殺せ。
第七の晩に、膝をえぐりて殺せ。
第八の晩に、足をえぐりて殺せ。
第九の晩に、魔女は蘇り、誰も生き残れはしない。
第十の晩に、旅は終わり、黄金の郷に至るだろう。

魔女は賢者を讃え、四つの宝を授けるだろう。
一つは、黄金郷の全ての黄金。
一つは、全ての死者の魂を蘇らせ。
一つは、失った愛すらも蘇らせる。
一つは、魔女を永遠に眠りにつかせよう。

安らかに眠れ、我が最愛の魔女ベアトリーチェ。


Other English TranslationsEdit

Second Witch Hunt TranslationEdit

Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key.

As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules.

On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices. 
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, the journey shall end, and you shall reach the capital where the gold dwells.

The witch shall praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of all the dead souls.
One shall be the resurrection of the love that was lost.
One shall be to put the witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my most beloved witch, Beatrice.

Official Manga TranslationEdit

Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
If you seek the Golden Land, follow the river and seek the key.

Downstream, you will find a village.
In this village, seek the shore of which two will speak.
There the key to the golden land sleeps.
Whosoever finds the key should follow these directions to the Golden Land.

On the first night, offer up as sacrifices the six the key chooses.
On the second night, those who remain will tear apart the two who are close.
On the third night, those who remain will praise my noble name.
On the fourth night, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth night, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth night, gouge the belly and kill.
On the seventh night, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth night, gouge the foot and kill.
On the ninth night, the witch will revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth night, the journey will end, and you shall reach the capital in which the gold dwells.

The witch will praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be all the gold in the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be the ressurection of love lost.
One shall be the witch, put into an eternal sleep.

Rest in peace,
My beloved witch,
Beatrice.

Original Witch Hunt TranslationEdit

My beloved hometown, the sweetfish river running through it.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream and seek the key.

If you follow the river downstream, you will find a village.
In the village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

He who lays hand upon the key shall travel under the rules below.

At the first twilight, you shall lift up as sacrifice the six chosen by the key.
At the second twilight, the surviving shall tear apart the two who are close.
At the third twilight, the surviving shall praise my honorable name on high.
At the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
At the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
At the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
At the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
At the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
At the ninth twilight, the Witch shall be revived and none shall be left alive.
At the tenth twilight, the journey shall end and you should reach the village of gold.

The Witch will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures.
One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.
One shall be, to put the Witch to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my most beloved witch, Beatrice.

Translation HistoryEdit

The epitaph has undergone multiple retranslations since it was first released. The first retranslation by the Witch Hunt fantranslation group was released on December 10, 2010, and the manga translation is heavily based upon this one. The epitaph was retranslated for the final time by Witch Hunt along with a full edit of the script for the official localisation of the visual novel, released on July 8, 2016. The major difference between the translations is the rendering in English of the tenth twilight, which was tweaked to accommodate the wordplay involved in the epitaph's solution.

Story Edit

Legend of the Golden Witch Edit

The epitaph is first introduced as the cousins and Shannon are preparing to leave the mansion for the beach. It is stated to have been put up along with the witch's portrait in April 1984.

During the cousins' attempts to solve the epitaph at the beach, Jessica states that the old Ushiromiya family mansion was located in Odawara. From this, they come up with the theory that the sweetfish river refers to Hayakawa river, and that the location of the key may be Sogakishi due to the presence of the "岸" character in its name. They however note that Kinzo was part of a branch family, and may have instead lived far away from the Kanto region.

The existence of the gold suggested by the epitaph was a topic of debate between the adults. Krauss maintained his position that the gold was a myth, while the other adults took the stance that it was real. Krauss later reveals to Natsuhi that he had in his possession an ingot from the collection that was presented by Kinzo to investors as collateral, and thus that his earlier stance had been a bluff.

During the first night's dinner, Maria reads a letter claiming to be from the witch Beatrice, who tells the family that she will take back the gold and everything of the Ushiromiya family as interest unless they manage to solve the riddle of the epitaph. Murders later proceed in accordance with the "twilights" section of the epitaph, and the family realizes that the epitaph may be describing a ceremony to revive the witch.

Banquet of the Golden Witch Edit

This is the first episode where the family members make a serious attempt to solve the epitaph's riddle. The siblings agree that Kinzo's "beloved hometown" likely referred to a place different from Odawara. They all seem to have the same place in mind, one that had been caught up in the Second World War and changed dramatically during the post-war recovery. Kyrie suggests that the sweetfish river may actually be a metaphor, and that the offering of sacrifices may have to do with an anagram. Krauss suggests that the village (里) may have something to do with Maria's name (真里亞), but Rosa notes that Kinzo was not fond of Maria. Finally, Rosa privately mentions to Eva that the tenth twilight is odd in that it writes out 黄金郷 (Golden Land) as 黄金の郷 (rendered differently depending on the translation).

