Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #13, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
What does a lieutenant colonel, a high school student and a suicidal detective have in common? Yup. Nothing! Spring 2016 has already ended but today we will cover a little bit of three characters from leftover shows I watched and (sadly) didn’t do specific posts. On top of that, some neat data about these three months since I started writing here.
Our guests today are 結城中佐(yuu.ki.chuu.sa; Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki) from Joker Game, 江古田(e.ko.da)蓮(ren) from Anne Happy and 太宰(da.zai)治(osamu) from Bungou Stray Dogs. For the sake of this post, it is recommended to have fully watched all these series to avoid the Spring 2016 Farewell Spoiler Festival.
Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki
結城中佐(yuu.ki.chuu.sa) is the leader of D-Agency. His real/full name wasn’t disclosed through the series, as far as I remember, so we will work with this here. Putting aside 中佐(chuu.sa), which means Lieutenant Colonel, let’s take a look at 結城(yuuki):
Yuuki is a very recurring name in fictional series, featuring a lot of different kanji combinations. For our Colonel here, 結 brings the idea of binding, joining and organizing, while 城 indicates a strong foundation in castle. When put together, this is really fitting for someone who is the head of a Spy Agency, a solid institution where its members are tied by strict rules and policies. These same kanji are used for the Family Name of Asuna Yuuki, main heroine of Sword Art Online series. It is indeed a fitting Surname for her mother, 結城(yuu.ki)京子(kyou.ko), whose strictness were further enhanced after the first incident in SAO Universe, persevering until the developments in Mother Rosario arc. Which reminds me of 紺野(kon.no)木綿季(yu.u.ki), another set of kanji for the same reading. I recall Yuuki-chan saying something about marrying Asuna so she could change her name to 結城(yuu.ki)木綿季(yu.u.ki). 結城(yuu.ki)友奈(yuu.na) from Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru also uses the same kanji combination as our Colonel and Asuna.
A few more examples of Yuuki:
- 片岡(kata.oka)優希(yuu.ki) from Saki. This time 優希(yuu.ki) could be understood as superior hope or phenomenal gentleness.
- 長谷(ha.se)祐樹(yuu.ki) from Isshuukan Friends. Here 祐樹(yuu.ki) means helpful tree or established help.
- 長門(naga.to)有希(yuu.ki) from Haruhi Series. 有希(yuu.ki) stands for unique existence or wishful existence.
江古田(e.ko.da)蓮(ren) is the tomboy member of Anne Happy cast. This was a show that I really enjoyed, including watching the Opening scene over and over every week. Really regret not having covered it in detail here in [Onamae wa?]. To be honest, there is nothing much in 江古田(e.ko.da), which literally means an old rice field near a bay. On the other hand, her Given Name is very fitting:
Given Name: 蓮(ren)
Although our girl here uses its On’yomi reading Ren, the lotus flower itself is usually read as Hasu. In Buddhism symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech and mind. Also brings the idea of detachment. Without going way too deep, it is possible to relate this to Ren-chan usual composed behavior, calm speech and rational thinking.
I spoke about regretting not covering Anne Happy up there, but the biggest one was not doing a post about Bungou Stray Dogs. As I mentioned on the very first [Onamae wa?], I was saving it for later, but ended up never writing it. All characters in this series are named after Japanese literary authors (Bungou is 文豪, which means literary master) and there is a lot that can be said about the overall personality of each of them, authors, their powers… well, what is done is done, so I’ll only speak a bit about Dazai’s name here.
Family Name: 太宰(da.zai)
We have seen a bit of 太 last week on Tanakeda – onamae wa?, but here we will draw on yet another possibility. 太い, which usually means fat or thick, but can also mean daring or shameless, words which support very well his personality along the series. 宰 brings the idea of managing, which is a role that he, albeit not leader of the Agency, performs to a certain extent. Putting it together, we have a shameless management. We’ll get back to this in a moment.
