[[quoteright:194:[[Manga/DragonBall http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/magogosora_2862.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:194:Son Goku's name is mispronounced by the announcer. [[LostInTranslation It's funnier if you speak Japanese.]][[note]]Translation: "Um, Mr. Mago Gosora..." "Isn't it 'Son Goku'?" "Huh?"[[/note]]]]

The pronunciation of most Japanese words is not easily gleaned from how they are written. In the UsefulNotes/JapaneseWritingSystem, words written in ''kanji'' often have multiple pronunciations depending on context. Therefore, phonetic glosses called ''furigana'' are often provided in smaller characters next to the kanji. This invariably happens for names (whose pronunciations are notoriously idiosyncratic--some kanji have special readings ''only'' used in names) and terms with infrequently-used kanji. Publications for younger readers will often gloss common words as well.

Sometimes, the gloss will show a non-standard reading or another kanji, usually to clarify or highlight a particular nuance the author wishes to convey. This technique dates back to the Man'yōshū and Kojiki, and was very common among Edo period writers (mixing and matching Chinese words to Japanese glosses) and Meiji writers (mixing and matching Sino-Japanese words to recently borrowed Western glosses). A few common examples:
* Making puns by giving the kanji for one word and a reading corresponding to a different one. This is known as ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ateji ateji]]''.
* Glossing semantic compounds made from Chinese characters with a reading borrowed from another language.
* Identifying the person being referred to with a pronoun such as "I" or "he," much like video games with voice acting and [[HelloInsertNameHere custom character names]] may have "you" in the audio and the assigned name of the character in subtitle text.
* Sometimes the furigana will be an English word in katakana, most likely as RuleOfCool. (e.g. スマイル ''sumairu'' for 笑顔 ''egao''), both meaning "smile".

The subtle nuances that can be achieved with the use of an alternate reading are almost always LostInTranslation and will at worst end up being unfunny because [[DontExplainTheJoke detailed explanation is compulsory]]. On the flip side, alternate readings are frequently used when adapting something from English to Japanese in order to retain English names or puns.

Rough equivalents in English would be ItIsPronouncedTroPAY, StevenUlyssesPerhero, and LouisCypher, and this can lead to similar humor (DoubleEntendre, HehHehYouSaidX, UranusIsShowing...), {{Foreshadowing}} and [[PoorCommunicationKills drama]].

Not to be confused with AlternateCharacterInterpretation. See GoroawaseNumber for creative Japanese interpretation of numerals.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in ''Manga/AirGear'': two characters are both named [[spoiler:Sora Takeuchi]], but one is written using the kanji for "sky" while the other is written using the kanji for "space".
* Two major characters of the ''Manga/{{Area 88}}'' TV series, Kazama Shin and Shinjo Makoto, have names written identically in kanji. They comment on this when they first meet.
* In ''{{Manga/ARIA}}'', the title for a professional undine, as opposed to a trainee, is written with kanji meaning "to become an adult" and furigana indicating the pronunciation "purima" or "Prima".
* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'':
** One strip has a quick joke about Kagura misreading "Iriomote" as "Nishihyou".
*** The case of Iriomote is a strange example or a ''cross-language'' AlternateCharacterReading, as the kanji used to write Iriomote (which would be pronunced as Nishihyou under ''on-yomi'') is the ''kun-yomi'' for ''West Island''... through Okinawan.
** During one scene in the anime the class remarks on the beauty of the "sea of clouds" ("''kumo'umi''") during a plane ride. Yukari tells them that phrase is usually pronounced "''unkai''" and promises to drill them on kanji reading after the trip.
* In ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}''The two protagonists get three of these between them:
** Mashiro's classmates often call him "Saikou", which is an alternative reading of his name "Moritaka" (最高). His new friend and partner Takagi also keeps calling him that.[[note]]Saikou is the ''usual'' way to pronounce those kanji when used as a word ("highest"), not a name.[[/note]]
** When Mashiro gets annoyed of Takagi calling him Saikou, he starts calling him "Shuujin", which is an alternative reading of "Akito" (秋人). Some of Takagi's friends call him "Shuuto", which is yet another way of reading Akito.
