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More links that concern Shinatama in some way

TV Tropes mentions Shinatama as an example of the "Ridiculously Human Robot" trope, but actually counts it as a lampshade, to Oni's credit
On the Edo Era puppets (karakuri) -- English
This page seems to be saying that the translation of Shinatama is "magician", but this is meant less in the sense of "one who performs magic" and more in the sense of "one who hides things with a sleight of hand".
"Shinatama" is represented by 品玉, followed by 人形 for "doll" or "puppet". The breakdown of 品玉 is complicated, but 品 primarily means "goods, article, thing" and 玉 has many meanings, mostly centered around things of value such as "jade, bead, gem, jewel". The implication is probably that this is a doll who hides/reveals treasure.
For a much more strained translation, 玉 can also mean "pretty girl", making Shinatama a "pretty girl thing", an object that resembles a girl. --Iritscen (talk) 16:09, 1 August 2021 (CEST) -- Spanish
Video (with pronunciation of name)
Japanese video demonstrating karakuri reproductions on YouTube -- a shinatama is featured at 3:00.

geyser's $0.02

Paradox's URL edit piqued my attention. I am not yet ready for a big (re)contribution to the Shinatama page itself but, since I'm the one who started this eons ago (by promoting the "trickster puppet" translation/interpretation of shinatama 品玉, and the notion of "added value" in general), perhaps I should be the one to bring in some extra information (and perhaps work towards some kind of closure, who knows?).

