Having watched so many anime and read so much manga, I feel that the eastern order of surname followed by first name is much cooler. "Uchiha Sasuke" sounds much more intimidating than "Sasuke Uchiha," for example.
The reason that it is altered is because not too many English-speaking cultures, or even European cultures, refer a person by surname first. Eastern cultures see more emphasis on the family rather than an individual.
For example, we don't refer to the President of the United States by "Obama Barack," his legal and birth name is "Barack Obama." This is by no means international disrespect; this is simply the difference between eastern and western cultures. The world is not one single-minded place; there are many different types of peoples and customs.
What an interesting discussion. I'm actually surprised to see some people talking about it, so here's some thoughts on the subject:
1. Oriental cultures do care about surnames. It's not that they like it because it sounds pretty, but in fact, the stories are built upon family clashes. Naruto is no exception: it's basically the story of a primitive city created from the feudal economy of clans; every family is phisically different from others; there are conflicts of power and stories that shape the whole manga.
2. Fansubs and scanlations are made by hardcore fans for the hardcore fans. I mean, we're talking about translators with some level of expertise, and some of them must be professionals in their 20's or 30's that please the anime-wise fans. Sure, there are other demographics who enjoy them as well, but the target audience for the translations are people who usually do know how names and surnames are switched in Japanese.
3. Translators are merely translating, not adapting the work. Hence the widespread use of Japan's mythological symbols, emphatized concepts and sometimes even puns into their work. The order of names is one of those things, and let's be honest: there are more complicated things than the names, to the extent that a manga or anime fan is pretty much forced to learn about what they're reading. Gladly, there are tones of sources of information such as this fine forum, and that's what it's here for, isn't it?
About Kushina's name. I think the meaning of her name is mostly drawn from the context of where the name comes from and the connections it has with the rest of her family. Most likely anyone in Japan would relate her to Kushinada-hime. Kushinada was Susanoo's wife. Susanoo was the god of the sea and storms. Kushina was Minato's wife. "Uzumaki Naruto" and "Namikaze Minato" are both names that have to do with tempetuous water/sea conditions.
Same with Jiraiya and Tsunade's name. It's not really meaningful to directly translate the kanji but to rather look at the mythology in which they appear.
Mikoto and Fugaku's names both also have to do with Japanese mythology. Fugaku is another name for Mt. Fuji, a sacred location. And Mikoto apparently means life/deity but it seems more important that it's used to name gods like Susanoo-no-Mikoto and Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto.
I’m wondering the name’s meaning of Itachi Uchiha, うちはイタチ.
When I read “Itachi” first time, I imagined “Japanese mink (イタチ）” or “weasel”.
But, I don’t think those are correct for the origin.
About Naruto, ナルト, I think it’s from a kind of food which has spiral (Uzumaki, うずまき) pattern in it, as Jiraiya and Minato said so in "Naruto".
Naruto is a popular ingredient for ramen.
(visit wiki in Japanese, you can see a slice of Naruto on a ramen)
And I guess, Kakashi Hatake (はたけ カカシ) is “Scarecrow (カカシ) in Field（はたけ）”.
Then, “White Fang”, Sakumo Hatake (はたけ サクモ) is “Crop plant (Sakumotsu サクモツ→ sakumo サクモ) in Field（はたけ）”.
But, I have really no idea about “Itachi”, and I don’t have Naruto comic books except vol. 1-4.
So, if someone knows it, please tell me!
Well, what does Sasuke mean? I think this might be a hint to Itachi's name. Kakashi's and his father's was related.
Weasel could be it, since it's said (source?) that weasels bring bad luck. His was a very bad one, lol.
Thanks for your quick response!
I didn't know of "weasels bring bad luck".
Thanks, I'll check it!
Sasuke is familiar name in Ninja-stories, like Sasuke Sarutobi (猿飛佐助).
The 3rd Hokage’s father’s or grandpa’s name was Sasuke, so there was a “Sasuke Sarutobi” in Naruto, too!
