Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #7, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
I’ve been running low on money this month! 大変です(tai.hen.desu; recurring expression depicting something great, either for good or bad)！Uh? バイト(baito; part-time job)? Uh… sure. I heard that near here there is a new bakery called 秘密の花園(hi.mitsu.no.hana.zono; Secret Garden). Maybe they need some help there?
Our co-workers today are 小田切(o.da.giri)双葉(futa.ba), 葉山(ha.yama) 照(teru) and 西川 (nishi.kawa)葉子(you.ko), protagonists of Sansha Sanyou, a comedy slice of life show currently airing on Spring 2016. For the sake of today’s shift, it is recommended to have watched up to Episode 6, unless you want to eat Spoiler-Flavored-Cookies baked by 葉山(ha.yama) 光(kou) herself.
Introducing our first workmate, 小田切(o.da.giri)双葉(futa.ba), a very active girl. In Japanese we would use the term 元気(gen.ki; good, lively, energetic) to describe Futaba-chan. But this comes at a cost: she needs to eat 10x times her weight everyday otherwise she will disappear! Just kidding, she won’t disappear, though the part about eating 10x times her weight is probably true. As stated by 薗部 (sono.be)篠(shino), she is a 胃袋ブラックホール(i.bukuro burakkuhooru; lit. having a blackhole for stomach. Funimation translated it into walking blackhole, which is a good English version, in my opinion). I’m sure that she will agree to answer お名前は？for some rice, her favorite food.
Family Name: 小田切 (o.da.giri)
We have seen both 田 and 切 in Shokugeki no Souma – onegai!, a few weeks ago. I’m actually surprised that 小 only appeared on the 9th post on this blog. On the other hand, not surprised at all that 田 appeared here, considering that rice is Futaba-chan’s favorite food. 小田(o.da) is an old word meaning small rice field, but you could probably get that just by looking at it. There is also a small town / village in Nagano Prefecture that uses the same kanji, although featuring a slightly different reading: otagiri.
In the above mentioned Shokugeki no Souma post, we talked about how 切 was perfect for Erina because it had both gentle and sharp meanings, mirroring her tsundere personality. This is not the case here though, as Futaba is way more worried about her next meal than being tsundere. Looking on other usages, 切り(ki.ri) often appears to indicate an end, bounds and limits, for example in 締め切り(shi.me.ki.ri; sometimes also 締め切り, meaning deadline). An interesting use for our girl in case is to indicate that something is the remaining portion. So we could literally read her Family Name as What is left of a small rice field. Considering Futaba appetite, it is easy to picture her devouring a small rice field by herself.
Given Name: 双葉 (futa.ba)
This is a very popular name. But I have to say it would have been PERFECT for Teru-chan. She has a sister, which would be neat to relate 双 and pair. On Teru’s case you could also point out that considering 葉 is a counter for flat things, we could get away with 双葉 meaning a pair of flat things, as in our trio the order of magnitude is Youku > Futaba > Teru. But noooooo… they had to miss this great opportunity! Booooo~
So, alright. Back to 双葉(futa.ba). The word itself means bud or sprout, a structure in plants that will evolve in a new leaf or stem. To be very honest, I can’t really find a way to relate this to Futaba, so we will hold on to it. Maybe something will appear as we check the other girls!
Helping us now is 西川 (nishi.kawa)葉子(you.ko), daughter of a former rich family, but business went down and now she lives a rather below average life. She still retains some of her 御嬢様(o.jou.sama; daughter of a high-class family) behavior, even when savoring her nowadays staple meal, bread crusts with mayonnaise. She used to be served by Sonobe-san as her maid and Yamaji as her butler. As we are dealing with a lady here, instead of お名前は？we will use the full sentence, お名前は何でございますか？(o.namae wa nan.de gozaimasu ka?; extremely polite way to ask someone’s else name)
Family Name: 西川(nishi.kawa)
西川 (nishi.kawa) is a very simple name meaning west river. This is also the easiest reading, picking both kun’yomis and not even shifting kawa into gawa. This reading is more common on 九州(kyuu.shuu) and on the western side of 本州(hon.shuu), while the 西川(sai.kawa) variation is mostly found on its eastern part.