shinatama 品玉 or, more commonly, shinadama 品玉 is one of the older (Edo-era?) Japanese terms for sleight-of-hand, i.e., deceptive magic tricks involving the manipulation of small-to-medium-sized objects. (Some of those tricks require specially engineered "magician's props", but often the only ingredients are misdirection and dexterity, a.k.a. "the hand is quicker than the eye".)
Another old term for this kind of magic seems to be tezuma 手妻, whereas the more modern term for sleight-of-hand is tejina 手品 (てじな), a simple combination of 手 (hand) and 品 (items/goods/wares).
The broader term kijutsu 奇術 refers to the general art of illusion and, like its English counterpart "illusionism", is usually reserved for larger-scale magic tricks. Finally, the even broader concept of "magic" (which encompasses not just illusionism but "actual" magic with spells, conjuring and such) is designated by either majutsu 魔術 or, more trivially, majikku マジック.
See here for a review of all these magical terms.
Apart from sleight-of-hand, "shinatama/shinadama" designates (or used to designate) the art of juggling. The modern Japanese term for juggling tends to be jaguringu ジャグリング, and the aforementioned tejina 手品 (てじな) is sometimes used to designate juggling rather than sleight-of-hand, too. "Shinadama", however, goes way back to the Edo era, when juggling was a popular form of street performance. Since tama/dama 玉 commonly means "ball", or "ball game" when used as a suffix, it is possible that the juggling connotations of "shinatama/shinadama" are the more fundamental ones (as in "doing with various objects as if they were balls"), whereas the sleight-of-hand meaning came slightly later, because of how both acts require a similar level of playful dexterity.
Trickster puppet
One of the Edo-era entertainment automata (karakuri puppets, or karakuri ningyō からくり人形) is called shinatama ningyō 品玉人形, with ningyō 人形 meaning "doll/puppet" and shinatama 品玉 designating the parlor tricks that the puppet is capable of (as opposed to the core "trick" of having an autonomously operating puppet – which is what "karakuri" itself refers to). In the case of shinatama ningyō, a typically seated puppet repeatedly lifts a large box off the ground or table, revealing different items each time.
Shina meaning "Chinese"
Although the core meaning of shina 品 is "objects/items/goods/wares", it is interesting to note that shina 支那 is also an old Japanese term for "Chinese", nowadays considered pejorative.
Of particular interest in this respect is the half-humorous, half-chauvinistic cartoon "Juggler of the Chinese ball" (Shinadama-tsukai or Shina tama-tsukai 支那玉遣ひ). A Japanese officer is simultaneously performing two acts: a balancing act with some military gear, and a juggling act with balls that are shaped as caricatural Chinese people. In line with the intended pun ("doing with the Chinese as if they were balls" – and only needing one hand, too!), the caption combines the ordinary term shinadama/shinatama 品玉, by replacing the ordinary/neutral shina 品 with the pejorative shina 支那.
Also interesting is how some descriptions of the shinatama ningyō 品玉人形 puppet specifically mention that the doll is wearing Chinese-style clothes (chūgoku kaze no fukusō 中国風の服装). There are no pejorative connotations in this case, and shina 支那 does not appear explicitly either, but possibly we are looking at a "running gag" in Japanese culture, where the shina 品 radical can act as a magnet for Chinese stereotypes, regardless of context.
Standalone meanings of 品 and 玉
As is often the case in Japanese/Chinese, single radicals/kanji can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Thus shina 品 can be seen as meaning "precious" in some contexts, or "quality/dignity", or "grace/elegance" – besides the basic meaning, that is, "item/items".
As for tama 玉, it too can go beyond the basic meaning of "ball" (or anything more or less vaguely resembling a ball, such as "gem/jewel/lens", or "testicle"). Thus it can mean "person/guy" when making a commentary on someone (compare to the English "oddball", if you will).
Last but not least, tama 玉 can mean "pretty girl" (perhaps as a combination of "person/guy" and "gem/jewel") and even "geisha" (female entertainer), which in combination with the substitutable shina 支那 can lead to such interpretations for Shinatama as "Chinese trollop" -_-, as always in these matters, it's important to know when to stop.
Incomplete/metonymous form
Seeing as shinatama/shinadama 品玉 designates the Edo-era art of juggling and/or sleight-of-hand, it seems improper to use it for the performer of such an art: for robots/dolls/puppets the proper compound is shinatama ningyō 品玉人形, and for people another compound would be used, e.g., shinatama-tsukai 品玉遣ひ or tejina-ji 手品師.
In other words, it's as if Shinatama's name had been picked to be "trickery" instead of "trickster", or "juggling" instead of "juggler". This is not entirely suprising or unfamiliar, though, because a similar thing seems to have happened to Daodan (the Chinese for "troublemaker" is dǎo dàn guǐ 捣蛋鬼, whereas dǎo dàn 捣蛋 merely means "to stir up trouble"); however, Daodan is often used in compounds (Daodan spike, Daodan Chrysalis, Daodan symbiote, etc), which justifies its adjectival use, and for Shinatama there is no such thing. To some extent, Shinatama is helped by the "dual reading" of tama 玉, both as part of the "juggling"/"sleight-of-hand" combination, and as "pretty girl".
Bottom line?
"Trickster puppet" still looks like the core meaning, even though the more appropriate reading is "trickery", more specifically referring to the art of sleight-of-hand. Additionally, it turns out that "Shinatama" (or rather "Shinadama") could be a reference to the art of juggling. (In both cases the shinatama/shinadama 品玉 is an old term going back to the Edo era, whereas modern sleight-of-hand and juggling are termed differently.)
It is worth noting that the "juggling" meaning of shinadama 品玉 is perhaps lesser-known than the "sleight-of-hand" meaning, because of how the latter was perpetuated in visually arresting automaton form; and it is also in its automaton incarnation that shinadama 品玉 seems to have evolved into a definite shinatama 品玉, with a "T".
Then again, as seen in the case of the "Juggler of the Chinese ball", the two pronunciations "dama" and "tama" can be used interchangeably for the juggling act as well. So it is possible to see the name Shinatama as meaning either "trickster" or "juggler" (choosing the more intuitive "actor" naming over the literal metonymy, which would be "trickery" or "juggling"). Juggling makes sense seeing as how much data Shinatama has to deal with, whereas trickery as a theme is somewhat harder to justify in-universe (though not much harder than, say, "Damocles").
Last but not least, there is always a possibility to play with the writing of a given name, for additional connotations/interpretations. For what it's worth, the Japanese version of Oni spells out the name Shinatama as katakana (シナタマ), without favoring one reading or the other.
geyser (talk) 20:39, 2 August 2021 (CEST)
Are you sure you can't think of any trickery that Shinatama engaged in? Anything important that she hid from anyone? =^_^= --Iritscen (talk) 20:53, 2 August 2021 (CEST)
Is that a trick question? ^_^ It's an in-universe justification of such a naming that I find hard to justify, even more so than for Damocles. (For the sake of the argument I am going to pretend that the name "Damocles" made the cut, and that it designates either the tall mainframe that Shinatama's attached to – processing Konoko's data – or Griffin's whole anti-Muro program.) In the case of Damocles it sort of makes sense, humility-wise, to pick a name that reflects the precariousness and uncertainty that come with Daodan symbiosis. But setting up an android to act as a reliable interface between Konoko and HQ, and having trickery in mind while naming said android – that's a totally different level of foreshadowing. Like having treason in a story and naming the traitor's character Judas/Brutus/Ganelon/etc. So I like to think that whoever named Shinatama (in-universe) had juggling in mind, rather than sleight-of-hand or general trickery. Or, if they were aware of the sleight-of-hand connotations, they might have deemed them innocent enough, and in no way ominous: "Let's not forget SLDs are like automatons, shall we? She may be a trickster, but she's our trickster" – that kind of confidence on the part of the one who did the naming might work, although personally I find it a bit annoying when combined with the "Damocles" and "trouble-making" themes (it's like Griffin knows from the start that he's fighting a losing battle, and keeps naming stuff accordingly). --geyser (talk) 00:35, 3 August 2021 (CEST)
Oh, I misunderstood. When you wrote "In other words, it's as if Shinatama's name had been picked to be 'trickery'", I thought you were talking about the choice made in the real world by BWest. --Iritscen (talk) 00:40, 3 August 2021 (CEST)
The fragment you're referring to is indeed about the real-world choice at Bungie West (well, mostly), but at that point I am merely pointing out the somewhat awkward metonymy, i.e., how "trickster"/"juggler" comes more naturally as a character's name than "trickery"/"juggling", and how it's possibly more stilted than in the case of Daodan (if you go along with the Chinese origin), because Daodan is adjectivized in most of Oni's contexts, and Shinatama isn't. Taken separately, this metonymy issue is more about general linguistics, and less about foreshadowing any of Oni's events, so it exists both in the real world and in-universe. Later on I say that "trickery as a theme is somewhat harder to justify in-universe", and at this point I am indeed looking at Shinatama's naming from the perspective of Kerr&Griffin&Co: if deception is essentially Shinatama's middle name, then how reliable do they expect her to be? --geyser (talk) 11:33, 3 August 2021 (CEST)