** {{Handwave}}d for their [[MeaningfulName meaningful pen name]]: you wouldn't usually pronounce "dream comes true", "夢叶", as "Muto". Miyoshi insists one of her relative's name is written with those kanji reversed, "叶夢", and pronounced "Tomu".[[note]]Or "Tom".[[/note]]
** Inverted for Aoki Yuriko/Kou: Her real and pen names' pronunciation and meaning ("[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinction_of_blue_and_green_in_various_languages#Japanese blue]] tree") are the same, but they are written with different kanji, "青木" and "蒼樹".
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', arrancar techniques and ''zanpakuto'' are given kanji spellings and GratuitousSpanish readings (ditto for Quincy terminology, but in GratuitousGerman). For a couple examples, we have Nnoitra's ''zanpakuto''; kanji for "sacred crying mantis" are pronounced "Santateresa" (Spanish for Saint Teresa, also a term for mantises). Starrk's release is pronounced ''Los Lobos'' ("the wolves") and written with kanji meaning "wolf pack." Japanese names aren't immune, either. Uryuu's name (meaning "rain dragon") is a nonstandard reading; when Ichigo first saw it in writing, he pronounced it "Ametatsu."
* ''Anime/{{Canaan}}'''s episode titles use typical pronunciations, but are written with unusual kanji: one episode with a title pronounced "Friend" is written with the character for "light" in its place, while "Seasonal Train" uses kanji meaning approximately "mourning the murdered" instead of the normal one for "season." This even carries over to its sole English episode title--"Love & Piece" deliberately swaps out "peace" for a double meaning.
* ''LightNovel/ChuunibyouDemoKoiGaShitai''
** The surname Takanashi discussed elsewhere on this page
** Kumin Tsuyuri's surname is written as 五月七日 (May 7th)in kanji; Tsuyuri being a festival that falls on that day. In Episode 2, Yuuta did mispronunce that as Gogatsu-nanoka, and has to be corrected by Kumin.
** [[spoiler:Shinka's {{epithet}} "Mori Summer" partly comes from this; the first kanji is Shin in on-yomi and Mori in kun-yomi.]]
* The ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars'' novels and their sequels use this to give the artificial language Baronh. The meaning is given with the ''kanji'' and the Baronh pronunciation is given with the furigana. The English translations just had very large glossaries.
* The main character of ''Manga/TheDayOfRevolution'' goes from [[GenderBender Kei to Megumi]] by reading his name differently. This is one of the clues his old buddies use to figure it out.
* ''Manga/DeathNote:'' The main character is called Light, in English, but the kanji is ''Tsuki'' (月), which means moon. ''Raito'' written with "moon" is actually a real name outside of the series, but it's rare, and feminine at that. But why the hell not, you get a MeaningfulName out of the deal, since the kanji for tsuki has [[FourIsDeath four strokes]] and LightIsNotGood.
** The kanji for moon actually has lots of interesting name readings, such as ''Aporo'' ("Apollo"), ''Arute'' ("Arte"mis), ''Runa'' ("Luna"), and ''Mūn'' (not even creative there, that's just "Moon").
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan''. Heck, where to start? This kind of thing happens all the time, with clues and "dying messages" occasionally being misinterpreted when first encountered, or that these need to be read a different way to be fully understood, which is often intentional on the victims' (or even killers') part to keep others from figuring it out before hand. Not to mention that they usually have 2-3 puns per episode.
