Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #62, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
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Our guest today is 富士田(fujita) 多々良(tatara), main protagonist of ボールルームへようこそ (Welcome to the Ballroom), a shounen sport (?) Anime that is currently airing on Summer 2017. This post considers the dance steps learned up to Episode 2, so keep them in mind to avoid spoiling your presentation.
富士田(fujita) 多々良(tatara) carries the usual traits of shounen protagonists: gets bullied, thinks life is boring but deeply inside he is just waiting for someone to come and pull him outside that dull world into something magical. Luckily for him, Sengoku fulfilled this role by dragging him into the world of Ballroom Dancing and it seems like Tatara might just have some knack for it. Let’s check his name out. お名前は？
Family Name: 富士田(fujita)
Hmm. 富士田(fujita) is a rare surname, with about only 400 bearers in whole Japan (Source), 14,254th on overall ranking. Actually, let me correct myself. The kanji used in 富士田 are rare, while its reading is very common. When I first heard “Fujita” in this show I thought of the current 34th most used Surname in Japan with roughly 380,000 bearers: 藤田(fuji.ta). If you have a good memory, yes, this is yet another one of the 藤原(fuji.wara) related names, as we have seen over and over here in this blog, most recently two weeks ago when talking about Megumi-chan from Saekano on [Onamae wa #61]. So… maybe the author picked these specific kanji set for a reason? Let’s check each of them!
富 is a common kanji, its main idea reflect in the noun 富(tomi; wealth, resources) and its verb 富む(to.mu; to be rich, to be abundant). Some fancy words include 種類豊富(shu.rui.hou.fu; diverse, rich in variety) and 富豪(fu.gou; millionaire, wealthy person). Following the premise of a typical shounen show, Sengoku sees in Tatara an unpolished but valuable gem, someone with abundant talent, yet to be revealed.
士 is a very important and recurring kanji, often featured as the last kanji of a word to indicate a certain profession, especially those who are licensed or certified in some other way, as in 弁護士(ben.go.shi; lawyer) and 博士(haku.shi; doctorate, PhD). Following a similar idea we have 紳士(shin.shi; gentleman) and 同士(dou.shi; companion, comrade).
田 doesn’t carry much additional meaning here. Just the good old environment / scenery idea. It is also a leftover of the original 藤田(fujita) name.
If it hasn’t crossed your mind yet, 富士(fuji) is also “the” Fuji from 富士山(fujisan; Mt. Fuji), one of the most iconic symbols of Japan. The word ‘Fuji’ predates the kanji used to describe the mountain and it is unclear what was the original idea behind it. A few theories mentioned on Wikipedia include 不死(fushi; immortal), 不二(not + two, meaning without equal) and 不尽(not + exhaust, meaning never ending). I point this out because similarly to our weekly encounter here, it is very easy to come up with explanations for how a huge variety of kanji combinations can match whatever meaning you wish. This doesn’t make it less interesting, but further demonstrates the enormous potential of kanji in Nomenclature and Literature in general.
Back to Tatara-kun, in 富士田(fujita) we see then a rich man on a rice field. Putting aside the not relevant rice field and going further abstract gives us 富士田(fujita) as a man with abundant resources. It is a shounen show, mind you. This is the stereotypical trait of every shounen protagonist. Because “riches, wealth and resources” are very abrangent terms not restricted to money, this can fit into anything from Deku from Boku no Hero Academia, to Goku in DBZ, to Tsubasa in Captain Tsubasa, Luffy in One Piece and yes, Tatara in Ballroom.
No others 富士田(fujita) in Anime, except for Tatara’s father. Plenty of 藤田(fujita):
- 藤田(fujita) 靖子(yasuko) from Saki (Spring 2009)
- 藤田(fujita) 優衣(yui) from High School Fleet (Spring 2016)
- 藤田(fujita) 鉄治(tetsuharu) from Robotics;Notes (Fall 2012)
Given Name: 多々良(tatara)
多々良(tatara) exists as Given Name, as Surname and even as a word itself. As a Surname it is a bit more common than 富士田(fujita), being the 4,011th most common with roughly 3,000 bearers (Source).
多 is a very common kanji, present in words like 多い(oo.i; many, frequent) and 多分(ta.bun; perhaps, probably, generous). Coincidentally it reinforces the idea of abundance brought by 富 in 富士田(fujita), with the word 過多(ka.ta; overabundance) being a more precise example of how they overlap. The character 々 appeared recently when we spoke of both Utaha-senpai and Eriri from Saekano, in 多々良(tatara) being a case similar to the later.
良 is a common kanji as well, present in everyday words like 良い(yo.i or i.i; good, excellent, ready) and 良好(ryou.kou; favorable, satisfactory). Other words that fit well into our context are 良質(ryou.shitsu; good quality) and 改良(kai.ryou; improvement). Once again we have a kanji describing a positive trait, similar to 富 in 富士田(fujita).
Thus we have 多々良(tatara), the very skilled one. Stopping here would be suffice to point out how this name fits the overall idea of a shounen show but there is yet another marvelous coincidence here. One that both balances out the overwhelming amount of positive kanji in both Surname and Given Name explored today. Before we head into it, let’s sidetrack a little bit.
鑪(tatara) is a traditional Japanese furnace used for smelting iron and steel, including but not exclusive to those dedicated to the forging of the famous Japanese swords. According to Wikipedia, the etymology here is vague, possibly coming from India or Central Asia. One of the ideas mentions the word taatara from Sanskrit meaning heat, which seems a fairly good hypothesis. In Chinese, the original kanji was 踏鞴(tatara), which came to also describe the foot bellows often used to operate these furnaces.
As you can probably notice, these system requires a footwork to correct function. This culminated in the expression 踏鞴を踏む(tatara wo fumu), which describes a situation when you stumble a step or two forward when failing to stop or to put it simply, to move in a feeble or unsteady way.
Hah! What a coincidence that the protagonist of a show that involves a footwork heavy sport has a name that involves a footwork process and an expression that involves moving in an unsteady way. What are the odds?!
- 十束(to.tsuka) 多々良(tatara) from K (Fall 2012)
- 多々良(tatara) from Log Horizon 2nd Season (Fall 2014)
- 多々良(tatara) 五十六(isoroku) from Triage X (Spring 2015)
富士田(fujita) 多々良(tatara), the rookie with abundant talent that will someday overcome his unsteady steps on his way to the top.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed your reading. This show is among my four favorites so far on Summer 2017, so if you haven’t given it a chance, please accept my sincere recommendations. See you all next weekend!