Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #59, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Homu Utaha did almost nothing wrong.
Our guest today is 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) 詩羽(uta.ha), one of the three main heroines of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, an Ecchi Harem Anime having its second season currently airing on Spring 2017. This post considers events up to Episode 10 of Season 2. Metronomical spoilers!
霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) 詩羽(uta.ha) plays the role of the “beautiful, intelligent, composed and graceful” heroine in Saekano. She joined the Doujin Circle driven by her personal interest in Tomoya-kun, originally a huge fan of her work who heavily contributed to her success as a writer due to his almost fanatical devotion into reviewing her novel series on his blog. That being said, I see Utaha as a career driven person. While she waived on these over the course of the series, ultimately I (at least want to) believe that she loves her job as a writer much more than Tomoya is passionate about his dream of creating the best galge ever. Enough for now, let’s head into her name. お名前は？
Family Name: 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka)
Upon my first glance on 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) I swore that this would be a rather common name because it exists already in train stations and features a pattern of environment description that so often appears in family names. To my surprise, it isn’t even featured on 苗字由来.net, my main source for this kind of data. Further research brought up that this fact didn’t pass unnoticed by other people as well, such as this Japanese Blog post on Saekano commenting that roughly 98.83% of all surnames in Japan are featured on 苗字由来.net, which makes 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) a really, really rare choice by the author. Question is… was there any intention behind that?
霞 is mostly known for 霞(kasumi; haze, mist). Nice word in 雲霞(un.ka; fleeing, disappearing) and two beautiful weather related ones, 紅霞(kou.ka; crimson-tinted clouds during a sunset) and 朝霞(asa.kasumi; morning glow). From 霞(kasumi) we also have the verb 霞む(kasu.mu), that in a more concrete sense means “to become misty”, “to become hazy”. Go a bit more into the abstract world and you get “to get blurry”, “to grow dim”. Fully embrace it and you get the word that fully describes our heroine:
霞む(kasu.mu): to be overshadowed, to be upstaged, to be outshone
To be overshadowed. This is Utaha’s fate, at least up to now. Upstaged in the love game by Kato. Outshone in the creative world by Eriri, being relegated as a mere extra by Akane Kousaka.
丘 is a very simple kanji meaning 丘(oka; hill). Related words include 砂丘(sak.kyuu; sand dune) and 墳丘(fun.kyuu; grave mound). We have seen a variant of it a few months ago when talking about Hana-chan from Kuzu no Honkai on [Onamae wa #41] and from there I quote:
Aside of a variant kanji for 丘(oka; hill), 岡 isn’t used in many common words. That being said, it is still widely known because it appears in the name of a plethora of places such as 福岡(fuku.oka; lit. Blessed Hill), 静岡(shizu.oka; lit. Calm Hill), 高岡(taka.oka; lit. High Hill). Considering that pattern of surnames describing environment that we recurrently see here on [Onamae wa?], I expect the above to be of no surprise to frequent readers.
That aside, I don’t see 丘 playing any meaningful role in 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka).
You may have noticed that I omitted one character up there on the initial list for this Family Name. I did so because ヶ fulfill many purposes in Japanese Language, but for the sake of simplicity I’ll just say that in this case it simply acts as a possessive like the most common の(no).
Put everything together and you get 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka), its most intuitive meaning being Hill of the Haze or Misty Hill. Going back to the abstract idea previously discussed and we can draw many images of a hill that overshadows its surroundings. Hmm. Or maybe the hill itself ended up being overshadowed? As we will see next week when talking about Eriri, her name brings something that could tie greatly into this idea.
No others 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) in Anime!
Given Name: 詩羽(uta.ha)
While 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) relation to our heroine only fully blossomed recently on Season 2, maybe 詩羽(uta.ha) was a perfect fit for her from the very start.
詩 is directly related to literature through the word 詩(shi; poetry) or, more precisely, 詩歌(shii.ka; Japanese and Chinese poetry). I personally love 風物詩(fuu.butsu.shi), a term that describes things that reminds one of a particular season or poem about a particular season. The reading shi is also why her manager call Utaha by Shi-chan, first shown on Season 1, Episode 4.
羽 is a very common kanji, featured in words like 羽根(ha.ne; feather) and 羽織る(ha.o.ru; to put on). It is also the counter for birds, as in 一羽(ichi.wa; one bird) and 二羽(ni.wa; two birds). A very interesting expression is 切羽詰まる(sep.pa.tsu.maru), featuring kanji for cutting, wings and pressure to denote a situation where someone is cornered with no further resources. Going back to literature, there is yet another related word in 羽ペン(hane.pen; quill pen).
Put both together and you get 詩羽(uta.ha), a quill pen. It can stay simple as that, seriously. If you think about Poetry + Feather, I can hardly imagine someone not conjuring the idea of a Quill Pen right away. But it doesn’t really stop here. As noted on the Japanese website namehintbox, 詩 in a name denotes that the person possess a superior ability when it comes to express emotions, something that Utaha is known for given her success with Koi no Metronome. As for 羽, the emphasized idea is about freedom, the bearer of a name with this kanji being someone who is ultimately led by its own will. And as we have seen on the recent developments, whether you think Utaha was right or wrong, she did follow her own will. A better concise write up on this can be found on Shokamoka’s post about Season 2 Episode 9.
Oh, speaking of ぺん(pen), Utaha’s pen name is 霞(kasumi) 詩子(uta.ko). Nothing special here, I guess. We have seen 子 here over and over, but if you are new around (Welcome!) it simply means kid, child or a more feminine way to address an young girl.
No others 詩羽(uta.ha) in Anime!
霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) 詩羽(uta.ha), the girl holding a quill pen who reached the very top of a hill only to find herself overshadowed by mountains.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. As we draw closer to the end of Season 2, I can only pray that we won’t have to wait yet another 2-3 years before a Season 3 of this great work. See you all next weekend as we continue to dive into Saekano’s main characters!