Attempting to Solve Umineko Witch’s Epitaph

The following is my attempt at solving the Witch’s Epitaph from Umineko no Naku Koro ni. I have not completely solved it yet, so this post will be updated irregularly when something new comes across my mind.

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、頭を抉りて殺せ。
第五の晩に、胸を抉りて殺せ。
第六の晩に、腹を抉りて殺せ。
第七の晩に、膝を抉りて殺せ。
第八の晩に、足を抉りて殺せ。
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。

Natsukashiki, kokyou o tsuranuku ayu no kawa.
Ougonkyou o mezasu mono yo, kore o orite kagi o sagase.

Kawa o kudareba, yagate sato ari.
Sono sato nite futari ga kuchi ni shi kishi o sagure.
Soko ni Ougonkyou e no kagi ga nemuru.

Kagi o te ni seshi mono wa, ika o shitagaite Ougonkyou e tabidatsu beshi.

Daiichi no ban ni, kagi no erabishi rokunin o ikenie ni sasage yo.
Daini no ban ni, nokosareshi mono wa yorisou futari o hikisake.
Daisan no ban ni, nokosareshi mono wa homaretakaki waga na o tatae yo.
Daishi no ban ni, atama o egurite korose.
Daigo no ban ni, mune o egurite korose.
Dairoku no ban ni, hara o egurite korose.
Dainana no ban ni, hiza o egurite korose.
Daihachi no ban ni, ashi o egurite korose.
Daikyuu no ban ni, majo wa yomigaeri, dare mo ikinokore wa shinai.
Daijuu no ban ni, tabi wa owari, Ougon no Sato ni itaru darou.

Majo wa kenja o tatae, yottsu no takara o sazukeru darou.
Hitotsu wa, Ougonkyou no subete no ougon.
Hitotsu wa, subete no shisha no tamashii o yomigaerase.
Hitotsu wa, ushinatta ai sura mo yomigaeraseru.
Hitotsu wa, majo o eien ni nemuri ni tsukaseyou.

Yasuraka ni nemure, waga saiai no majo Beatoriiche.

The river of sweetfish, running through my nostalgic hometown.
Oh, those who aim for the Golden Land, descend this and search for the key.

When you go down the river, there shall be a village before long.
In that village, search for the shore the two people speak of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

For those who gain the key, you shall obey the following and set off for the Golden Land.

On the first night, sacrifice the six people chosen by the key as tributes.
On the second night, the remaining ones shall tear apart the two people close together.
On the third night, the remaining ones shall praise my highly honorable 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 abdomen 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 revives, and no one survives.
On the tenth night, the journey ends, and you would reach the Land of Gold.

The witch praises the wise, and would bestow four treasures.
One, all of the gold in the Golden Land.
One, the souls of all of the dead are revived.
One, even lost love is revived.
One, let us make the witch sleep for eternity.

Rest in peace, my dearest witch, Beatrice.

懐かしき、故郷を貫く鮎の川。
The river of sweetfish, running through my nostalgic hometown.
River of sweetfish (鮎の川) carries the double meaning of bountifulness.
So the bountiful family of Ushiromiya, coming from Kinzo.

黄金郷を目指す者よ、これを下りて鍵を探せ。
Oh, those who aim for the Golden Land, descend this and search for the key.
Follow down the family tree to look for the key.

川を下れば、やがて里あり。
When you go down the river, there shall be a village before long.
Going down the family, the character for village (里) appears in Maria’s name (真里亞).

その里にて二人が口にし岸を探れ。
In that village, search for the shore the two people speak of.
The Japanese for in (にて) can also be translated as by or with.
The phrase for speak of (口にし) can also mean eat.
In Japanese, shore (岸) is pronounced as ‘kishi’, which is a homonym for knight (騎士).
The rewritten line becomes,
By the village, the two people eat, search for the knight.
Moving away from the family tree chart and looking at everyone’s designated seat at the dinner table now. The two people who sit and eat next to Maria are George (穣治) and Hideyoshi (秀吉), who are the only people with the character for mouth (口) as in speak of (口にし) in their names.
Redrawing the dining table as a chessboard, with Maria as the Black King since she has a crown, her knight would be located at Eva and Nanjo’s seats.

