From the archive
Q: In the American dub of “the Secret World of Arrietty” the barrowers refer to the humans as “beans” shortened from “Human Being”. Was similar wordplay used in the original Japanese? What was lost in translation?
Best Answer—Chosen by Asker
No, humans were just referred to as 人間 ningen (human(s)). Here’s the official site of the movie in Japanese: http://www.karigurashi.jp/index.html which says: 人間に見られてはいけない。“Ningen ni mirarete wa ikenai.” (We must not be seen by humans.)
The term for “borrowing” was 借り kari, which was a pun of 狩り kari (hunting). These two terms are pronounced the same but are accentuated differently. And the term 借り is actually part of the Japanese title 借りぐらしのアリエッティ Kari-gurashi no Arietti (lit. “Borrowing-Living Arrietty”).