Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #61, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Simple is best.
Our guest today is 加藤(ka.tou) 恵(megumi), one of the three main heroines of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, an Ecchi Harem Anime that had its second season aired on Spring 2017. This post considers both Season 1 and 2, so watch out for spoilers!
Ahh, that feeling when your show is blessed with a true goddess. Yes, I’m biased towards 加藤(ka.tou) 恵(megumi), sorry. Megumi plays the role of a bland, generic heroine. Or rather, she started out like that, steadily growing over the series into a very well built character. Her combination of monotone voice, expressionless reactions and overall (apparent) lack of care with the world lead the other members of blessing software to believe she is lacking as a heroine. Rookie mistake! Let’s check her name out, お名前は？
Family Name: 加藤(ka.tou)
加藤(ka.tou) is the 10th most common surname in contemporary Japan, with roughly 893,000 bearers. This is one of the many names derived from 藤原(fuji.wara), one of the most powerful clans in Japanese history, exercising political and military influence over many centuries. Let’s check each kanji isolated then we will get back to 加藤 itself.
加 main ideas that I’d like to emphasize are present in words like 増加(zou.ka; increase, growth) and and 加担(ka.tan; support, complicity). These two concepts describe Megumi’s character perfectly. One could really summarize Saekano as the story of Megumi’s growth (Heck, we are talking about a series named How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) and her (almost) unwavering support for Tomoya.
藤 is the main link between the derived surnames and the original 藤原(fuji.wara). This kanji doesn’t really seem to play any direct tie with Megumi herself, but we have ran into it multiple times already in our adventures here on [Onamae wa] and here I quote the first instance, when we covered 刀藤(tou.dou)綺凛(ki.rin) from Asterisk War on [Onamae wa #8]:
藤 is the kanji symbolizing the wisteria type of plants, most specifically the Wisteria floribunda, commonly known as Japanese wisteria.
Alright, back to 加藤(ka.tou). 藤原(fuji.wara) means *fields of wisterias* and here it is clear that the dominant feature are *wisterias*, not *field*. Following this idea, when the Fujiwara were settling around other regions, they would often create a new name while keeping the relation to Wisteria. Thus we have 伊藤(i.tou), from people of the 藤原(fuji.wara) clan that settled around 伊勢(i.se) and 加藤(ka.tou), from those who stayed in 加賀(ka.ga). The most common surname in Japan, 佐藤(sa.tou), comes from a slightly different pattern. 右兵衛佐(yuu.hyou.e.sa; Vice Chief of Right Wing Imperial Guards) was an official post of military officers and the Fujiwara who took up this post was called 佐藤(sa.tou; lit. the one who assists the Fujiwara). As a side note, it is estimated that around 25% of all Japanese are descendants from the Fujiwara Clan.
The previous paragraph might sound totally unrelated to Megumi but think for a moment. Over the last few weeks we have dealt with the extremely rare surname 霞ヶ丘(kasumi.ga.oka) and a throughfully crafted given name in 英梨々(e.ri.ri). Even if you pick 澤村(sawa.mura), its representativity on the overall Japanese surname scenario pales when compared to the overwhelming presence of 藤原(fuji.wara) related names. My point here is that 加藤(ka.tou) is an extremely common name. Almost generic. Ring any bells? Intentional or not, there is a glaring discrepancy between the choice of both surnames and names for Utaha/Eriri as opposed to Megumi. Once we add the huge meaningful value of 加 on Saekano/Megumi plot mentioned earlier, it is fair to consider this a very well picked surname.
- 加藤(ka.tou) 勝(masara) from Gantz (Spring 2004)
- 加藤(ka.tou) 樹莉(ju.ri) from Digimon Tamers (Spring 2001)
- 加藤(ka.tou) 葉月(ha.duki) from Hibike! Euphonium (Spring 2015)
Given Name: 恵(megumi)
恵(megumi). Simple and straightforward. This kanji is featured in a myriad of names, being featured in the Top 10 Most Given Names in a given year various times, according to this site. This was most noticeable right after World War II, when from 1946 to 1972 the name 恵子(kei.ko; lit. blessed child) would remarkably feature on the Top 10 every single year. After that, from 1973 to 1988, it was the time for 恵(megumi) to shine on Top 10 lists. Unsurprisingly, this kanji being highlighted for such long time made it very popular among women, a fact that still remains. If you go to this site and input 恵 in its search, you will get 36 pages of 50 entries each for registered names. I mean, seriously. I don’t have exact data here but it is safe to say that, similarly to 加藤(ka.tou), 恵(megumi) is also very common. Almost generic.
By now it should be obvious, including Utaha-senpai mentioning it on S1E9, but the very name picked by Tomoya, blessing software, is a homage to Megumi. True love right there.
Some interesting vocabulary include: 天の恵み(ten.no.megu.mi; God’s blessing), a clear reference to our Megumi; and 最恵国(sai.kei.koku; most favored nation), because our Megumi was clearly the favorite from starting line. Also, we have explored this name already a long time when checking Tadokoro-chan from Shokugeki no Souma (link). From there I quote:
Two other interesting points that came up were 互恵 (go.kei; mutual benefit) and the expression 三人寄れば文殊の知恵 (san.nin.yo.reba.mon.ju.no.chi.e; equivalent to the English expression two heads are better than one). Both symbolize helping and receiving help, reciprocity. This is very well depicted in her relationship with Souma-kun.
While this reciprocity was something that Tadokoro had to give her best to repay, in Saekano we had Katou having to almost slap the reality into Tomoya’s face to get him to realize that receiving help is also part of being in good relationship.
- 天使(ama.tsuka) 恵(megumi) from GJ-bu (Winter 2013) MISS HER SO MUCH
- 千早(chi.haya) 恵(megumi) from Servant x Service (Summer 2013)
- 岸本(Kishi.moto) 恵(kei) from Gantz (Spring 2004)
Purposely put Kei there to point out that this reading is commonly used for males. I haven’t watched Gantz, so I can’t really say anything further.
加藤(ka.tou) 恵(megumi), the commonplace girl we all wished was really commonplace enough so we could receive her blessing on a daily basis.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. I truly hope we will be able to see a Season 3 within our lifetime. Already suffering from lack of weekly Megumi. On a brighter note, we’ve gone through one more Season! Yay. This blog started on Spring 2016 so seeing Spring 2017 left behind gives me a warm feeling that somehow this turned out better than I could have ever expected. Thank you and see you all next weekend as we dive into Summer 2017!