Release Countdown to November 19th

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

[Pinned] Announcement: Phantom River Stone is on Patreon!

It is hard to believe that over two years have passed since the Phantom River Stone blog launched. We've made more than 200 posts on our favorite subject: translations of community interviews, magazine articles and design documents, notes about everyday items and culture reflected in the game, photos of real locations around Yokosuka... just celebrating the awesomeness that is Shenmue.

In order to sustain this rate of output, and dedicate the time needed for the translations and posts, I wanted to offer a way for blog readers who wish to help contribute to do so.

And so, I am excited to announce our new Patreon page for Phantom River Stone!

If you're not familiar with Patreon, it’s an easy way to give those who find the blog of interest, a way to support it directly.

Plus, you will receive some great rewards in return, such as exclusive "behind the scenes" content, early access to blog posts before anyone else, and monthly voting on a future blog topic. We also have a Discord channel for chatting about Shenmue and blog posts & I look forward to chatting with you there.

There are several different reward tiers, which you can check out in detail on the new Patreon page.

Thank you for considering becoming a patron of the blog, and regardless of whether you are in a position to offer financial support, thank you for being a reader of the blog!

Click to open the Phantom River Stone page on Patreon!

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Translation of Wan Chai's "South Carmain Qr." and Other Quarters | Shenmue 2

Shenmue II's South Carmain Quarter: home to Lotus Park and the district in which the Yin Tan apartments are located. The district name has a nice ring to it in English - but it does not quite match the meaning of its original name.

This post will look at how closely each of the English translations for the district names in Wan Chai reflect the meaning of the characters in Chinese (in fact the characters also exist in Japanese, although the meanings are not necessarily identical between the languages). Special thanks to yuc02 for consultation on some of these meanings.

I took Ryo on a stroll around Wan Chai, snapping photos of the names of the various Quarters for further study.
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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for July 2019

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. The results are in for July's topic. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic - by a wide margin - was...

"Yu Suzuki's Research Trip to China: Part Three"

In 1994 Yu Suzuki spent two weeks in China gathering material for his upcoming Virtua Fighter II game, and his findings also greatly influenced his creation of Shenmue.
  • In Part One, we translated blog posts about the trip by Kazunari Uchida, the person who accompanied Yu Suzuki.
  • In Part Two, we translated Yu Suzuki's own comments about his trip, and how his findings would be useful for the development of the Virtua Fighter series.
With Part Three we will start translating the first of a number of "diary" style articles documenting the China trip, again written by Kazunari Uchida, which were published in 1994 as a series in the Japanese Beep! MegaDrive Magazine.

Watch for it later this month!

For early access to this and other articles published on the blog, support us on Patreon!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Yu Suzuki at Japan Expo 2019: Ryo Hazuki Concept Sketches

Continuing on from our previous post about Yu Suzuki's on-stage interview at the Japan Expo 2019 in Paris, this time we'll look at the section of Yu's presentation where he introduces several early Shenmue candidate sketches for Ryo Hazuki and talks about the process of finding the "right" Ryo.

Link to the previous Japan Expo 2019 post:

Sketches of Ryo Hazuki

A number of concept sketches of Ryo Hazuki were displayed on the large screen behind Yu Suzuki, who made comments about each one. The sketches were created during the early design stages for Shenmue in the mid-1990s.

I've translated Yu Suzuki's words from the video.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Yu Suzuki at Japan Expo 2019: Childhood Anecdotes

Yu Suzuki attended the recent Japan Expo in Paris last Saturday, July 6th. In this post, we'll recap the part of his "Masterclass" presentation where he spoke about his childhood and gave several amusing anecdotes.

Signing Session

In the morning, Yu held a signing session, and at which these gold-and-red Shenmue III fans featuring dragon and phoenix motifs were distributed:
Shenmue III fans were distributed
The main event was in the afternoon, with Yu Suzuki's stage "masterclass" during which he covered topics such as his childhood, his career and of course Shenmue.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Illustration for Tanabata, the Star Festival | Shenmue III

Yu Suzuki has tweeted out a Shenmue-themed illustration to mark Japan's Tanabata Festival, with the words: "July 7th. Today is Tanabata."

The Tanabata Festival (七夕, "Evening of the seventh") is a Japanese festival about a legend of the stars in the sky held on July 7th at night. A young married couple, Orihime (the "Weaving Princess") and Hikoboshi (the "Boy Star") angered Orihime's father who separated from each other by the Milky Way. He allowed them to meet each other only once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the calendar. Legend also holds that if the day is rainy, they are unable to meet and will be forced to wait another year.

In the illustration we see Ryo as Hikoboshi and Shenhua as Orihime, with the Milky Way stretching out behind them.

The plant in the illustration is a shoot of bamboo with colorful paper pieces attached to it. In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes on small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations. The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival.

Something that ties this legend into Shenmue is that Orihime's father is named Tentei, the Heavenly Emperor; in Taoism, this name can also refer to Polaris, the North Star. In past interviews, Yu Suzuki has revealed Tentei to be the mysterious leader of the Chi You Men. So the Star Festival may be more meaningful in the world of Shenmue than it may first appear...

Link to tweet

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Yu Suzuki on Ryo Hazuki and the Concept of Time (IGN Japan) | Translation

This is a translation of an article that was recently published IGN Japan journalist (and former "Shenmue Respect Champion"), Esra Krabbe.

The World's Most Oblivious Young Man, Ryo Hazuki, and the Concept of Time: Yu Suzuki Talks About Shenmue's Protagonist.

young man who is a blank canvas - able to take on any hue.

I first played Shenmue 1 when I was a junior high school student. Ryo Hazuki was someone I really looked up to, even to the point of wishing I could be him.

But as an adult I realized something: Ryo is still immature in a lot of ways, and his character is one whose growth is yet to come.

I have been fortunate to interview Ryo's creator, Yu Suzuki, about Shenmue 3 on several occasions, and I had the urge to find out how Suzuki sees the character of Ryo Hazuki, and what kind of person he is to him.

Suzuki didn't reply to my question immediately, and instead sank into deep thought. I regretted my question - perhaps I had asked something too general - but resolved to remain silent and wait for Suzuki's response.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Update: PC Version Options & "Greater than Shenmue 2" Scale

A new Kickstarter Update has been released by YS Net containing two main topics which we will summarize in this post. One is regarding the PC versions of the game, and the other is an overview of features that have been included in the final game.

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