Dox: One more cent, the artificial soul

Shina - 品 (goods, article, thing)
Tama - 魂 (soul)
manufactured/constructed soul
fitting for an Simulated Life Doll ;)
On a side note: I always found it strange that they named it "SLD" and not used traditional science fiction terms like "robot", "android" and such.
I like how the different interpretations can blend into each other. @trickster puppet: you are tricked to believe that the robot is alive/has a soul. @treasure: a backup of Mai's soul and earlier personality?
Ultimately, Shinatama could be a reference to "ghost in the shell", too.
btw, here are a few older thoughts from RS story:
Pensatore has rescued Shinatama from Omega Vault. But since then Shin questions her own ego, is something of her soul missing? Hence removes "(a)tama" from her name, pun: tama = soul, atama = head (in Japanese)(it's a small step to "brain", "mind"), also: "Shin" is a base for the word "die", so in total: "died without a soul" or "without a head you die"). Therefore Shinatama 2.0 just refers to herself as "Shin" (to give hints of her inner conflict, doubts).
Indeed. Shinatama is never "spelled out" in kanji form anywhere in Oni (and the Japanese version uses katakana), so anything goes. And even it Oni did specify the name as being Shinatama 品玉, there is still this Japanese phenomenon when people go creative with their children's names (or their own) by using homophonic kanji. Thus, in a hypothetical remake/sequel/epilogue, Konoko (or someone from Kerr's team) may very well write Shinatama as 品魂 rather than 品玉, splicing the original idea of "dexterity"/"trickery" with the "spirit"/"soul" concept. By the way, that alternative tama 魂 kanji is a doubly nice find, as it's built around oni 鬼 (ghost). --geyser (talk) 11:55, 3 August 2021 (CEST)