** In ''Moonlight Sonata'', [[spoiler:Seiji Asai [[HarmlessLadyDisguise lived as a female doctor]]]] on the Tsukukage Island for two years and when Conan [[PullTheThread pulled the thread]], [[spoiler:[[UnsettlingGenderReveal locals were surprised about his actual gender.]]]] How could [[spoiler:he]] pull that out? First, [[DudeLooksLikeALady the looks]], and second, [[spoiler:he]] didn't even need to change the papers but merely changed how the name 成実 is pronounced-- [[spoiler: he switched from the masculine ''on-yomi'' reading ''Seiji'' to the feminine ''kun-yomi'' reading ''Narumi''.]]
** There was a case when a Sonoko and Ran asked the name of a TV producer in person, the answer was the kana for ''Hozumi''-- that was because his actual surname was 八月一日, which is usually understood as "First of August" and would be hard to understand the reading that led to his naming.[[note]]''Hozumi'' is literally "picking ears of grain"-- and the said date, commonly considered as the beginning of the harvesting season, is sometime remembered as the day ''when ears of grain are picked''.[[/note]]
** When Shiho Miyano re-invented herself [[MeaningfulRename as Ai Haibara]] (sorta), she chose an alternate kanji for "Ai" that means "sorrow" instead of "love".
* Played with in ''Manga/DragonBall'' when the [[CombatCommentator Tenkaichi Budokai announcer]] mispronounced Son Goku's name as "Mago Gosora" the first time he reads it. At the next tournament, he misreads Chaozu's name as "Gyoza".
* In ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' the kanji for "kuso" (shit) has "fakkin (fucking)" as its furigana. Also, when Sena sees Taro Raimon's name on the roster for the baseball team (as "Raimon Taro"), he misreads it as "Kaminari Montaro", leading to his being nicknamed "Monta"[[note]]to keep from ticking him off, Hiruma covers it up by claiming it comes from Joe Montana[[/note]].
** Another example has [[DumbMuscle Natsuhiko]] [[TheLancer Taki]] develop a special move with a kanji name, accompanied by [[LampshadeHanging "clearly impossible furigana"]].
* The title kanji for ''Manga/FullMoonOSagashite'', 満月, are pronounced as their English meaning "furu muun". While referring to Mitsuki's alter-ego, the same kanji are read as her first name and as "mangetsu", the term for a full moon.
* In the ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' manga, the kanji 強敵 (normally read as ''kyouteki'' or "fierce adversary") is given the reading ''tomo'' (とも), which the Japanese word for "friend", which serves to indicate that not all of Kenshiro's adversaries aren't bitter enemies, but more like equal rivals.
* In ''Manga/GAGeijutsukaArtDesignClass'', Miyabi Oomichi's name is pronounced "Masa" by Namiko. Additionally, when Tomokane is looking at the schedule for the next class, she reads "sobyou" (sketching) as "suneko". They soon discover Kisaragi spacing out, which Noda correctly guesses was the result of her imagining "suneko", interpreted as "fresh cat" or "raw cat". And thus begins the drawing of Suneko the cat... especially in Kisaragi's croquis book.
* This seems to be becoming a {{running gag}} in ''Manga/{{Gate 7}}'' where Takamoto is concerned. Many names of places, organizations, are pronounced like already-familiar Japanese terms, but are spelled with completely different kanji (this is done by using alternate readings of said kanji). The comedy is that Takamoto keeps assuming that everyone is using the usual kanji for the pronunciation (even when it might imply something crude or dirty)--{{hilarity ensues}}.
* In ''Manga/GetBackers'', [[EmotionlessGirl The Professor]] mentions "time," foreshadowing the last arc, "Get Back the Lost Time". It was written with the kanji "engraved," with the "time" reading over it, meaning time that is engraved or fate. Both the English and French translations went with "time".
* When Gohda gives Aramaki his business card in ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex 2nd Gig'', he emphasizes that his given name (一人) is pronounced "Kazundo" and not "Hitori" as Aramaki initially assumes. (Regardless of pronunciation, his name means [[ArcWords "individual"]].)
