Here's a Translation of the Full Short Story Behind Death Stranding's Opening Quote

Here's a Translation of the Full Short Story Behind Death Stranding's Opening Quote

Kotaku's Tim Rogers transcribed the whole of "Nawa" to English.

Death Stranding isn't out until next week, but the review embargo has dropped and discussion is already swirling around Hideo Kojima's newest project. One tidbit that's been known for a while is that it opens with a quote from Kōbō Abe's "Nawa," a short story that has ties to the themes of Death Stranding.

Kotaku's own Tim Rogers, in honor of the Death Stranding, published a translation of it to his Medium blog this morning. "Nawa," or "The Rope," is a work of short fiction from surrealist author Kōbō Abe, who's often drawn comparisons to writers like Franz Kafka, and it's not hard to see why.

It's also easy to see some of the ways this work would have influenced Kojima for Death Stranding: family dynamics, ropes, oceans, metaphors. Rogers notes that he keeps both the exact dot count for ellipses consistent with the original text ("I feel like some meaning sleeps there, within the quantity of dots. I dare not disturb it.") and the tense switching that happens throughout the story.

The relevant passage, which appears in Death Stranding's opening moments, is this:

"The Rope" and "The Stick," together, are one of humankind's oldest "tools." "The Stick" is for keeping evil away; "The Rope" is for pulling good toward us; these are the first friends the human race invented. Wherever you find humans, "The Rope" and "The Stick" also exist.

Death Stranding doesn't hit PlayStation 4 until next Friday, November 8, but you can read our review of it here. Kat has aptly dubbed it a PS2 game in spirit. It contains comprehensive cargo management, Troy Baker gnawing on every inch of scenery, ghosts, metaphors, and Conan O'Brien in an otter hat.

We'll have more to come on Death Stranding in the coming days, as it rolls out onto PS4 and PC next year.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

In other news

Hitman 3 and Control Are Coming to Switch Via the Cloud

Cloud gaming is rolling out on more Switches.

Kojima Productions Is Hiring For Its Next Project

Sounds like things are getting underway at Kojima's studio.

The Second Player Goose in Untitled Goose Game Has a New Honk

There are also some subtle visual ways to tell the two naughty geese apart.

Need help?

Metal Gear Survive Tips Guide - Crafting Guide, How to Unlock Weapons, How to Level Up

Here's all the info you need on how to master Metal Gear Survive, including how to level up, how to acquire better weapons, and all the base Metal Gear Survive tips you need to know.

Death Stranding, Explained: Breaking Down the Complex Relationships, Mysteries, and Ending of Hideo Kojima's Sprawling Epic

There's a lot to unpack in Kojima Productions' Death Stranding. That hasn't stopped us from having a crack at it.

Sekiro Tips - How to Beat Every Boss and Survive in Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

This is our complete beginner's guide to surviving Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, including a list of essential tips and tricks.