そこに黄金郷への鍵が眠る。
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.
…And this is where I’m stuck. I can’t see how ‘Eva’ and ‘Nanjo’ jump right to ‘the key’, so I think I might have gone terribly wrong at some point. Of course the theory falls apart if the Epitaph is written long before Maria’s anticipated birth, never amended for her, and refers to someone or something completely different.

Scratch that, new theory.

懐かしき、故郷を貫く鮎の川。
The river of sweetfish, running through my nostalgic hometown.
Some railway is the river.

黄金郷を目指す者よ、これを下りて鍵を探せ。
Oh, those who aim for the Golden Land, descend this and search for the key.
Go with the outbound direction of the railway.
此 是 之 惟 限 鈎

川を下れば、やがて里あり。
When you go down the river, there shall be a village before long.
Why あり not ある?
Possibilities for ‘里’:
– An actual village
– Train station name
– Interstate highways
– The very end (last stop) for a train
– Distance
悟 郷 聡 諭

その里にて二人が口にし岸を探れ。
In that village, search for the shore the two people speak of.
Why 探れ instead of 探せ?
Could be by the village. Maybe wordplay involving people radicals or mouths in characters.
Or, the two people are actually train compartments.
Possibilities for ‘岸’
– An actual shore
– Some structure near the 里
– Dissecting it into 山, 厂, 干
– Bank
“Two people’s mouths can eat what one person’s mouth can’t.”
園 苑 其 両人 二口

そこに黄金郷への鍵が眠る。
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.
Reading the shore in romaji or hiragana.

第一の晩に、鍵の選びし六人を生贄に捧げよ。
On the first night, sacrifice the six people chosen by the key as tributes.
第二の晩に、残されし者は寄り添う二人を引き裂け。
On the second night, the remaining ones shall tear apart the two people close together.
第三の晩に、残されし者は誉れ高き我が名を讃えよ。
On the third night, the remaining ones shall praise my highly honorable name.
第四の晩に、頭を抉りて殺せ。
On the fourth night, gouge the head and kill.
第五の晩に、胸を抉りて殺せ。
On the fifth night, gouge the chest and kill.
第六の晩に、腹を抉りて殺せ。
On the sixth night, gouge the abdomen and kill.
第七の晩に、膝を抉りて殺せ。
On the seventh night, gouge the knee and kill.
第八の晩に、足を抉りて殺せ。
On the eighth night, gouge the foot and kill.
第九の晩に、魔女は蘇り、誰も生き残れはしない。
On the ninth night, the witch revives, and no one survives.

第十の晩に、旅は終わり、黄金の郷に至るだろう。
On the tenth night, the journey ends, and you would reach the Land of Gold.
The tenth and final stop. Written as 黄金の郷 instead of 黄金郷.

Other pieces of information that I’ve gotten from playing episode 5 of the game are:
– It is not wrong to follow Eva’s reasoning from episode 3.
– The epitaph will definitely require an atlas for most people to solve.
– The answer to the first part of the epitaph contains less than 6 letters or characters.
– However, when that answer is reread with 6 letters or characters, it becomes the Key to the Golden Land.
– The second part of the epitaph may have to do with removing from text that contains 11 or 13 letters or characters.
– Each of the nights is a step of removing letters or characters from that series of at least 11 or 13.
– Ten nights, ten stops, going to the Land of Gold. This is important.
– The epitaph is solved once the eighth night/step in the process is reached.
– The gold is located on Rokkenjima, in a lavish room at the end of a long, long tunnel.

26 responses to “Attempting to Solve Umineko Witch’s Epitaph

  1. Oh, so they don’t show you how Eva solved the epitaph? And you have to figure it out for yourself? I thought they would at least show you how they solved it when Battler and Erika was hacking away at it…

    Anyways, that’s a really tricky epitaph. Uuu >.>

  2. aren’t there 2 knights in chess? so is there another person besides rosa?

    • Yeah, I thought about that. The other knight would be located at the seat to the left side of Nanjo, but the table ends at him, so there is no second knight.

