Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #14, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
For most Japanese people, Summer means going somewhere near the sea. Be it a beach, some resort or hotel, it is the time people find to relax and enjoy the warmth . So today we will do the same and dive into one of the most expected shows of Summer 2016, one that will make you relax and warm your soul.
As you may be new to diving, we will be guided by 小日向(ko.hi.nata)光(hikari) and her newest friend, 大木(oo.ki)双葉(futa.ba), main protagonists of Amanchu!, a soothing slice of life show currently airing. For the sake of your safety during our diving session, it is recommended to have watched the first episode of this show to avoid being swept away by spoilers.
Hikari “Pikari” Kohinata
小日向(ko.hi.nata)光(hikari) is a 15 years old girl who lives with her grandma at the beach, loves diving and 豚汁(ton.jiru: miso soup with pork and vegetables). She has a very cheerful personality and you can really feel that she enjoys every single second of her life. Or so we are made to believed, from what we have seen so far in Episode 1. Her nickname “Pikari” comes from the onomatopoeic word ぴかり(pikari; with a flash, brightly), which is similar in both writing and meaning to Hikari. Let’s check her name. お名前は？
Family Name: 小日向(ko.hi.nata)
小日向(ko.hi.nata), woah! All these kanji have nice ties with what we know so far about Hikari-chan. 小 and 日 use regular kun’yomi readings, while 向 being read as nata is mostly reserved for naming purposes.
We saw a bit of 小 in Futaba, Youko and Teru – onamae wa?. This time 小 fits very well for our character, who is only 148cm tall. As for 日 and 向, it is the first time we are seeing them here. 日 brings the idea of day, the Sun, sunlight, all ideas that are easily linked to Hikari (more on this intended pun later). 向 appear in words like 向ける(mu.keru; to face towards, to point), 向く(mu.ku; to turn toward, to be suited to, to be fit for) and 向こう(mu.kou; other side, far away, beyond, future). These words can be associated with the positive and cheerful attitude that Hikari has.
On the scene above, Futaba-chan describes Hikari-chan as a 前向きな子(mae.mu.kina.ko), a way to say that someone is proactive or optimistic. She later review her thoughts and point out that it feels like her new friend seems to be always enjoying herself.
Looking at the name as a whole, 小日向(ko.hi.nata) could literally mean to face towards a small Sun/Day, small here being used figuratively to indicate a calm, non stressful day. Indeed, one common Japanese expression that would really apply to Hikari is マイペース(maipeesu; yes, exactly, this comes from My Pace), which indicates someone who lives carefree in their own world, sometimes used sarcastically to describe seemingly autistic behavior. Another way to understand 小日向(ko.hi.nata) would be to bask in gentle sunlight.
- 小日向(ko.hi.nata)縁(yukari) from Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita (2014).
- 小日向(ko.hi.nata)未来(mi.ku) from Symphogear series (2012).
- 小日向(k.hi.nata)穂積(ho.zumi) from Prince of Stride: Alternative (2016).
Given Name: 光(hikari)
光(hikari) is a very recurring name in Japanese, being simple to write and having a straightforward, beautiful meaning. Once again it fits very well into our lovely girl.
We have seen 光 in Futaba, Youko and Teru – onamae wa?, although there the reading used was 光(kou), Teru-chan sister’s name. It appeared once again in Mitsumune Sakai – onamae wa?, this time with another reading, mitsu. Here the main idea is to shine, to be bright, both precise words for our character.
- 先島(saki.shima)光(hikari) from Nagi no Asukara.
- 櫻田(sakura.da)光(hikari) from Joukamachi no Dandelion.
- ヒカリ(hikari) from Pokemon Diamond & Pearl series.
Futaba “Teko” Ooki
大木(oo.ki)双葉(futa.ba) is a 16 years old girl who just moved to the area. Introvert and shy, Futaba is a strong contrast to Hikari. She doesn’t seem very happy to have moved and miss her friends a lot. Her nickname “Teko” was given by Hikari, after she noticed how Futaba’s eyebrows are very thin, thus emphasizing her おでこ(odeko; forehead). This first お comes from 御, a polite/educated prefix which can just be taken out, leaving でこ(deko), which by removing the ” on で, finally becomes てこ(teko). Then, お名前は?
