Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #24, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Over the last two weeks we covered the names of the three first year students in Ruby, Hanamaru and Yoshiko – onamae wa? and second year girls in Riko, Chika and You – onamae wa?. We will now complete this mini series with the original Aqours!
Our guests today are 松浦(matsu.ura) 果南(ka.nan), 黒澤(kuro.sawa) ダイヤ(daiya) and 小原(o.hara) 鞠莉(ma.ri), 三年生達(san.nen.sei.tachi; third year students) trio of Love Live! Sunshine!!, a school Idol anime that just finished airing in Summer 2016. Dia would like to remind you that it is recommended to have finished watching this series to avoid spoilers. And avoiding spoilers is also part of the training!
松浦(matsu.ura) 果南(ka.nan) is the most mature girl in Aqours, always keeping a calm aura that heavily contrasts with other members. Of course the exception were the glorious events leading into Episode 9, when Kanan and Mari managed to wrap up their problems from the previous incarnation of Aqours. She is talented in diving and ship handling, probably because she lives with her grandfather on the offshore island Awashima. Without further ado, お名前は？
Family Name: 松浦(matsu.ura)
松浦(matsu.ura) seems to be a fairly common family name in Japan, appearing in a few sites among the 150 most used surnames. 松(matsu) is the word for pine tree and a multitude of prefixes and suffixes can be added to create different ideas, like 若松(waka.matsu; young pine, symbolic for New Year) and 松明(tai.matsu or shou.mei; torch made of pine). By adding 海(umi; sea), we get 海松(mi.ru), a kind of seaweed native to Japanese coast. Given Kanan-chan background this is a nice finding, especially when the other kanji that former her name, 浦, is also related to the sea. 浦(ura) is the word for bay or seashore, sometimes also used to describe a beach. We then have 海浦(kai.ho; seaside) and 曲浦(kyoku.ho; winding coast). This last one is very interesting because 曲(kyoku; song) brings the idea of the seaside wind turning into a melody. This kanji is also used in the school name, 浦の星女学院(ura.no.hoshi.jo.gaku.in), where 浦の星 means Seaside Star. Her has deep ties with the sea for at least a few generations from what we know, so this surname is very fitting.
- 松浦(matsu.ura) ナナセ(nanase) from Macross F (2008)
- 松浦(matsu.ura) 万作(man.saku) from Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin (2010)
- 松浦(matsu.ura) 遊(yuu) from Marmalade Boy (1994-1995)
Given Name: 果南(ka.nan)
果南(ka.nan) has no direct reference to the sea, but there are some hidden treasures here as well. 果 is used in two verbs that are correlated to the first iteration of Aqours: 果たす(ha.tasu) and 果てる(ha.teru). While both can bring the idea of completing, achieving or fulfilling something, the second one, 果てる, can also be used to say that something died or was extinguished and here we are reminded of how Kanan chose to end Aqours for the sake of Mari.
南(minami) indicates the South, present in words like 南極(nan.kyoku; South Pole) and 南米(nan.bei; South America). A peculiar word, at least from my personal background, is 指南(shi.nan; literally: indicating/pointing towards the South), which means instruction, coaching, teaching. In my native language, an expression with similar purpose would use North instead of South. Granted, Japan is in the Northern Hemisphere while my own country is in the Southern one… although I can’t really tell this is relevant or not. Either way, linking “coaching” to Kanan isn’t really that hard, mostly due to her already mature and disciplined behavior.
There are a few characters named Kanan in Anime/Manga culture, but none uses this same kanji combination.
黒澤(kuro.sawa) ダイヤ(daiya), Ruby’s onee-san. Dia is prideful and perfectionist, something emphasized since before she (re)joined Aqours. She speaks a very refined and formal style of Japanese (including the usage of わ at the end of sentences) and is even knowledgeable in the art of wearing kimono. お名前は？
Family Name: 黒澤(kuro.sawa)
We explored a bit of this name when speaking about her 妹(imouto; younger sister) in Ruby, Hanamaru and Yoshiko – onamae wa?. It does fit much better for Dia, considering the failure of the original Aqours and how she drowned herself into a swamp since then. Considering the color black, it is anyway a much better fit for Dia than Ruby.
Given Name: ダイヤ(daiya)
Kyra, why are you writing it as Dia when it should be Daiya?
