Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #12, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Spring 2016 surely went by fast! In the blink of an eye many great shows are coming to an end. Today I’ll cover what was, by far, my favorite work of the season, Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge. I can’t recommend it enough!
Characters in this show have very simple names and I even considered not covering it but it wouldn’t be fair to how amazing was following the daily life of Tanaka, Oota and friends. To balance it out, we will go over all characters (YES, INCLUDING HER). For the sake of this post, it is recommended… wait. Actually let me rephrase this: If you enjoy a great work, please watch this show.
田中(ta.naka) is the Family Name of our main protagonist, listless incarnated. My first impression was that this “always tired” concept would grow old very quickly, but every week it proved me wrong. Oh, and there is no mention of his Given Name anywhere. This is also true for most of the cast, with the exception of Rino and Saya. お名前は？
田中(ta.naka) is the fourth most popular surname in Japan, used by over 1.3 million people. It literally means in the (rice) field, a clear example of those names depicting a location or work. Although this is our first time having a Tanaka named character here, it is already the third time seeing 田 (Futaba, Youko and Teru – onamae wa? and Shokugeki no Souma – onegai!). 中 refers to all ideas regarding being in, middle and center, featured in words like 中学校 (chuu.gak.kou; middle-school), 一日中(ichi.nichi.juu; all day long) and 中々(naka.naka; very, considerably, rather, quite. This one is usually written in kana only: なかなか).
If we were to relate 田中 to Tanaka himself, it would be pointing out how easy it is to write and read. Both kanji feature among the Top 100 most used ones in newspapers and there is really no way to get the strokes wrong, something very useful for someone who is always tired.
Similarly to his best friend, 太田(oo.ta) is actually the Family Name for our buddy here. Always ready and willing to help others, Oota-kun is so reliable it sometimes disturbed me. His friendship with Tanaka is great to admire and they do make a really nice protagonist duo. お名前は？
太田(oo.ta) would literally mean a large, abundant (rice) field, though for this idea it would be more appropriate to write it as 大田(oo.ta). We saw 田 already and 太 is used to describe something big, fat or thick, including words like 太る (futo.ru; to grow fat) and 太陽(tai.you; the Sun).
太田(oo.ta) is the 45th most popular name in Japan and, like 田中, features easy to write and read kanjis. The most interesting trivia here is that while Tanaka is the middle-sized field, Oota is the big-sized one, which is really fitting for our friends here. Another one is 太 appearing in one of the many ways to say wife in Japanese: 太太(tai.tai).
宮野(miya.no) literally means love, cute, perfect… wait, what do you mean it actually doesn’t mean that? CALL THE JAPANESE KANJI POLICE! So yeah, here we have the hyperactive and outgoing Miyano-chan, my favorite girl in Spring 2016. My biggest praises to her 声優(sei.yuu; voice actor/actress), Natsumi Takamori for making me want to hug the monitor every single second. お名前は？
We have seen a bit of 宮 in Saya Sasamiya and Kirin Toudou – onamae wa?. 宮野(miya.no) would literally mean a shrine field, a rustic palace, a princess in a regular life or uh… maybe… Imperial Fields? The nice point here is that 野 also brings the idea of plains/fields that 田 from Tanaka and Oota also have. 野 is also used in a word that describes Miyano very much: 野心(ya.shin; ambition, aspiration). While not as popular as the Family Names of our main protagonists, Miyano was among the Top 1000 most common in Japan in 2014.
越前(echi.zen) is a tsundere girl who knows the deal. And by deal I mean that she knows that Miyano is the most perfect thing in this world, so she has my deeply respect. Despite her devotion to her tiny friend, Miyano is longing for some love, this often portrayed along the series. お名前は？
越前(echi.zen) could mean the last one to achieve supremacy or even former superior being or the one about to transcend, all way too fancy descriptions for our troublemaker here. 越 appears in words like 越す(ko.su; to be better than) and 卓越(taku.etsu; superiority), while 前 is a very common kanji used in daily life words like 前(mae; before, previously), 名前(na.mae; name) and 午前(go.zen; before noon).
白石(shira.ishi) is love too, but this is the 眼鏡(megane; glasses) variant. Her feelings for Tanaka might not be answered anytime soon, but I’m sure she has plenty of proposals waiting for her anytime. Her true self isn’t very trending, but she feels better that way so hopefully one day she will get back to being herself only. Meanwhile, お名前は？
白石(shira.ishi) literally means white stone or jewel, a suitable name for our beautiful girl. 白 brings not only the idea of white, but also innocence and purity. The idea that 石 can both mean a regular stone or a jewel also doubles as Shiraishi regular and produced appearances.
莉乃(ri.no) is Tanaka’s adorable younger sister. She loves her brother a lot and is often annoyed by the fact that Oota is always together with him. By sheer coincidence, she is best friend with Saya, Oota’s younger sister. お名前は？
莉乃(ri.no) literally means of Jasmine or from Jasmine, while Jasmine itself means a gift from God. Rino is surely worthy of bearing this name, as the contrast of her cute and sharp nature make her a godly sight.
早夜(sa.ya) is Oota’s younger sister and guess what? She is adorable as well, like everyone in this marvelous show. Saya unfortunately didn’t have much screentime, but even than managed to leave a lasting impression of her cuteness. While being as polite as her brother, she is extremely shy, which just ends up emphasizing her already nice traits. お名前は？
早夜(sa.ya) literally means early evening. This yet another possible way to write Saya, some of which we covered in Saya Sasamiya and Kirin Toudou – onamae wa?, but here using a much simpler kanji for Sa: 早.
志村(shi.mura) is one of Tanaka’s classmates, often going on about girls and relationships. お名前は？
志村(shi.mura) literally means Village of Hope. Shimura does have high hopes for pretty much anything. He didn’t appear very much over the series, but had good moments anyway.
While not as talkative as Shimura, 加藤(ka.tou) also goes along with his friend’s ideas. Katou is the 10th most popular name in Japan. One notable bearer that comes to mind is 加藤(ka.tou)恵(megumi), main heroine from Saekano. お名前は？
加藤(ka.tou) could mean to gift a wisteria, which is the name of a flower. We saw it on Toudou in Saya Sasamiya and Kirin Toudou – onamae wa? (which by the way, surely a lot of similar kanjis to this article today, uh?).
Now that the small fries are done, here comes the uncrowned heroine of Tanakeda:
西園寺(sai.on.ji) appeared on Episodes 9 and 10 of Tanakeda as a supporting character, but quickly gained attention. Her misconception of Tanaka and Oota’s behavior created some hilarious scenes. She is a 20 years old university student who strives doing part-time jobs. お名前は？
西園寺(sai.on.ji) is a name related to a court aristocrat family in old Japan. It had relatively good political power for almost 900 years up to the end of World War II, when its hereditary system was extinguished. The family continues today and Saionji remains now as an uncommon Japanese surname. 西園寺(sai.on.ji) means Western Garden Temple, the formal residence of the family in the northern mountains of Kyoto.
Woah, today we covered a lot of characters! Well, as I had said before they were all quite simple so hopefully this didn’t make you guys sleepy.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed it. Tanakeda was a marvelous experience for everyone I know that was watching it, so it is highly recommended. Next time we will do a round up of Spring 2016 in preparation for Summer! See you all next weekend!