Hello, Kyra here! This is Onamae wa? #90, our weekly encounter where we pick Anime character’s names and look for anything interesting in them.
Today we will check 鳴宮 (naru.miya) 湊 (minato), main character of Tsurune, Kyoto Animation’s series about Japanese archery that is currently airing in Fall 2018. Keep in mind that this post cover events up to Episode 3.
鳴宮 (naru.miya) 湊 (minato)
The official website briefly describes 鳴宮 (naru.miya) 湊 (minato)’s background as a boy who got into Japanese archery after watching an event with his mother but later on in Middle School dropped his activities for personal reasons. As we have explored yesterday when checking the meaning behind each episode’s title, Minato had chosen to seclude himself instead of facing his issues. Fortunately, he is surrounded by great friends and seems to have an almost inherent trait of attracting people towards him. Let’s check his name for any potential coincidences!
Family Name: 鳴宮 (naru.miya)
鳴宮 (naru.miya) exists as a real name, although very rare. It is at the 66,569th rank among all Japanese family names with only a couple of dozen bearers (Source, JPN). It traces back to a Shrine in Shiga Prefecture that goes by the same name.
鳴 is featured among many words related to the act of emitting sounds, including 鳴く (na.ku; to sing [bird]), 共鳴 (kyou.mei; resonance, sympathy), 鳴り響く (na.ri.hibi.ku; to echo, to resound, to have one’s fame spread). The immediate link that comes to mind is that a major plot point in this series is the 弦音 (tsuru.ne), the sound that a Japanese bow makes after you fire an arrow.
Over two years ago, we checked 宮 on [Onamae wa #8] when exploring Saya-chan from Asterisk War. From there I quote:
(…) we also have 宮, present in words like 神宮(jin.guu; High Status Shinto Shrine), 王宮(ou.kyuu; royal palace) and 宮様(miya.sama; prince or princess). (…)
The main idea covered by 宮 is that of royalty or something related to Shintoism. As a related note, Japanese archery is directly related to Shintoism and many purifying rituals involve the use of bows and arrows.
Thus we have 鳴宮 (naru.miya), a shrine that resonates or maybe singing prince. At the end of Episode 1 we saw Minato being lured into a shrine by a tsurune sound from Takigawa’s training and how that resonated within him. As for singing prince, a good archer is able to draw beautiful sounds from his bow. Hopefully we will see Minato once again claiming his spot among what I would call bowsingers.
No others 鳴宮 (naru.miya) in Anime, a great sign that it can’t be just a coincidence that this Family Name fits this character so well.
Given Name: 湊 (minato)
湊 (minato) exists as a given name although it seems like the reading Minato is at least slightly more frequent for girls (Source; JPN). Male options seems to often use the ‘Sou’ reading as in 湊太 (sou.ta), 湊真 (sou.ma) and 湊一郎 (sou.ichi.rou). Although this is not a strict rule, this clearly reminds me of how the characters from Free! also had feminine names. This is vastly anecdotal though, as Ryouhei, Seiya and Kaito are rather masculine names (Nanao is a bit off, right?).
湊 is nowadays used mostly as a kanji variant for 港 (minato; port, harbor). There is a subtle difference in that while 港 exclusively refers to a place near lakes or the sea where boats and ships are gathered, 湊 also includes the gathering of people.
This is a reflection of its origin in the kanji 奉 that also carries the idea of gathering or getting people together. The original idea of 奉 was that of making offerings in reverence or respect, also closely related to Shintoism practices. As these offerings would often be gathered in a single place, the kanji gradually also received the connotation of gathering things. Later on by adding the suffix for water 氵we reached 湊, which became a place where water gathers.
In 2004 湊 was included in the list of allowed kanji for names. A few years later it rose quite well among popular kanji in baby names. The main selling point is that similarly to how a 湊 is surrounded by water, boats, ships and people, parents would add this kanji in hope to have their kid surrounded by good friends (Source, JPN).
This idea is reflected in many points of the series so far but it is rather evident in the Ending Scene. Minato is the glue that binds up everyone around him. Ryouhei, Seiya, Nanao and even Kaito, all of them are being attracted by Minato’s inherent leadership and charisma.
Others 湊 (minato) in Anime:
- 長瀬 (naga.se) 湊 (minato) from Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (Fall 2008)
- 湊 (minato) 智花 (tomo.ka) from Ro-Kyu-Bu! (Summer 2011)
- 有里 (ari.sato) 湊 (minato) from Persona 3 Movies (2013~2016)
鳴宮 (naru.miya) 湊 (minato)
A friendly port that gathers devoted friends with its sacred song.
Thanks all for your time, hope you enjoyed your reading. My admiration for both Japanese archery and Kyoto Animation made me pick Tsurune but fortunately the series is so far really good. Well, if you are expecting an action packed story, a harem setting with jiggling physics or even yaoi development, you might skip this one. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. If still in doubt, here are a few blog reviews about Episodes 1 and 2 that you might find useful:
Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Japan for a few weeks so both [Kotoba] and [Onamae wa] will be taking a 3-weeks hiatus. See you all in December!