If you happen to learn Japanese, particulary kanji, have you encountered any weird reading? I mean, even though those reading are not technically correct, it should bestow a better ring to it. That’s what’s-called, 当て字[ateji, phonetic equivalent]. I think you could find this kind of thing in the lyrics on Japanese pop-music. If from anime songs, I can think of 玉置成実[Narumi Tamaki] or TWO-MIX. Sometimes it makes me laugh because it sounds too poetic or too melodramatic, but this time I would like to mention 定め[sadame] which means a fate or destiny.
Mostly in the lyrics of songs, it would be written as either 運命[unmei] or 宿命[shukumei] and read as さだめ. This is not correct, but it sounds a little more fascinating, doesn’t it? I am not an English-speaking person, so if I am wrong, I would really appreciate it if you kindly correct me. If we read 運命 as さだめ, it would probably function as destiny. I mean, it is supposed to be like that. No matter what, it happens for sure. Irregistable and inavoidable regardless whether he/she wants or not. Let’s see some exapmles…
a. 彼は明日死ぬ。それがあいつの運命（さだめ）なのだよ。[He will die tomorrow. That’s his destiny.]
b. 私たちが出逢ったのも、何かの運命(さだめ)です。[Our encounter should be something like destiny.] Ugh, this is too poetic.
However, if we read 宿命 as さだめ, it would probably mean it is destined to do sth since it was born or the certain point of its life. It’s more like the person must do sth no matter what. It seem to have less romantic connotation than 運命 does. Because he has a certain purpose in his life, he must inevitably do another thing to fulfill it. As a result, it becomes the thing he is destined to do…This is 宿命 as さだめ.
c. それが宿命（さだめ）というわけですな、永遠の刺客としての。[That’s your fate, isn’t it? As an eternal assassin.]
This is what Soutetsu in Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto says(I am sorry, I forgot in which episode he does and actually he doesn’t say さだめ, but shukumei). Anyway, the protagonist Youjiro who failed to protect Sakamoto Ryouma, has to find out 覇者の首[hasha no kubi] and destroy. Since he vows to do so, he must do whatever no matter what comes out. If 運命 is decided by such an absolute power, 宿命 might be still decided by the person’s will.
Lelouch in Code Geass vows to destroy Britannia for the sake of his younger sister. So whatever he sacrifises could be called 宿命. The fact that he was born in the Britannia Family, his mother got assassinated, and his sister got crippled would be 運命 because it has nothing to do with Lelouch’s will. However, even if he ought to battle with Kururugi Suzaku, and he doesn’t want to kill his childhood mate, he has to do so(are we going to see that next month?) because that is his 宿命.
Yorihisa in Harukanaru toki no nakade has to protect Miko(our protagonist). [Spoiler starts]In the certain episode, he kills a monster called 鵺[nue] which is actually his very first friend. Nue gets insane because of the spell, and kidnaps Miko. Yorihisa must protect Miko, so in the end he shall kill his best friend.[spoiler ends] There’s a line in his theme song;
d. 運命の悪戯か 宿命なのか[Is it a jest of fortune or shukumei?].
Yes, like we are confused, even he seems to be, too. Am I making sense? If not, don’t hesitate to tell me, please.