Given Name: 治(osamu)
治 has two major meanings: to cure or to govern. The reading osamu though is very archaic and forsakes the idea of healing, keeping only the idea of managing and subduing. This is all very interesting, because it ties greatly with the original character Dazai is based on. Well, thinking now, this is rather redundant, as we will see next.
From Wikipedia, 太宰(da.zai)治(osamu) was a Japanese author who is considered one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th century Japan. “Kyra, I don’t know anything about this guy”. Yes, you do! Because the anime version of Dazai not only borrowed his name, but also a lot of his personality and life deeds. Real Dazai tried to commit suicide many times, including a double suicide with his lover, something emphasized over and over along the series. Originally Real Dazai was named 津島(tsu.shima)修治(shuu.ji), 太宰(da.zai)治(osamu) being his pen name, adopted later. Being a pen name from a literary author, you can expect this kind of deep meaning kanji combinations.
Going back on the idea that 太宰(da.zai) could mean shameless management, you could point out here a critic to the government (as Real Dazai had been arrested few years before for involvement with the Japanese Communist Party) but also to his own life, considering that by then he had tried to suicide multiple times and would spend all his money on clothes, alcohol and prostitutes. As for 治(osamu), choosing a reading that neglects the meaning of healing but keeps the idea of subduing is a gorgeous way to say that his life couldn’t be fixed and his only salvation was to subdue himself to death. Going even further, it is rather ironic that his original given name was 修治(shuu.ji), both kanji bringing the idea of repairing, fixing or governing oneself, all of which were contradictory to Real Dazai’s life.
Dazai’s ability in the Anime series is 人間失格(nin.gen.shik.kaku; literally Not qualified to be human, oficially translated as No Longer Human). This name is the same as Real Dazai’s masterpiece work, second-best selling novel in Japan. It tells the story of a troubled man incapable of revealing his true self to others, and who is instead forced to uphold a facade to the society, a mix of autobiography and fiction. It was adapted as part of the the anime series Aoi Bungaku in 2009. Back to Bungou Stray Dogs, Dazai’s ability render the target unable to manifest his powers which is an interesting take into the whole idea that surrounds Real Dazai’s story and name: restraining others from being themselves.
Spring 2016 wrapping up
So yeah, here we are. Today we conclude the first season of [onamae wa?] and all I have to say is thanks. Over the course of nearly three months since April 10th, when I published Katsuhira Agata – onamae wa？, this blog had over 1000 views and 600+ visitors from over 50 different countries. It would always amaze me when I noticed visitors from Oman, Nepal, Saudi Arabi, Belarus… I mean, with all respect, I didn’t even know there was a country named Belarus before (upon going to Wikipedia, realized I only knew its former name)! So, once again, thanks everyone for joining me and hopefully you had as much of a good time following this blog as I had keeping it.
The most popular post was Subaru Natsuki – onamae wa? from Re:zero, with 119 views, followed by Katsuhira Agata – onamae wa？ from Kiznaiver, 102 and Izuku Midoriya – onamae wa? from Boku no Hero Academia with 100. The least popular was Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma – onamae wa? from Kuromukuro, with only 3 views. Going over these numbers, there are fair arguments for all of them. I received a retweet from an Anime Community Account with over 40k followers on Katsuhira’s, so it amounted for many views. As for Deku’s, it was linked on tvtropes.org by a friend. And Subaru’s, well… Re:zero is just too popular! Every week after each episode a few views would appear in its post, as people get dragged into the marvelous story so far. Last week I was reminded by a friend on how the kanji that I had chosen for Subaru and the idea of growing attached were steadily getting better with each chapter. As for Kennosuke’s only having three views, it is a pity. Kuromukuro isn’t very popular, I guess. It is an interesting reading though, so give it a try! Personally my favorite post was Machi Amayadori and Natsu Kunai – onamae wa?, as the idea of looking for a shelter from the heavens felt perfect for Machi-chan.
As this is my first serious (hah) attempt into blogging, I haven’t yet settled down with decent formatting, so going ahead I might change one thing or another. Ultimately I want to keep the same pace, so if you enjoyed it so far, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Thanks all for your time, hope to see you all next weekend as we dive into Summer 2016.