You might be asking What 西 has to do with Spain?, to which the answer is 関係ない(kan.kei.nai; expression meaning doesn’t matter, not related). You will mostly see Spain as スペイン, but could also see its kanji form, 西班牙(supein). With the exception of a few East-Asian countries, foreign countries can be written either in katakana or as a combination of kanji for phonetic purposes only. Which means that each kanji in 西班牙 has nothing to do, meaning-wise, with Spain. Thus you have 独 (single, alone) and 逸(leisure, idleness, evade), but it doesn’t mean that 独逸人 (do.itsu.jin; German People) take leisure on the joys of being single or that they avoid being alone. You can check more about this in this short article on Tofugu.
As far as Youko-sama is concerned though, once again it is hard to find a connection between her Family Name and character. Move on…
Given Name: 葉子(you.ko)
This pattern of kanji + 子 is very common for girls in Japan. 雪子(yuki.ko; lit. child of the snow, because she was born in winter), 海子(umi.ko; lit. child of the sea; because her mother lives near the coast). Nevertheless, according to my 先生(sen.sei; teacher), whose name was 真知子(ma.chi.ko; lit. child with true wisdom), this setup has been losing strength recently due to Western influence. Considering Youko’s family was probably traditional, this is fitting for her.
Our last co-worker is葉山(ha.yama) 照(teru). What a beautiful name! Teru-chan has a shining aura, but also a dark side within. Well, we all do. Sonobe-san describes her as the 腹黒い委員長(hara.guro.i.i.in.chou). 腹黒い means malicious, scheming, black-hearted, while 委員長 is short for 学級委員長(gak.kyuu.i.in.chou; class representative). She has a sister named 光(kou), the one responsible for today’s Spoiler Flavored Cookies.
Let’s check her name out.
Family Name: 葉山 (ha.yama)
Once again 葉 appears. I feel like this will be relevant at some point. 山 has a few other meanings besides mountains and hills, including nouns like crown, climax, speculation and also used to indicate that something is great or very much. This brings back the pun mentioned on Futaba section! So now we could read 葉山 as very flat. Haha! But well, this is her Family Name and we have seen that her sister 光(kou)-chan has some nice attributes right there. Other than this rather small trivia, I can’t point out much here either. Move on!
Given Name: 照 (teru)
Ohh! So, this kanji here depicts Teru-chan bright side, which is quite clear. But we know that this shining aura is not her true self. What could be hidden behind it? Wanna try looking for it? Alright. 照 is formed by four parts:
- 日(hi; day, sun, sunshine)
- 刀 (katana; sword, dagger)
- 口 (kuchi; mouth, hole, invitation, entrance, etc)
- 灬 (radical for fire 火)
So we can see that there are two sources of light here. Let’s start by putting down her fire.
Alright, now we have 昭(shou), mainly used in 昭和時代(shou.wa.ji.dai; Shouwa Era 1926.12.25-1989.1.7). 昭和 here means enlightened peace, which was chosen because, and here I quote former Emperor Hirohito:
“I have visited the battlefields of the Great War in France. In the presence of such devastation, I understand the blessing of peace and the necessity of concord among nations.”
This is a beautiful declaration, although we know now that it doesn’t really depicts pre-1945 Shouwa Era, marked by totalitarianism and fascism in Japan. Similar to Teru-chan, here we have this kind of keeping up a peaceful and bright outside, but inside a much darker reality. Alright, sorry Teru-chan, I didn’t mean to compare you to this tragic period in Japanese history. But again I must apologize as I will remove yet another layer of light from you! Mwahaha!
That is it. No more light, Teru-chan. We are now left with 召 a kanji that holds a lot of meanings: eating, drinking, dressing up, seducing, catching a cold, growing old, committing 切腹(sep.puku; Japanese ritual suicide originally reserved for samurai). Alright, committing seppuku is a bit too much, but when you see it as honorable death, can you see that 召 depicts a rather normal life? You eat, you drink, you dress up, you seduce and get seduced, you sometimes get sick, you grow old and you have an honorable death. Just a normal life. So under the two layers of brightness that sometimes Teru-chan might put on in order to deal with society, lies a normal girl. Did I stretch it too much? Probably. Ok, she is a normal girl that loves cats. Better?