* In the original ''Anime/{{Grenadier}}'' manga, furigana are used constantly to give foreigh pronunciations to given sets of kanji, despite the fact that this is ([[AfterTheEnd supposedly]]) set during the Japanese sengoku period.
* A central plot element in ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'', coinciding with [[MeaningfulName Meaningful]] LineOfSightName.
* The title of the ''VideoGame/HarukanaruTokiNoNakaDe'' franchise[[note]]roughly meaning "Within the expanse of distant time"[[/note]] has the word "time" (''toki'', normally written as 時) rendered with two kanji that mean "time-''space''" (時空, normally read ''jikuu''). This is because the plot ''Haruka'' is based around isn't strictly a TimeTravel, but rather a TrappedInAnotherWorld scenario, where "another world" happens to resemble [[JidaiGeki Heian-kyou]][[note]]It isn't clear whether there's actually any time shift or not, since the world [[YearInsideHourOutside appears to have an independent timeline]][[/note]], and explicit mention is made about "crossing time and space." The same trick with ''toki'' is occasionally used in the songs, though naturally you'll only realise it when you ''read'' the lyrics.
* ''Anime/HimeChenOtogiChikkuIdolLilpri'': Natsuki's name is written with kanji that is usually read as meigetsu (harvest moon), a reference to her {{Fairytale Motif|s}} Kaguya-hime.
* In episode 15 of ''Anime/TheIdolmaster'', Yayoi mispronounces 行楽日和 (ideal weather for an outing), normally pronounced "kouraku biyori", as "gyouraku biwa", and 山間部 (mountainous region), normally pronounced "sankanbu", as "yamamabe". Iori has to correct her - during a live broadcast, no less.
* In ''Manga/IrisZero'': the MagicalEyes are pronounced “Iris”, somebody without them “Iris Zero”, but the kanji used mean “pupil”[[note]]the hole in the iris[[/note]] and, roughly, “incomplete person” or “somebody that is missing something”.[[note]]瞳 (hitomi) and 欠落者 (ketsurakusha)[[/note]]
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'': Hermit's name is written as "haamitto" when written with katakana. When written with kanji characters, it's "inja" (which, of course, means "hermit"), but the furigana for these kanji is still "haamitto" in katakana.
* ''Manga/ZatchBell'' plays with this from time to time. One episode had part of the title translating roughly to "Searching for the Light", but the kanji given for light was actually the word "shouki" which means "way to victory", with "hikari" (light) given in the furigana.
* ''Manga/LivingGame'' has [[http://www.onemanga.com/Living_Game/3/07/ Hiyama Izumi]], a young girl (around high school age) whose given name is written with kanji that can be read as Ikkaku, apparently a [[http://www.onemanga.com/Living_Game/3/05/ male-sounding name]].
* In the ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' manga, the spells are written in kanji, with the Latin pronunciation in furigana. The anime replicates this by usually having the characters say the Japanese reading while the foreign pronunciation is said simultaneously in an echoey and quieter back track.
** The title which Negi is after is usually written with the kanji "great magic-user", but given the gloss "Magister Magi". The pronoun variant of the trope has also happened in the manga.
* ''Manga/MajinTanteiNougamiNeuro'' does this an awful lot; for one, we've got episode names. They're all one kanji long, but have interesting readings--for example, the kanji for "hair" is read as "a long friend." There are also a few character names; for example, "X" being read as "Sai."
* ''Manga/{{Minami-ke}}'' uses Kana's misreading of the kanji for "underworld" as a harmless place name for a quick gag.
* [[Franchise/{{Nasuverse}} Kinoko Nasu]] loves this. Almost every single term in his stories is written with kanji and furigana to give a double meaning to every single thing. This even applies to the ending songs for the anime adaptation of ''Literature/{{Kara no Kyoukai}}'', where non-standard kanji are given for lyrics in the liner notes.
