Why Is Raftel Called Laugh Tale in One Piece? Is It a Mispronunciation?

The world of One Piece features a massive spread of interesting characters and strange, mysterious islands – but, since the original source material is based in Japanese, quite a lot of the names can get lost in translation. Raftel island is shrouded with secrecy as is, but many fans are left wondering why Raftel is called “Laugh Tale” in more recent One Piece releases, questioning if it’s just due to mispronunciation or perhaps something more meaningful.

Oda wanted to change “Raftel” to “Laugh Tale” for a while but settled on One Piece: Stampede for the reveal. Apparently, when translated from Japanese, the words “Raftel” and “Laugh Tale” are both spelled as “ラフテル” and pronounced “ra-fu-te-ru”, making them similar considering Japanese short ”u”s are often ignored and the “R’s”/” L’s” can be interchangeable.

While Raftel and Laugh Tale are the same island, fans have begun wondering why there was such a sudden name change out of absolutely nowhere. Stick around to find out about Raftel island in One Piece, as well as why the creators have begun calling this location Laugh Tale instead.

Raftel Island

There are countless crazy One Piece theories that fans have pieced together over the years, and a few of them revolve around Raftel island, later known as Laugh Tale. Some fans believe that Raftel island could be home to the One Piece treasure, while others believe it holds secrets concerning the Ancient Kingdom, The Void Century, the Ancient Weapons, and much more – in addition to the One Piece treasure’s location.

Apparently, the island was initially discovered by Gol D. Roger and his crew, where they uncovered plenty of secrets about the One Piece as well as the One Piece universe’s true history as well. But, no one else in the One Piece universe has managed to find Raftel island – the main reason why many One Piece fans believe the final arc will take place at Raftel.

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There are, however, a handful of Poneglyphs with strange ancient texts in various locations, possibly pointing to Raftel island’s location when pieced together. Either way, Raftel is undeniably important for the entire One Piece storyline.

Why is Raftel Called Laugh Tale in One Piece?

One Piece: Stampede was a pretty successful box office hit for the already incredibly successful One Piece franchise, created in honor of the One Piece anime series’ 20th anniversary. But, the film also came with something fans didn’t quite expect – a name change for one of the story’s most notable locations.

Raftel island was featured under the name “Laugh Tale” in the movie, an English name drastically different from the name everyone had grown familiar with. The name change sparked numerous debates and theories amongst One Piece fans.

Japanese Translation: Is it a Mispronunciation?

Many One Piece fans jumped to the conclusion that the name change was primarily down to the switch from Japanese to English, or similar to “Gold Roger” and “Gol D. Roger”. However, this was not a mispronunciation at all, since the One Piece creators intended to make this switch – it was not a misperception on fans’ parts.

Is “Laugh Tale” Canon?

Many fans questioned if Laugh tale was a non-canonical spin-ff, but the One Piece Media Editor Takuma Naito actually shared the reason behind the name change in an interview with Oricon News. In addition to confirming that the name “Laugh Tale” was completely canon, the editor also stated that they had known about the name and its meaning long before the change occurred, and explained why this change made its debut in the movie rather than at a later point in the One Piece anime series.

“Raftel” vs. “Laugh Tale” Meaning

Apparently, the decision to change the name from Raftel to Laugh Tale actually came from none other than Eiichiro Oda himself, and this name was one he wanted to reveal at some point in the storyline – finally settling on One Piece: Stampede. But, there seems to be a deeper meaning to the name than fans might have expected.

There is quite an odd bridge between Japanese and English, detailed in a post by an avid One Piece fan on Reddit. This fan explains how the translation can differ drastically without considering pronunciation, and it may very well link to the “deeper meaning” that Oda implied – or, perhaps provide meaning rather than change the meaning.

“It is a “reveal of translation”, which is a kind of plot development. As a result, “ラフテル” must have two forms in story. One is English “Laugh Tale” while another one is an ambiguous term written in other language like ラフテル (which has pronunciation only but no literal meaning).”

Another fan on the same thread pointed out that the switch in names has little to no technical difference, depending on how you view it.

“ラフテル is rafuteru and considering Japanese short ”u”s are often more or less ignored and the Rs and Ls and interchangable, Raftel is as good a translation as any.”

Highlighting One Piece Lore in the Anime, Manga, and Movies

While the exact motive for changing the island’s name hasn’t been made clear outright, it’s said that Laugh Tale’s name and involvement in the movie was a way for Oda to go against the grain. Changing up Raftel and revealing its name to be Laugh Tale made the film stand out, and bridged the gap between important or new canon details only making debuts in the manga and anime formats – simply to be enhanced by the One Piece movies.

The change to Laugh Tale was supported in the One Piece manga’s chapter 967, as seen below thanks to a fan on Quora. Characters within the One Piece storyline seem to be continuing with the change, although not all formats and versions are the same in this regard.

After the release of One Piece: Stampede, the name Laugh Tale was adopted by other platforms such as the dub on Funimation, as opposed to the name Raftel previously used for both official and unofficial translations. However, some subbed One Piece anime episodes appear to have kept the name Raftel out of choice.

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The reason behind Raftel island being called Laugh Tale may have seemed incredibly mysterious at first, especially concerning the potential truth behind Raftel island as well. While there are plenty of unanswered questions surrounding this location, Raftel being called Laugh Tale seems to have only occurred as a result of translated meanings between Japanese and English – in addition to a few side motives from the One Piece creators.

  • Jeijei is an eccentric oddball obsessed with anime, sci-fi, and fantasy. She spends her free time enjoying movies and video games, especially MMOs & RPGs, whether it be PC, console, or mobile.