  3. maybe it’s not the seats but the character chart in the game? lol nvm I’m totally clueless about this 😛

  4. ok, so I followed you up until you said Rosa was Maria’s knight. When I drew up the chessboard I got Nanjo as Maria’s knight. I think you have your “chessboard turned around” (pun intended). here’s my board:

          Eva     Rosa    George   Maria    Hideyoshi  Nanjo (top row)
    Kinzo (head)
          Krauss  Rudolf  Jessica  Battler  Natsuhi    Kyrie (bottom row)
    

    it says in the game looking at Kinzo’s chair on the left is Krauss. Please correct me if this is wrong. With this board there are 4 knights.

    • I’m definitely looking at the board the other way around because the king starts in the back row. The other six people on the other side of the table are the pawns.

      Hmm, maybe you’re right. I don’t remember who sits on what side. If it’s the reverse then Maria would have both Eva and Nanjo as her knights…

      I’m going to look into this. Thanks for the heads-up.

      • hmmm I see, I didn’t see the other row as pawns, i saw Battler as the other king because him believing in witches is the condition for checkmate as I understand.

        After thinking about “search for the knight” I realized Nanjo is actually sitting where Rosa’s husband would sit (were he present/alive). I dont know where he is, I just started reading Episode 4 so i dont know if he’s mentioned there or not.

    • Oh now THAT is interesting. What with Maria’s crown being in the style of the King piece on a chessboard…

  5. Japan was once called LAND OF GOLD for the GOLD WAS PLENTIFUL INSIDE ITS RIVERS

  6. This may be important not sure but

    KEY (鍵) can be also written as かぎ

  7. You are amazing!

    You are solving the way I solved.

    until 川を下れば、やがて里あり。part, you are totally correct.

    and now u need actual map 🙂 and u are done!!

    First line will take you to the place!!!

    and some error fixing for you
    ———————————————————–

    第二の晩に、残されし者は寄り添う二人を引き裂け。
    On the second night, the remaining ones shall tear apart the two people close together.

    has to be changed to

    第二の晩に、残されし者は寄り添う二人を引き裂け。
    On the second night, the remaining ones shall rive the two people close together.

    ———————————–

    我が最愛の魔女ベアトリーチェ。

    shouldnt be translated as ‘my dearest witch, Beatrice’ to solve.

    It should be “My beloved witch, Beatrice”

    ————————————

  8. Isn’t the answer clear already? I failed to figure it out, but still. I’ve tried solving the epitaph for a while now, but right now all I can think of is that it’s already solved and explained. Where does Eva find the hidden gold? And Rosa too. Where? Under the hidden mansion of Kuwadorian. In the fourth game, we are told through Ange’s flashbacks that the only survivor is Eva, who hided in the secret mansion which she didn’t know the location of. In the third game, she solves the epitaph, or should I say, confirms the answer to the epitaph by looking at a map in the library. We could speculate that she goes there and finds the gold under the hidden mansion, since, the gold was with the witch, so the gold is where the witch used to live. And you can’t move so much gold without nobody noticing, so the gold stayed under the hidden mansion.

    What do you think?

    • That’s not ‘solving’ it, per se. That’s just skipping ahead to the assumed answer. By ‘solving’, I mean understanding what each line of the epitaph means exactly. It’s like sending a computer to a repair shop and saying “There, I fixed it”… You’ll have a fixed computer in the end but you still don’t know how it was fixed.

      • Ah, I see. That makes sense. Just wanted you to keep that in mind.

      • One last thing though. The twillights are supposed to take place after you’ve found the “key”. My theory is that the “He who lays upon the key shall travel under the rules below”. That he in my opinion refers to Kinzo. They key is something connected to his family, or something like that.

        In the games, we see the twillights happening. Wouldn’t that mean that the key is already in the possession of somebody? Or perhaps everybody? They key to the golden light could be having 13 sacrifices, or something like that. Just a thought.

  9. since u know japanese and chinese characters

    http://momofukki.egloos.com/5152605

    visit here and there’s solved answer.

    its in korean but u will be able to understand easily

    • >since u know japanese and chinese characters
      >its in korean but u will be able to understand easily
      I suppose you should understand German and Italian easily, since you already know English?

      That 'Taiwan' explanation seems too awkward for Ryukishi to use. Knowing the nature of the characters, why would they want to have anything to do with Taiwan? And surely those stations weren't the same before the 1970's.

