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Kaegemusha Meaning - What Does The Japanese Word Mean in Fiction

What does the word Kagemusha (影武者) mean in Japanese?

By Iyane Agossah

August 30, 2021

Note that this article contains minor spoilers for Genshin impact 2.1, as the word Kagemusha (影武者) is used there – while I won’t be directly sharing the spoilers myself, knowing the different definitions behind the word might spoil you and give you an idea of what could happen.

Story spoilers for Genshin Impact Version 2.1 are out, so you might want to avoid Twitter and social media as a whole until we get to play the patch for ourselves. A considerable amount of players, definitely younger players, have been spoiling themselves and wondering what some words like Kagemusha mean though.

It’s easy to tell because older anime fans know the word thanks to seeing anime series from over 10 years ago that used it, like Hikari to Mizu no Daphne. (Don’t judge it by its cover and watch this show, it’s incredible). Or thanks to the Kagemusha (1980) movie. And last but not least, most older anime fans who don’t know the word Kagemusha would directly check their preferred online Japanese dictionary rather than googling it.

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Genshin Impact | Version 2.1 Trailer
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The menings behind the word Kagemusha

The word Kagemusha was historically a strategy used during the Sengoku period (Warring States period). Warlords would make soldiers, family members, or peasants who look similar to them dress the same as them to fool the enemy. Nowadays, the word has several meanings. And is mostly used to designate someone who gives instructions to others while not showing themselves in public.

Another meaning often used in fiction is a body double, inspired by the Sengoku strategy. Be it for a living person, or for a dead body. To erase or hide evidence in a murder case most notably.

Genshin Impact Version 2.1 will be launching on September 1. You can also always reach me on Twitter to discuss the game @A_iyane07.

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Iyane Agossah
@A_iyane07

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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