Well, you know, Japanese is a tricky language for many reasons and foreign words are one of them. ダイヤ(daiya) has a few meanings, but the one relevant here is an abbreviation from ダイヤモンド(daiyamondo; diamond). It could also be used as abbreviation of ダイアグラム(daiyaguramu; diagram), or as another word for dyer or schedule (when talking about trains or buses). If we write it as ディア(dia), then the pronunciation will be off from the original intent. Ugh, think I made it more complicated than necessary. Sorry. As a simple rule, katakana most of the time tries to emulate the sound of the word with Japanese phonems, not its writing. So, for Diamond, you don’t try to write Diamond, bur rather Daiyamond, which becomes Daiyamondo, which then turns into ダイヤモンド. From the point of view of an English speaker though, seeing it written as Daiya is weird, so I chose to stick to Dia, as Crunchyroll also did.
Fancy Japanese shenanigans aside, we can at least agree that Diamond is an appropriate name for a refined girl like Dia-chan.
Other characters named after gemstones:
- 川島(kawa.shima) 緑輝(read as Sapphire. THESE PARENTS THO) Hibike! Euphonium. SEASON 2 HYPE
- ルビー (ruby) from Ange Vierge (2016)
- ツワブキ(tsuwabuki) ダイヤ(daiya) from Gaiking: Legend of Daiku-Maryu (2005-2006)
小原(o.hara) 鞠莉(ma.ri) is a daughter of a Italian-American father and a Japanese mother. Her family seems to be very rich and her upbringing made her accent sway every so often and randomly inserting English words into her speech. She has a very cheerful personality and was very active into getting Aqours back in track, unknowing that Kanan had failed on purpose for her sake. Let’s check her name. お名前は？
Family Name: 小原(o.hara)
小原(o.hara) is formed by two kanji we already explored here. 小 has been seen over and over, while 原 was featured in the recent Yuki Kurihara and Shinya Momotsuki – onamae wa? from Momokuri. Together they mean small field but we can come up with something quite interesting here. By using the primitive/original/base idea of 原, we can then point out that 小原(o.hara) indicates a small beginning., which can then be directly related to the initial formation of Aqours, a crucial stepping stone for the current group. This name can be read in various ways, including Obara, Kohara, Kobara, Obaru, Owaru, Kobara, Kobaru, Owara.
- タチ(tachi) オハラ(ohara) from Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-1980)
- スカーレット(sukaaretto) 小原(o.hara) from Ai Tenshi densetsu Wedding Peach (1995-1996)
- 小原(o.bara) 豊(yutaka) from Haikyuu!! (2014)
Given Name: 鞠莉(ma.ri)
We can safely say that her parents first chose Mari as her name, to later find a kanji combination to match. 鞠莉(ma.ri) is formed by two 人名用漢字(jin.mei.you.kan.ji), which describe characters that are mainly used for names nowadays or very, very specific words. 鞠(mari) is used to describe a type of ball used in a Sport from ancient Japan, 蹴鞠(ke.mari; literally foot and ball), which consisted in players cooperating in keeping one ball in the air without using their arms or hands. Maybe her father was fond of it? I don’t know why then you would name your kid after a ball!
As we have seen in Rino’s name in Tanakeda – onamae wa?, 莉 is jasmine and this flower’s name comes from Arabic, meaning “a gift from God”. So stop for a moment and try to think about a ball smelling jasmine, sent from the Heavens. Yup. That is our Mari-chan!
There is a vast amount of characters named Mari in Anime & Manga, but no one had ever came up with this unusual combination of kanji. Guess authors just aren’t very found of 蹴鞠(ke.mari).
Now that we have seen her full name, there is a detail here pointed out by @ComunCoutinho. While it might be clear for most people that 鞠莉(ma.ri) is a name that acts as both an English and Japanese name (as it can be seen as Mary or as an abbreviation of Marianne), O’hara is also a common English surname, being the anglicized form of an Irish one. This makes her whole name being at the same time Japanese and English.
We did it! Three weeks later, we covered all nine members of Aqours! Plenty of unique names, unusual kanji and hidden gems. My favorite one was finding out about how you can create Yohane out of Yoshiko using the kanji for black feather, as we saw in Ruby, Hanamaru and Yoshiko – onamae wa?.
Thanks all for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading! Next time we will wrap up Summer in preparation for Fall 2016. See you all next weekend!