  10. Mmmm… I kinda think it’d be impossible to solve for anyone who doesn’t know Japanese. Even if we translated it to English, I think that we’d be utterly wrong no matter what if we don’t pick it apart from a japanese perspective…

  11. So I have a question about your transcription of the epitaph. For the fourth through eighth twilights, you use “抉” to spell `Gouge`, but in the VN I thought it’s spelled with the hiragana “えぐ”? This actually matters to my own theories about the Epitaph (linked under my username), because of the shape the kanji and kana make when written out… so if it’s really using the `gouge` kanji after all I’d really like to know…

  12. Atashi have you made any progress in solving it??

  13. oh nice. im korean so i understand this and it makes lots of sense

  14. Well, I have a theory:
    First, know that 00.00 is called withcing hour
    If you transelate directly form japanese to english you get beloved most witch, beatrice.
    Now, lets switch witch with 0, and then flipp the sentence around:
    Beatrice, 0 most beloved.
    Take the first letter in every word and you get: BOMB!

  15. Here’s my guess:
    The first twilight says that six should be chosen by the key. These six are japanese characters that should be removed from the epitaph. In order to find which ones we should read the first and second parts of the epitaph.

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

    Here we should guess which are the “beloved hometown” and the “sweetfish river”. Rosa states that the sweetfish part didn’t matter that much, but eva says that it was a excelent hint.
    Eva also states that Hideyoshi’s information about the sweetfish living in the sea helped her to solve the riddle, so let’s see which sea does the sweetfish live.

    From wikipedia: “Native to the Palearctic ecozone, it occurs in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters of western Hokkaidō in Japan southward to the Korean Peninsula, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.”
    If we look at any atlas we will find that there’s a single sea which shores with Western Hokkaido, Korean Peninsula and China: The sea of Japan, a sea that in ltself resembles to a river if you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_of_japan

    However how can we be sure that it’s referring to the sea?

    Here we have to remind that this isn’t Kinzo’s epitaph but “The Witch’s” signed by the name of Beatrice. So which is Beatrice’s beloved hometown?
    This can only be Rokkenjima, which is also, in some way, Kinzo’s beloved hometown. An island which is lying just off the coast of Japan.
    While it’s true that Rokkenjima doesn’t have rivers, if we think that Rokkenjima is an Island so small that doesn’t appear in the maps and that the sea is practically everywhere in the island, we can see how the sea can go ‘through’ it. So I think that the ‘sweetfish river’ being the sea of Japan makes sense.

    Then continue reading the epitaph:
    “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.”
    Following the river downstream, I think that means go where the sea ends. In which direction? To where it’s less closed to the ocean: South.
    There should be a village (里) I think that, based in that Eva saw the answer “before her very eyes” means that it’s some location with the character in it.Here I’ve done a little search to look which places had that character in the prefectures of Nagasaki, Saga, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Shimane and Tottori. Because these are the prefectures closer with that “river’s mouth”. In these prefectures I’ve only seen one city with village (里) on it: Imari (伊万里市) and it’s bay Imari wan (伊万里湾) of the prefecture of saga.
    Now going to the shore (岸) if you search through the wiki using ctrl+f you find that the character appears several times as Genkai sea (玄界灘沿岸). The sea where it’s situated Imari wan (伊万里湾).
    However there’s no way that makes 6 characters, so, following Eva’s reasoning, we have to read it in another way that uses 6 characters, however my 0% of japanese knowledge makes it an impossible thing for me to do.
    At this point the only thing that’s bugging me out is the part of “the two will tell you of”.

    Next step is the second twilight:
    “At the second twilight, the surviving shall tear apart the two who are close.”

    I think that this part is about something that I’ve heard that’s some kanji can be splitted to make a new kanji or two sepparate kanji. I think it’s something about this lines. My inexistant japanese knowledge strikes back here.

    And then in the third twilight
    “At the third twilight, the surviving shall praise my honorable name on high.”

    Let’s look here at the part of “praise my honorable name on high”. Can it be that in the same way that it’s possible to split kanji it’s also possible to combine them?
    If that’s so then I would bet that the kanji of “name” or “honorable name” should be put on ‘high’ which means that it should be put on the top of some other kanji. This way, and since Japanese can be read from up to down it could be possible to: a- create a new kanji or b- transform the meaning of these two kanji.

    After this point I’m clueless, I just remember that maybe kill means to erase the characters.

    I hope it helped.

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