Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #56, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Our guest today is 石田(ishi.da) 将也(shou.ya), main protagonist of Koe no Katachi, a school drama movie which premiered in theaters back in September 2016, with DVDs and Blu-Rays being finally released now in May 2017. This post contain enough spoilers to make you deaf.
石田(ishi.da) 将也(shou.ya), nicknamed Shou-kun (and Yaashou), our main character. From bully to bullied and later on from saved to savior. Most of us will hold either despise or compassion towards him throughout the movie, sometimes forgetting that he is just a kid caring for attention. Let’s check his name out. お名前は？
Family Name: 石田(ishi.da)
Ohh, very common surname! 59th most used in Japan, featuring around 268.000 bearers (Source, last updated in 2017). This name dates quite while back and uses that pattern we have seen here over and over about describing an environmental feature, possibly associating with the local where a given family used to dwell.
石 most generic form is 石(ishi; stone), which can then be used in multitude of situations, ranging from 石炭(seki.tan; lit. carbon rock, meaning coal), 宝石(hou.seki; lit. valuable stone, meaning gem, jewel) or 化石(ka.seki; lit. stone that suffered a transformation, meaning fossil). There aren’t many abstract words for this kanji, but one that comes to mind is 石頭(ishi.atama; blockheaded, inflexible person). I wouldn’t really choose this to describe Shou-kun, though.
田basic form is 田(ta; rice field). By derivation it is commonly associated with countryside, as in 田舎(inaka; rural area, countryside) and 田園(den.en; rural area, cultivated fields). It sometimes appear as a suffix to simply describe a field of something, as in 油田(yu.den; oil field) or 塩田(en.den; salterns).
By following the previous mentioned pattern, 石田(ishi.da) is thus rocky field, or even a land with a hard crust. In the first possibility, the field is actually not bad for growth, but there are rocks everywhere that prevent it from being a good, productive land. On the second possibility we have a land that isn’t exactly bad when you look from outside, but if you try to dig in and delve deep into it, you will face a hard time going through its almost impregnable thickness. I’m sure you can associate both concepts with Shou-kun, his younger days and later development.
Others 石田(ishi.da) in Anime:
- 石田(ishi.da) 雨竜(u.ryuu) from Bleach (Fall 2004)
- 石田(ishi.da) ヤマト(yamato) from Digimon Series (Spring 1999)
- 石田(ishi.da) 美也子(mi.ya.ko) from Koe no Katachi (YUP, THIS MOVIE)
美也子(mi.ya.ko) is a interesting name for a beautician. While it can surely be understood directly as a beautiful child, we have seen on [Onamae wa #21] that X + 也 often appears as a combination denoting someone who is really good at X or someone who is a good example of X. By combining it with 美(bi; beauty), present in 美容院(bi.you.in; beauty parlor), we can see 美也子(mi.ya.ko) as the child who is really good in beauty (related activities). As always, probably not intentional.
Given Name: 将也(shou.ya)
Hah! Just a few lines ago we were talking about X + 也 patterns and here we go again. On top of using uncommon kanji, this name also features rather distinct readings, including 将也(shou.ya), 将也(masa.ya), 将也(masa.nari), 将也(kazu.ya) and 将也(nobu.ya), all of them being considered unusual or hard to grasp by common people.
将 is known for… wait. 将. 将. 将. This is not the kanji that I want! 将. 将. 将.
Oh, alright. Seems like 将 is one of those cases…
All three symbols above represent the same concept. Number 3 is the archaic version, while the others are both used nowadays. If your computer is using Unicode, it will probably come up with number 2, while written form (as far as I am aware) is number 1. So regardless of how 将 appears to you, for the sake of this post, consider as it were number 1. Thanks and back to the topic…
When thinking about 将, three words come to mind. 将軍(shou.gun; general), 将棋(shou.gi; Shougi, japanese chess) and 将来(shou.rai; future). On the first two the concept is the same: commanding. In Koe no Katachi we see Shou-kun leading the bullying against Nishimiya in his early days and also how he would try, in his own way, to protect those within his group from outsiders.
At the (nerve-wracking) scene above, Shouya is partially trying to help out Ueno by bullying Nishimiya, as he had seen her earlier complaints about having to help out our deaf heroine. Later on Shou-kun, as those who usually take on the mantle of command, receive the full blow of responsibility of the devilish deeds, even though he wasn’t the only doing them.
As mentioned before, 也 was seen with more detail on [Onamae wa #21], when we explored Momo-kun from Momokuri, while also covering a bit of Tatsuya from Mahouka and Izaya from Durarara!. Here it follows a similar idea, emphasizing the previous kanji.
Thus in 将也(shou.ya) we see a natural-born general or even the one who truly leads, a fitting point for his past self but… what about the current Shouya? If we pursue the path of 将来(shou.rai; future), will something different will come up?
In this context the idea of 将 is closely related to something that will happen from now on, indicating that there is a starting point or event for this future (even if it is solely “now”). 将也(shou.ya) could then describe the one who focus on the future or the one who emphasizes the from now on rather than the past. To which I will promptly hold my hands high and scream together with you: “wait a moment!”. Our protagonist drama is exactly the opposite, as we see him being hung up in his past deeds, unable to overcome his childish acts (yeah, he was a kid but…). And surely, this is exactly the case, but as the story unfold we see that this is a struggle that he slowly overcomes. By the end of the movie we can happily see him as someone who is able to focus on the future rather than stay on the past.
On this scene Nagatsuka-kun introduces the alias やーしょー(yaashou) as a nickname for Shouya, stating that “doesn’t it looks like ‘big friend’?”. Putting aside the obvious inversion of Shouya into Yaashou, I can’t really say exactly the reasoning behind this, but I’ll give it a shot. The later part, ‘shou’, probably comes from 相(shou; a kanji that appear in a lot of affinity related words) and ‘yaa’ definitely gives off an aura of something great, as in the onomatopoeia ‘yaa!’, often used in Japanese daily informal conversation. This would then lead やーしょー(yaashou) to indeed depict something like “great affinity”. I wonder if this was the real intention…
Other 将也(shou.ya) in Anime:
- 和銅(wa.dou) 将也(masa.ya) from Witchblade (Spring 2006)
This is the only other bearer I could find and even then it uses a different reading. Beggars can’t be choosers!
石田(ishi.da) 将也(shou.ya), the rocky field who strives to lead a better harvest.
Thanks all for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. I had originally planned to write about Ueno, as her name has some interesting ideas around her personality, but turned out Ishida had plenty of material for a whole post. Last week I had some personal issues and could not make a post, so instead I will try to write again about Koe no Katachi over this next week, before going back to covering characters from Spring 2017 Anime. If you haven’t watched Koe no Katachi, do yourself a favor. See you all then!