Tired of spamming 4chan’s /r/ board with fruitless image source queries? HD shows you how to mine the nigh-limitless resource that is the Japanese otaku collective brain trust in this first installment of what will hopefully become a regular site feature: Shingo Answers Questions To Which He Believes People Might Not Know The Answers And To Which Said Answers Might Prove Useful.

We call it: the FAQ.

The Quest for the Source, Initial Preparation

The fundamental key to sourcing images in Japanese lies in a single phrase: 詳細希望, or shousai kibou. This translates as “details requested”, and will be used in two key areas of your search. I recommend copy/pasting those kanji somewhere safe, as you’ll be needing them soon.

The Quest for the Source, Step 1

Find a Japanese BBS devoted to sourcing images. As of this post’s publication the currently prevalent board can be found (NWS) here, and will be used as the basis for the rest of this tutorial; however, for future-proofness a good way to find the best board is to Google the “shousai kibou” kanji and investigate the first few hits.

The Quest for the Source, Step 2

Look at this image:

shousai kibou image sourcing

This explains the various fields of the (NWS) currently prevalent image source board, and should be familiar to those who have navigated the various *chans. Most boards use basic variations on the theme, so if this particular board goes down the reference should still generally apply.

The Quest for the Source, Step 3

Upload the image you want information on, after scanning the board backlog to make sure it wasn’t posted and sourced recently. This should be fairly straightforward; if it doesn’t work, try resizing the image to below the board’s maximum upload capacity.

The Quest for the Source, Step 4

Request information. This is done by pasting a version of 詳細希望 in the comment text field. You can use a bare “shousai kibou”, but as that comes across as a bit clinical it might be best to use 詳細お願いします (shousai onegaishimasu, or “details please”) instead.

The Quest for the Source, Step 5

Hit the submit button, and wait. It’s not considered polite to bump (age) your post until it’s dropped down several pages on this fast-moving board, so for best results it might be best to check back every few hours instead of constantly refreshing. If your query drops off the board without an adequate reply, it’s perfectly fine to post it again – posting before your query is saged off the board completely is frowned upon, however.

Occasionally other people will bump your post if they’re curious about the source as well, often using some variation of age (raise) or 支援 shien (support). “Age” and “shien” should not be confused with replies containing the image source.

The Quest for the Source, Step 6

Parse all non-age and non-shien replies. For this step, JDIC is your friend; the “translate words in Japanese text” option should give you a rough idea whether the reply contains a full source, a partial source, or some other content.

When you find a bit of Japanese text that seems like a likely candidate for the source, experiment by copy-pasting various parts of it into Google. Some knowledge of Japanese makes this process much smoother (the ability to distinguish names from extraneous text), but with some patience, trial and error will yield the desired result.

The Quest for the Source, Step 7

Once you’ve determined the source, express gratitude to the poster. This can be done by pasting 詳細ありがとうございました! (“thanks for the details!”) or something similar into a reply; for the greatest possible decorum you can enter “sage” into the e-mail field as well so your reply doesn’t bump the post.

Tip: Before posting on a message board it’s always best to get the lay of the land. See how other successful source requests have gone down, look at the language and syntax other people are using, and get a feel for the flow of the board in general. This will allow you to adapt your own posting strategy to what seems to be the most effective and result-yielding for a given board. Good luck, and happy hunting!