** Special mention to the ''[[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Fate]]'' series, where all Assassins have a Noble Phantasm named Zabaniya. However, they all have different effects and different kanji spellings.
* Something of an important plot point in ''Anime/MazeMegaburstSpace'' regarding how the title character got [[GenderBender his/her]] name. [[spoiler:Mei's brother Akira has a name that with an AlternateCharacterReading can also be read as 'mei' Thus the two get the nickname Meis which after their FusionDance morphs into Maze.]]
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has the, uh, structure that gives Angels unlimited power, which due to the kanji used can be translated either as "S2 Engine" or "S2 Organ." The ambiguity helps to ramp up the Angels' [[EldritchAbomination weirdness levels.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece'' makes frequent use of this for the sake of puns. Also, since Oda often uses uses multiple languages in characters' attack names, we'll often see the kanji for the attacks' meaning with katakana giving the foreign pronunciation.
* In ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'', Kintarou calls Echizen "Koshimae" as that is the alternative reading for Echizen. [[RunningGag Echizen always gets annoyed and ends up correcting him.]]
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** The ''Manga/SailorMoon'' manga was fond of this. Attack names would often be given in kanji but the furigana would be English words written in katakana.
** Minako is a common name, but the kanji can be read as bi-na-su, similar to Venus.
** This is played in the [[Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon live-action series]] as well. In an early episode, Usagi finds a card dropped by Mamoru Chiba and reads his name as "Ei Chijo" (she was reading the alternate pronounciation of each kanji). As we know, she only got the "Chi" right.
** A common trait across adaptations is that Usagi is awful when it comes to kanji, whether reading or writing it. In [[http://wikimoon.org/images/ep127.jpg episode 127]] of the [[Anime/SailorMoon first anime]] written by her ''future self aka Neo Queen Serenity.'' Since the puns were obviously hard to translate, dubs tend to say that the letter has grammar/writing mistakes and/or bad handwriting.
* ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' relies on alternate readings for many of its [[MeaningfulName name puns.]] The title character's family suffers to a great extent of what happens when the characters for their surname are combined into a single character.
** In "The Cat That Was Told a Million Times", one of the people he sympathizes with after his own name is made fun of is named Mitarai, which is written 御手洗, or the same as "toilet".
* ''Manga/MyBrideIsAMermaid'' uses this a lot, most notably accompanying the recurring quote "Written as Mermaid (Ningyo)... Read as Chivalry (Ninkyo)!"
* ''Manga/ShamanKing'': [[{{Miko}} Anna]]'s family name "Kyoyama" is an alternative reading of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Osore Mt. Osore]], where the festival of spirit mediums is held.
* ''Manga/HeavensLostProperty'' uses this tactic in its episode titles. A good example is episode two, which has the kanji for "rainbow-colored underwear" ([[ItMakesSenseInContext it makes more sense in the episode]]) read as "romance".
* The ''Manga/{{Spiral}}'' manga plays with this and GratuitousEnglish, but only with characters who actually grew up in England, so it makes sense for them to speak English to each other. Eyes once calls Kanone "brother", using the Japanese kanji with furigana of the English pronunciation; and in the sequel ''Spiral Alive'', Kanone says "Are you ready?" in English print with furigana giving the pronunciation, but not translating the meaning.
* In ''Anime/SpiritedAway'', Yubaba changes Chihiro's name to "Sen" by taking its first kanji character (千) and changing its reading from the archaic ''kun'yomi'' "chi" to the common ''on'yomi'' "sen," thus emphasizing its numerical meaning of "thousand."
* Early in ''VideoGame/TalesOfHearts'', "kokoro" (heart) is identified once with furigana for "Spiria". Not to change the pronunciation of the kanji, as it's pronounced normally throughout the game otherwise, but to equate the two concepts. As a better example, the two planets (Serurando/Kuootia) and their races (Serureido/Kuooto) are written with the kanji for "simple world/people" and "crystal world/people".
