Riko, Chika and You – onamae wa?

Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #23, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.

Last week we covered the names of the three first year students in Ruby, Hanamaru and Yoshiko – onamae wa?. Now it’s time to check those who revived the dream of a School Idol unit in Uranohoshi! Episodes 11 and 12 had a lot of material around them, great timing!

This week we will explore 桜内(sakura.uchi)梨子(ri.ko), 高海(taka.mi)千歌(chi.ka) and 渡辺(watanabe)曜(you), ニ年生達(ni.nen.sei.tachi; second year students) trio of Love Live! Sunshine!!, a school Idol anime currently airing in Summer 2016. According to Riko, it is recommended to have watched up to Episode 12 to avoid being chased by a big dog named Spoilerinu. (INU. GOT IT? HAH)

Riko Sakurauchi

桜内 梨子

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桜内(sakura.uchi)梨子(ri.ko) moved from Otonokizaka High School, where μ’s was born, to the countryside Uranohoshi Girls’ High School. She has an overall very mature behavior, being reserved and modest, which even made her held back being an idol for thinking that she wasn’t good enough. Chika advised her into not giving up on piano on Episode 10, which culminated in the whole premise of E11 and E12. Let’s see if we can find anything interesting on her name. 梨子ちゃん、お名前は?


 

Family Name: 桜内(sakura.uchi)

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桜内(sakura.uchi) is very feminine name, meaning the one who has an inner cherry blossom. 桜(sakura) is one of the kanji for the famous tree (the other being 櫻, only used in names). It is featured in related words like 桜桃(sakuran.bo; edible cherry) and 観桜(kan.ou; cherry blossom viewing. This can also be named 花見(hana.mi)). On the other hand, there is also a hideous usage for this kanji, as 桜(sakura) can also be used to describe someone who is being paid to encourage or to falsely act encouraged, like in an auction, internet forums and political debates. In this sense, 桜内(sakura.uchi) would lose that previous beautiful meaning, giving space to a disturbing the one who is a fake deep inside. (Un)fortunately I can’t figure a way to link this to Riko-chan.

Oh, right. Almost forgot about the second kanji. ごめん. As the last paragraph suggested, 内(uchi) is used in various ways to describe the idea of inside, inner, between. It is also frequently used as a pronoun in the same way as we would use [we] in English when talking about a company where I work. Following the same pattern, it can also be used as [I], but mainly for women and children. A few words include 内容(nai.you; subject, contents), 家内(ka.nai; my wife, my family), その内(sono.uchi; sooner or later, eventually) and 車内(sha.nai; inside a train or car). This is a very important kanji in Japanese, being one of the 50 most used in newspapers.

Back to the initial idea of the one who has an inner cherry blossom, it does fit very well for Riko-chan as this tree is associated with traditional Japanese imagery, which is also the case for Riko’s modest, mature and reserved personality.

Surprisingly, couldn’t find any others 桜内(sakura.uchi).


Given Name: 梨子(ri.ko)

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梨子(ri.ko) continues the tree theme in her name. I can already think of some fancy slogan like Riko’s Cupcake, pear flavored cake covered in cherry blossom cream. That would sell out so fast!

Anyway, 梨 means pear tree, more specifically the one known as Asian Pear or Pyrus pyrifolia. And apparently due to its high water content, it is not suitable for cakes… there goes my brilliant idea. 梨(nashi) is considered a 季語(ki.go; literally season word) for late Autumn, term used for vocabulary associated with a particular season, used in Japanese poetry, like 俳句(hai.ku). Once again we can see a link between her name and traditional customs in Japan.

We have explored 子 many times in this blog, so I won’t go deep. Suffice to point out that 梨子 would mean the pear tree kid, the one born from a pear tree. If we think about 梨 usage as a 季語(ki.go), it could also mean late Autumn child, in a similar way as 秋子(aki.ko; Autumn Child). Wait a moment. Woah. So yeah, alright. Let me think a bit, I might be into something.

Alright, here is the thing. On her Family Name, 桜内(sakura.uchi), we have discovered that she has a cherry blossom inside, right? It is very common to quickly associate Cherry Blossoms with Spring (late March-April in Japan), but they are also very strong in another season. Yup, you got it right. 秋(aki; Autumn/Fall)! So she has a Sakura inside, but is a child of Autumn (梨子). And here is the thing:

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Cherry Blossoms turn into a very beautiful red-ish color by Autumn, which happens to fit into Riko’s overall theme. This season also evokes a very mature atmosphere, quite appropriate for our girl here. Hoho, nice findings. Worth to point out that Riko-chan was born on September 19th (woah, tomorrow), so considering where the Anime takes place, that is not late Autumn at all. Even then, congratulations to whoever named her! @ComunCoutinho (who did a guest post here: Junko Enoshima – makasetekure!) pointed out that her 声優(sei.yuu; voice actor/actress) is named 梨香子(ri.ka.ko), quite close!

Other 梨子(riko):

riko2

 


Chika Takami

高海 千歌

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高海(taka.mi)千歌(chi.ka) is the leader of Aqours. She was very fond of μ’s (although not fanatic like Dia) and until E12 she wanted to her group to become like them some day. After visiting Otonokizaka she realizes they have to find their own path. She is very sociable and 前向き(mae.mu.ki; positive behavior). I chose the picture above to represent her on purpose, as it actually shows a contrasting side of Chika-chan. Well, we all know that she will get over whatever stands in her way to reach her dream. お名前は?