Another interesting point is that her sister is named 光(kou), using its On’yomi reading. The most common word uses its kun’yomi in 光(hikari), meaning light, often used in words related to shining or illuminating. Among those we have 光照(kou.shou; shining), where both sisters feature together.
Other than that, once again, nothing. Well, 葉 did appear again so it is time we head to the actual objective of today’s shift…
三者三葉(san.sha.san.you) is a playword on 三者三様(san.sha.san.you; lit. three people, three ways), an expression meaning to each his own. On the Anime version, we swap 様(you; way, method) for 葉, which also has a you reading, as we have seen in 葉子(you.ko). It doesn’t stop there tho. 三葉 is also a possible way to write 三つ葉(み.つ.ば), meaning either an specific East Asian plant characterized by having three leaves or any other plant that possess this characteristic. As you probably noticed in the image above and many other moments in the show, this clover-like plant is everywhere.
This is further emphasized by 葉 appearing in all three names, 小田切(o.da.giri)双葉(futa.ba), 葉山(ha.yama) 照(teru) and 西川 (nishi.kawa)葉子(you.ko). The very first line of Sansha Sanyou Opening, [Clover♣Kakumation], uses this in a nice way: さぁ見てらっしゃい三つ葉のおでましだ! (saa miterasshai mitsuba no odemashi da!) can be literally translated into come and see the clovers sprouting!, but also come and see our great entrance!, by understanding 三つ葉(mi.tsu.ba) as 三つ(mitsu; three) and 葉 as a reference to the girls themselves.
Speaking of which, just noticed that Kakumation (かくめーしょん) from [Clover♣Kakumation] is a mix of 革命(kaku.mei; revolution) and revolution.
Another interesting trivia about these three: 双葉(futa.ba) can be written as 二葉, which would mean two leaves or second leaf. In 葉山(ha.yama), 山 can be read as san, which is also the reading of 三(san; three), forming 葉三(you.san). Lastly, 子 from 葉子(you.ko) can be read as shi, which is also the reading of 四(yon or shi; four), forming up 葉四(you.shi). Which clearly denotes a hidden character mixing 一(ichi; one) and 葉! Upon noticing this I went through all characters but couldn’t find any match, which leaves only one possibility: we are the ones! (((o(*ﾟ▽ﾟ*)o)))
Anyway, this idea of to each his own is the main premise of Sansha Sanyou, from its name consisting of a related pun; to the characters that have different personalities but are still friends. When introducing the Ending [Goochoki Parade] (ぐーちょきパレード), Sonobe-san says:
三者三葉の人生。本当面白っ！素敵ですよね。(sanshasanyou no jinsei. hontou omoshiro! suteki desuyone!
At the very beginning we have sanshasanyou, which could be read either as 三者三様(emphasizing the saying itself) or 三者三葉 (focus on the girls of this show). Picking the second one would leave us with the translation provided by Funimation:
Their “to each their own color” life is so entertaining. Wonderful, isn’t it?
While the first would bring a more general idea on how you should live, bro.
A “to each their own way” kind of life is so fascinating! Wonderful, isn’t it?
お疲れ！(o.tsuka.re; short for お疲れ様です, otsukaresamadesu, expression used to thank you someone for their work. In this case, our shift.)
As the names themselves weren’t the focus today, I’ll leave the definition to Sonobe-san (and Funimation), our in-house maid today:
小田切(o.da.giri)双葉(futa.ba), the walking blackhole;
葉山(ha.yama) 照(teru), the black-hearted class representative;
西川 (nishi.kawa)葉子(you.ko); the poor girl on a bread-crust diet.
A few lines later into the Ending, we have a part where they all say 笑顔に慣れる物(egao ni nareru mono; things that make you smile), followed by Futaba saying 御飯(go.han; rice/meal), Youko saying お金(o.kane; money) and Teru-chan saying ここでは言えない(koko de wa ienai; I can’t say it here. Which I truly wonder if this is just a reference to her dark side or something concrete…). They all then say that 幸せだって三者三様思うまま楽しいもう! (shiawase datte sansha sanyou omou mama tanoshii mou!; which I’d (roughly) translate to thinking of Happiness as something unique to each person is joyful!
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed it despite not finding much on each name. Sansha Sanyou isn’t for everyone, but if you are like me that loves any variation of Cute Girls doing Cute Things while being Cute, you will have a good time. See you all next weekend!