* Played in the opposite way by Creator/OsamuTezuka's ReusedCharacterDesign. When his famous characters appeared in different works, he would often use names that were phoenetically identical to their previous incarnations, but using completely different kanji.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''
** Index and its spinoff series ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'' have alternate readings in their titles themselves--kanji that would normally be read "kinshomokuroku" and "choudenjihou" are given the pronunciations "index" and "railgun," respectively. This applies to many of ''Index'''s episode titles as well; for example, one episode has "Witch-Hunting King" in kanji and "Innocentius" in katakana.
** Accelerator's name is written "一方通行" ("One-way Street") in the series. He gets this nickname because there's pretty much [[CurbStompBattle only one way a fight with him is going to end up]]. Accelerator himself even makes a pun out of it in one of his fights:
--->'''Accelerator''': Sorry, but from here on out it's a "one-way street"! You cannot advance, so just curl up and cower back in your nest!
* ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'': The monk 錯乱坊 insists his name be pronounced "Cherry", rather than "Sakuranbou" (the kanji literally read as "deranged monk", but is a homonym for cherry).
* In ''Manga/{{Working}}'', Souta's last name is pronounced Takanashi (which can mean "no hawks"), but is written with the kanji for "little birds playing" (小鳥遊).
* ''Manga/{{xxxHolic}}'': [[CloningBlues Watanuki]]'s name is based on an alternate reading of April 1. [[note]]The term "April 1" in Japanese referred to the first day of the fourth ''Chinese'' month, which would be in May in the Georgian calendar--perfect time to change to thinner clothing. Watanuki is literally 綿抜き--"pulling out cotton (filling from the coats)." Hence the reading.[[/note]]
* In ''Manga/HaouAiren'', Kurumi Akino is renamed as Qiuye Laishi, which is simply the Chinese reading of the ''kanjis'' that form her name.
* In ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato2199'', Akira Yamamoto's given name can also be read "Rei." She says, "Call me Rei, everyone else does," when one character misreads it. Any [[ReiAyanamiExpy resemblance to the Evangelion character]] is of course entirely coincidental.
* In ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'', the narrator is known as Kyon, which is a nickname his aunt gave him. Apparently it's based on an obscure reading of his real name, [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname but we never get any detail on that]].
* In ''Anime/BlackRockShooter'', Mato reads Yomi's last name Takanashi (no hawks) as kotori-asobi (little birds playing) before Yomi corrects her.
* In ''LightNovel/IsThisAZombie'', Orito reads Yuki Yoshida's name as Tomonori. No matter how many times she corrects him, [[AccidentalMisnaming he continues to call her that]].
* Used to amusing effect in Creator/KatsuhiroOtomo's samurai manga ''Good Weather''. When a group of bandits run into a bum and his young son on the road, the bum mentions he used to work as a translator for the Kougi clan, causing the bandits to run off in terror thinking the man and his son are actually LoneWolfAndCub.[[note]]The Japanese word "kaishakunin" can mean either "interpreter" or "executioner", specifically a volunteer, usually a friend, who chops off a samurai's head after he commits {{seppuku}}, depending on what characters it's written with.[[/note]]


[[folder: Literature]]
* Furigana are used in the Japanese translation of ''Literature/HarryPotter'' in order to adapt the English puns, according to [[http://www.cjvlang.com/Hpotter/ this site]].
* Kamikishiro from "Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh" likes to do this with people's names and calls Touka "Fuji."

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DaiMajinKanon'' used this as part of its IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming so that, while every episode title had a different meaning, all were read as "Kanon."