The epitaph is eventually solved by Eva after consulting an atlas from the guesthouse library. During the process, she seemed to find an answer that should have been six characters but wasn't so until she read it in a different way. She ends up being led through the rain and discovers an underground passage leading to a room containing the hidden ten tons of gold. While leaving through the passageway she is confronted by Rosa, who notes that the "sweetfish" part of the epitaph didn't matter much in the end. After they part ways, Eva's younger self meets Beatrice, who passes down the title of Golden Witch to her. EVA-Beatrice is then told that she must continue to carry out the murders of the epitaph in order to complete her own resurrection ceremony.

End of the Golden Witch Edit

During the fifth game, Erika decides to take on the riddle of the epitaph. Bernkastel recaps the hints given in the scenes of the 3rd game to Meta-Battler. On the gameboard, Erika deduces that the sacrifices involve some kind of wordplay, where six characters are removed from a larger string of 11 or 13 characters, depending on the interpretation of the second twilight. Rosa once again brings up the tenth twilight to Battler, and mentions that "郷" is a homonym for "京". She says that she used to think that the tenth twilight referred to Kyoto, and that the epitaph described a ten day journey from the "beloved hometown" to the capital.

Erika and Battler end up solving the epitaph together. They end up outside the mansion, where they seem to have activated some sort of device. The two follow a "signpost" that Battler notes changes its direction of orientation and find the gold room. Lambdadelta confirms the existed of the gold with the Red Truth. Erika relinquishes to Battler the rights to the inheritance, and they announce their discovery to the rest of the adults. Unlike in the third game, there is no witch succession ceremony. The murders continue but the game ends up being prematurely suspended at the second twilight.

Requiem of the Golden Witch Edit

In 1984, the portrait and epitaph are commissioned by Kinzo and placed in the parlor, and the riddle is attempted by family members and servants alike. It is revealed that the epitaph was a farce created by Kinzo and Genji to pass down the succession to a specific person and reunite Kinzo with Beatrice. Genji reveals to Shannon and Kanon that Kinzo's hometown was actually in Taiwan. Beatrice then proceeds to use this information to solve the epitaph while Will explains the solution in his commentary. On November 29, 1984, Beatrice inherits the gold and the headship from Kinzo, who passes away without regrets after apologizing to her.

The solution is as follows:

The river being referred to is the Danshui River, whose name literally means "freshwater" (Hideyoshi points out in the third game that sweetfish are freshwater fish). The sweetfish river however is actually a metaphor for the Danshui railway line, with the sweetfish representing the trains flowing along it. The key to the golden land is the location of one of its stations, 唭哩岸, which contains the kanji for village (里), shore (岸), and two occurrences of the kanji for mouth (口). It is read "Kirigan" in Japanese but "Qilian" in Chinese, forming the six-character key.

The word that the key is meant to be used on is "Quadrillion". In the original Japanese, this involved recognizing that the kanji "京", which can be read as "kyou", has an alternate reading of "kei", meaning ten quadrillion. In the official localisation of the Umineko visual novel, the wordplay instead involves the double meaning in the word "power", which can also mean exponent. The "ten" twilights are thus raised to the fourth exponent for each of the Golden Land's treasures, and the result is raised to the fourth exponent again to fulfill the phrase "once and for the last time", forming ten quadrillion ((104)4). The first twilight is thus one-tenth of this number, and the letters in "Qilian" are to be removed from it.

Chapel Relief

The chapel relief after the letter manipulations of the third twilight

The epitaph consists of instructions to operate a particular device located on a relief on the island's chapel, upon which the word "Quadrillion" can be manipulated. The letters of "Qilian" are removed from this, using the second "l" in Quadrillion, forming "-u-dr--l-o-". In accordance with the second twilight, the letter "r" is shifted to the space to its right.

Chapel Relief Operation

Beatrice operating the chapel relief mechanism by "gouging" the letters.

The third twilight involves the rearranging of the letters to form "-l-o-r-d-u-" or "Lord Ushiromiya".

From there, each of the letters is twisted and removed from left to right, activating a device that shifts the orientation of one of the lion statues. Upon following a second lion statue, one will encounter the revealed steps of a secret passageway leading the island's military base tunnels and the gold room.



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