Family Name: 大木(oo.ki)
大木(oo.ki) is a very simple name. Following a lot of examples that we have seen so far in this blog, it is a reference to some environment feature, although there are various way to write Ooki, like 大槻, 多木, 巨生, 大氣, among others. In our case, both 大 and 木 use regular kun’yomi readings.
大 is appearing for the first time here, although we saw a very similar kanji in Tanakeda – onamae wa?. 木 appeared in Makoto Kowata – onamae wa? and Deishuu Kaiki – onegai!. 大 can depict greatness in size, as in 大きい(oo.kii; big, large), in intensity, as in 大変(tai.hen; serious, immense) or relevance, as in 大切(tai.setsu; important, beloved). As for 木, it always carries the idea of tree or wood, like 並木(nami.ki; roadside tree) and 啄木(taku.boku; woodpecker). One interesting expression is 木石(boku.seki; literally trees and stones), which depicts an unfeeling person, although we don’t have much information to even relate this to Futaba-chan and I don’t think this will be the case ever.
On the scene above, Futaba’s initial struggle to adapt herself into this new world is shown, as in other moments in Episode 1. If we try to tie this to 大木(oo.ki), we can think that trees, especially the large ones, are (almost always) static at one place for their entire life. In a sense, how Futaba feels about being in a new world she knows nothing about, without her friends, could be related to how a tree always has the same surroundings.
- 大木(oo.ki)弘(hiroshi) from Triage X (2015).
- 大木(oo.ki)蝶子(chou.ko) from Yuri Kuma Arashi (2015).
- 大木(oo.ki)雅之助(mana.no.suke) from Nintama Rantarou (1993).
Given Name: 双葉(futa.ba)
Yay! 双葉(futa.ba) is the first name that ever appear twice here in our blog, previously showcased in Futaba, Youko and Teru – onamae wa?, with same reading and kanji. It is interesting here because her Family Name is also related to plants, which creates a nice setting, to be honest. You have her Family Name being a very big tree, representing her former, static life; and then her Given Name being a bud or sprout that is starting its own new journey. And then I prompt you, what does a fresh bud needs to grow strong? Water and light. Well, search no further, as 光(hikari), being into scuba diving, is plenty to fulfill this role. Isn’t this magical? Gotta love kanji.
- 一ノ瀬(ichi.no.se)双葉(futa.ba) from Sore ga Seiyuu! (2015).
- 双葉(futa.ba)杏(anzu) from The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls (2015).
As the name of this series is officially written in hiragana as あまんちゅ!, even before watching it I was intrigued to see what did it actually mean. The word Ama is used to describe divers, 海人 as a general word, 海女 for women and 海士 for men, although the majority of ama are women. According to Wikipedia, this tradition has existed in Japan for over 2000 years, back then doing it only wearing loincloths. While famous for pearl diving, its original purpose was to search for food like seaweed, shellfish and lobsters.
Now, on the image above we have the exact word 海女人屋, which is read as Amanchu-ya, where 屋(ya) is a suffix added to describe a store or house that is dedicated to a given work. Similar words are 酒屋(saka.ya; liquor store), パン屋(pan.ya; bakery), etc. Notice that this word uses 人 and 女, but not 士, further emphasizing the predominance of women in traditional Japanese diving. This leaves us with 海女人 being read as Amanchu. Alright… why? Sure, it could be just some fancy out of nowhere reading, but this time, it is not. In the Okinawan language, Ama are called uminchu. Thus, by mixing Ama and Uminchu together, you get Amanchu.
Let’s review our guests today!
小日向(ko.hi.nata)光(hikari), the ray of light always shining towards a new day.
大木(oo.ki)双葉(futa.ba), the sprout in need of water and light to grow into a beautiful tree.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. Amanchu! episode 1 was beautiful and I once again would like to thank you 坂本(saka.moto)真綾(maa.ya) for the marvelous Opening Theme, Million Clouds (you can watch its official MV here). If you like slice of life, this show is a must. See you all next weekend!