* In ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'', [[Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger Sosuke (Go-On Red)]] refers to [[SixthRanger Gai (Gokai Silver)]] as "Yoroi", which reveals the StealthPun behind his name[[note]]His first name means armor, and his surname "Ikari" means anchor; Gai's SuperMode is a suit of armor formed from an anchor-shaped TransformationTrinket[[/note]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Courtesy of a major Japanese life insurer, the second most popular boy's name in 2014, as written, was 大翔. However, they also noted different parents gave the same name different pronunciations, including Hiroto, Haruto, Yamato, Tiga (Tiger)[[note]]This is a WorldCup2010 reference.[[/note]], Sora[[note]]"Sky." The kanji means "great flight"--note the creativity Japanese apply in this.[[/note]], Taito, Daito, and Masato. [[http://www.meijiyasuda.co.jp/enjoy/ranking/read_best10/index.html See here]].
** Also because of this trope, the [[http://www.meijiyasuda.co.jp/enjoy/ranking/ entire survey results]] has to be broken into "top names as written" and "top names as pronounced," and further broken down into "top names as written--how are they pronounced" and "top names as pronounced--how are they written"...
** In fact, some kanji have multiple on'yomi (Chinese-borrowed) pronunciations, since the same character was borrowed from Chinese multiple times, hundreds of years apart. While this is a headache for anybody learning Japanese, it's extremely helpful for scholars of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Chinese Middle Chinese]], since a lot of its pronunciations are preserved in modern Japanese. [[Literature/JurassicPark Like a mosquito in amber, with dinosaur DNA inside its stomach]].
* There are a few characters that have multiple readings in Chinese itself. One example is 行, which has at least three different Mandarin pronunciations (xing2, hang2, xing4) depending on its meaning, at least four in Cantonese (hang4, haang4, hong4, hang6).
* Ancient Babylonian (along with its sister languages) had the same issue, since the Babylonians adopted Sumerian characters that could be given either a Sumerian pronunciation or a native Babylonian one.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Keine Kamishirasawa of the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' series. Her name can also be read as "Uwa-hakutaku", which is a pun of "were-hakutaku", which she is one of.
** A common joke for [[AnimeChineseGirl Hong Meiling]] is to read her name in Japanese as Kurenai Misuzu. That's when she's lucky. Usually, she's just [[FanNickname China]].
*** "China" itself was originally proposed as a [[TakeAThirdOption third option]] in an internet debate over which reading was correct.
** Reisen Udongein Inaba has spell cards which enforce this. Her spell cards have both a Kanji spelling, and a Katakana pronunciation given after the Kanji. These result in entirely different phrases. For example, her first spell can be read as either "Mind Shaker" or "Lunatic Red Eyes". Strangely, when you go to Hard and Lunatic mode, only the former changes its name. So in Lunatic mode, the same spell is called "Mind Blowing" or "Lunatic Red Eyes".
** The series associates [[{{Onmyoudo}} shikigami]] with computers. This tends to show up by having one term in kanji and the other in furigana. Sometimes related terms get the same treatment.
** Utsuho's nickname Okuu comes from the alternate reading of her first name (Kuu).
* The title of ''[[{{Gradius}} Salamander]]'' is written with ateji characters that can be interpreted as "sand gauze wide (or beautiful) snake." Likewise, the title for {{VideoGame/Contra}} is written the same way and can be interpreted as the less sensical "soul bucket net".
* This the reason protagonist Syouko of {{Aoishiro}} calls Kaya "Natsu" (or "Natchan"). The first character for Kaya's name is the ''kanji'' for 'summer,' which when used on its own is pronounced Natsu. It's mentioned in passing that Syouko's grandmother did something similar with the ''kanji'' for spring in her name.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in VideoGame/SyukushoGakuen. [[spoiler: The BigBad is named Miku, which is an alternate reading for ''mirai'' (future). She's a [[TimeTravel time traveller.]]]]