Sorry if this is the wrong thread or if this has been posted already (only read five or six pages).
Their names are based on a japanese myth.
Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari (児雷也豪傑物語 "The gallant Jiraiya's tale"), same as the chapter/episode with Jiraiya's death is called.
The story is about the ninja Jiraiya who can transform into a gigantic frog. He falls in love with the slug-magic-princess Tsunade and has to protect her of the snake magician Orochimaru.
The three members of Kumo who visit Konoha each have names describing their characters, also the two subordinates have opposite names.
Samui - "cold" (in the meaning of emotional cold), "unhappy"
Karui - "light, vivid"
Omoi - "heavy, depressed, serious"
Chidori/Raikiri were two names for the same sword in a japenese myth.
Tachibana Dōsetsu was a samurai in the 16th century who possessed the sword Chidori (Thousand Birds). Once he was struck by lightning, but reacted so quickly that he was able to cut the god of lightning who rode upon it so he remained unharmed. Afterwards, his sword was called Raikiri (Lightning Cutter).
This is pretty much the same story Gai tells about Chidori during chuunin exams. He says that Chidori is a jutsu developed by Kakashi and that it's been called Raikiri after he once cut a lightning with that technique.
All Mangekyou Sharingan Techniques are named after japanese gods (Kami).
-Kamui is a word related to "Kami" (god) and name of Kakashi's space-time-doujutsu. Seems to mean something like "Divine will".
-Izanagi was one of the two primal gods of shintoism. He had three children: Amaterasu, Susanoo and Tsukuyomi. His superior role as a father to them is represented in Izanagi beeing the seemingly ultimate Mangekyou Sharingan technique.
-Amaterasu (godess of sun and light - obvious relation to a fire jutsu)
-Susanoo (god of storm and sea)
-Tsukuyomi (god of the moon - relation to Madara's plan)
About the order of names:
Family name comes first, given name second. For everyone exept for the tenno and his family who don't have an individual family name. They have, rather than a family name, kōshitsu (皇室) or tennōke (天皇家) (-Imperial House/Family), so says wikipedia at least.
Alot of characters aren't ever adressed with their family names so they remain unknown, such as Tsunade. It's possible that her family name is Senju.
Last edited by Roflkopt3r; August 27, 2010 at 06:57 PM.
I don't think Izanagi has anything to do with Mangekyo Sharingan though, as Danzou was able to seemingly use it without the use of MS. Plus, it is a forbidden technique, so that means even regular Sharingan may be able to use it.
Since Madara and Izuna were apparently the firsts to unlock MS, yet Madara knew about Izanagi and how it was forbidden, it's probable the jutsu was in existence for a long time but banned, whereas MS was recently discovered.
In Shigurui a mythical weasel was mentioned, called "Kama'Itachi" and, in a footnote, translated as "Sickle Weasel".
Wikipedia says that Kamaitachi (鎌鼬) is a mythical creature that has been shown in different forms, but most commonly as a trio of weasels with sharp claws (or sickles) riding on wind and cutting the skin on peoples' legs. The page also states that such creatures have often been shown in manga and anime.
Funny creature. I wonder if there is any chance on this having a connection to the name "Itachi" in any way? Or maybe an Kamaitachi appearing in a different manga and possibly sharing some traits with Uchiha Itachi? Or is it more likely that it's coincidentally?
Last edited by Roflkopt3r; October 01, 2010 at 06:14 PM.
Guys maybe I am repeating but Pain and Konan - are these names Japanese or taken from English?
Pein's name is taken from English, and the plot kinda stands for it...
Konan on the other hand is Japanese...and it's a frequent japanese name...the kanji that are used mean little and south, if anyone's interested
so the new MS technique Kotoamatsukami ahs also somehting to do with the japanese myth:
I don't know if I get it right, but... as much as I understand it has something to do with the creation of the world, or?