Family Name: 高海(taka.mi)

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高海(taka.mi) is formed by two common kanji. 高 appear in words like 高い(taka.i; high, expensive), 最高(sai.kou; highest, supreme, best) and 高める(taka.meru; to raise, to boost). 海(umi) is for sure known to anyone who watches anime, featured in related vocabulary like 海外(kai.gai; abroad, overseas), 海岸(kai.gan; coast) and 海水浴(kai.sui.yoku; swimming on the sea).

高 can be associated with her high spirits and always trying to boosting the morale of the group, although not with her height (157cm), as she is middle pack among the nine members (Mari-chan is the tallest with 163cm and Hanamaru the shortest with 152cm. I love you even more now, zura). As for 海, well, I don’t need to go over this.

Although tempting, 高海(taka.mi) isn’t an actual word in Japanese. High Sea, as in International Waters, is written as 公海(kou.kai) which surprisingly is a possible way to read 高海 as well. Which them makes me realize that there are two words related to Aqours itself that can be read as こうかい(koukai): 後悔(kou.kai; regret, remorse) and 更改(kou.kai; renewal, extension, revision). While Chika-chan wasn’t around for the remorse part that took place during the first iteration of the group, she took the leading role on the renewal of the School Idol Club. @ComunCoutinho also noted that her name is a mix of 高坂(kou.saka) and 海未(u.mi) from the original Love Live! series.

No others 高海(taka.mi), except for her relatives.


Given Name: 千歌(chi.ka)

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千歌(chi.ka) is also formed by two common kanji. 千円(1000 yen) is the smallest paper currency, 百千(hyaku.sen; large numbers, all sorts), 幾千(iku.sen; thousands). Well, the idea here is large numbers or great quantities. 歌(uta) is another recurring kanji in anime. Some unusual words include 歌留多(ka.ru.ta; traditional Japanese card game) and 鼻歌(hana.uta; humming). Two very close words are 国歌(kokka; national anthem) and 校歌(kouka; school anthem).

So yeah, we gave the leader of a school idol club a name that means a thousand songs. What a coincidence! Chika can also be written as 治下(chi.ka; under the rule of). Aqoursは千歌の治下です(Aqours wa Chika no chika desu; Aqours is under the rule of Chika). Hah!

No others 千歌(chi.ka), although there is one 千歌(sen.ka), a possible reading:

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You Watanabe

渡辺 曜

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渡辺(watanabe)曜(you) is a very energetic girl and in a lot of ways she pairs very well with Chika. She has a thing for uniforms, as seen through the series over and over. You-chan had some jealously moments on E10-E12 mini-arc but nothing seriously. One of my favorites… ugh, it is hard to say this. Every girl in Sunshine is so good. Alright, let me put it like this: she is one of my nine favorite members of Aqours! お名前は?


 

Family Name: 渡辺(watanabe)

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渡辺(watanabe) is a traditional Japanese family name. 渡る(wata.ru; to cross over, to span, to cover) appear in this nice expression: 渡る世間に鬼はない(wataru seken ni oni wa nai; literally there is no evil that spans throughout the world, meaning not everyone is evil, there is kindness to be found everywhere). 渡す(wata.su) is a verb meaning to pass or handle, but also to ferry across (e.g. a river), which happens to be the profession of You’s father. 辺 is used in words like 辺り(ata.ri; nearby, vicinity) and 辺境(hen.kyou; borderland).

You-chan is very often shouting Yousoro, a naval vocabulary which means straighten the ship. She wants to take after her after in the future, so this seems very appropriate.

Others 渡辺(watanabe):

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Given Name: 曜(you)

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曜(you). There are uncountable kanji for [you], but this one is so weird for naming. It can also be read in many different ways, including Akira, Aki, Kaguya, Teruko and Hikari, all related to light in one way or another. 曜 is formed by 日(day, sun), ヨ(no idea what this means) and 隹(small bird), but I don’t really see how we could relate this to her. I thought about a variety of puns using [you] to write here, but I’ll save them for myself, so 曜 should feel grateful! HAH.

There is no one like 曜(you). HAH.

Sorry.


Wrapping up!

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Thanks for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. Next week we will cover the third-year students, Kanan, Mari and Dai! See you all then!

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3 thoughts on “Riko, Chika and You – onamae wa?

  1. About the kanji for ‘small bird’, You is equivalent in her role to Minami Kotori of the second year student trio from the first Love Live! series. You designs and makes the costumes and also has grey hair, both the same as Kotori, while Chika is equivalent in role to Honoka (the leader), and Riko to Umi (the reserved, mature type). I think that would be the significance of the ‘small bird’ kanji, due to Kotori’s name having the same meaning.

    As a bonus, the mascot You has attached to her school bag is also a little seagull with a little cap. Cute!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, no problem, just thought I could share what little I know.

        I forgot to add a thank you, as well. I came here from Google as I was looking for the meaning of Matsuura Kanan’s given name and this was the first and only useful site I found. It’s really helpful, goes to quite some depth in the analysis and is very interesting to read, I really appreciate it. So, thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

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