* The Japanese title of the game ''VideoGame/CherryTreeHighComedyClub'' is "manken" (漫研), which is short for "manzai kenkyuubu" (漫才研究部, rough translation: "comedy research club"). From the shortened title alone, some Japanese readers may see the kanji and think that it's short for "manga kenkyuubu" (漫画研究部, "manga research club"). One of the jokes has one of the characters do just that - when the protagonist Mairu ([[DubNameChange Miley in the English version of the game]]) mentions that she's trying to start a club for comics, one of her friends assumes she's talking about [[{{Manga}} "sit-down" comics]] and not [[RecordedAndStandUpComedy "stand-up" comics]].
* The Japanese title of Creator/DataEast's ''Psycho-Nics Oscar'' is written with kanji characters that might ordinarily be read ''seishimpeiki'', but for furigana that gloss them as ''saikonikku''.
* Don Corneo's mansion in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has several ateji spellings of his name plastered on the walls, which directly translates to "old remaining root house".
* The Famicom game ''Flying Hero'' writes the title's second word conventionally in katakana, but writes its first word as the kanji/rōmaji hybrid "飛ing."
* The ''Manga/MiracleGirls'' LicensedGame for the SuperFamicom has a subtitle in which for "Fushigi Sekai no Daibōken" has furigana indicating the GratuitousEnglish reading "Miracle World Adventure."

[[folder: Visual Novels]]
* Cases 2-1 and 3-5 in the ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' games used this as a plot device, the former because the criminal used the wrong kanji combination for the defendant's surname (defendant has a non-standard combo, criminal incorrectly assumed the standard one) and the latter because an eight-year old misinterpreted Kanji written instructions. These were changed to spelling problems in the English version.
** As part of {{Woolseyism}}, the localization team for ''AceAttorneyInvestigations'', when translating the names of people from the fictional country of Zheng Fa, simply gave them Chinese versions of what their Japanese names translated to.
* In ''VisualNovel/TokimekiMemorial Girl's Side 2'', Mizushima Hisoka's given name is written with the character for "secret" (himitsu). Having the player character call her "Himitsu-chan" gets a displeased reaction.
* In ''YoJinBo'', Bo's nickname is based on an alternate reading of his proper name, Tainojo. He says in his introduction that the alternate reading annoys him, but never has any trouble with anyone else calling him "Bo", and in fact in a later conversation with him, he even tells you it's okay to continue calling him such.
* In ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'', Tohri Nishikikouji gets very annoyed with the heroine constantly forgetting and calling him Toshiki Watashouji.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'': Used to horrifying effect; the town's annual Watanagashi Festival (translated normally as "Cotton Drifting") has an alternate reading; "Wata" (Cotton) also means [[spoiler:"Entrails". Yes, someone in the story has noticed this. And yes, we get to see the bloody results.]]
* All of the Ushiromiya family's given names in ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' (not counting the spouses) have Western names written in Kanji. There are two variations on this. The first is picking meaningful kanji and then using its direct translation as its spoken form. Exmaple of that would be "戦人" which becomes Battler (Batorā) rather than a Japanese reading such as Sento, which is lampshaded in the [[LongestPrologueEver airport scene]] in the sound novel for EP 1. The second variation would be picking a desired Western name, and then finding whatever suitable kanji that fits the pronunciation. Example would be Jessica.
* In ''VisualNovel/AkatsukiNoGoei'' Kaito calls Tominori "Son" because Tominori could be read as Songoku instead, which is how Kaito misread it before he educated himself. The name has stuck.

[[folder: Miscellaneous]]
* One of the logic puzzles published by Nikoli (the same company that popularized Sudoku) is known as ''Masyu'' ("evil influence"). This originated from a misreading of the characters 真珠 (''shinju'', "pearls"), referring to what the circular symbols in the grid resemble.
* A joke in Chinese has somebody whose name is 珠月坡 (Zhu Yuepo) gets called 猪肚皮 (pig's belly skin) instead. The words 珠 and 猪 are pronounced the same, and 月坡 and 肚皮 are written with the same strokes, but with the left part of 坡 moved onto 肚.