Character names

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Postby Zuggy » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:04 pm

Interested in knowing what each of the cast's names in NGE mean literally, and what they mean when they are written in different forms of Japanese.

In the Ayanami article it says 綾 and 波 literally means "twill" and "wave" and non-literally means "wave patterns" or waves "whose beauty suggests figures woven in silk".

Is Japanese like Chinese where the characters are supposed to resemble the things they mean? Is there any significance attributed to the number of strokes, the direction of the strokes, and the order of them, that produce each character or word?

When the names of the cast in NGE are rewritten in different forms of Japanese (I don't know what they're called) do they reveal any additional meaning?

There is one branch of Japanese occultism that's transliterated to onmyodo that I would imagine would deal with things like the elemental composition of each name and the characters that make up it - which I would be interested in knowing about.

The three Children's names if it helps:

Ayanami Rei: 綾波レイ

Sohryu Asuka Langley: 惣流アスカラングレー

Ikari Shinji: 碇シンジ

The rest are on the eva wiki.

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Postby THE Hal E. Burton 9000 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:11 pm

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Postby AchtungAffen » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:37 pm

You could try to decompose the radicals in each kanji to get additional meanings, but don't know if what you get would have any meaning, true meaning, or just random info left for the fanwank.
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Postby Shiro » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:52 pm

Zuggy wrote: Is Japanese like Chinese where the characters are supposed to resemble the things they mean? Is there any significance attributed to the number of strokes, the direction of the strokes, and the order of them, that produce each character or word?


Japanese kanji *are* Chinese characters, just with additional readings, (save for a few) so there is some visual aspect, although it's fuzzy at best. It requires a lot of guesswork, and you probably won't get what its original thought process was.

Shinji'S NAME:

碇 means anchor when written with the kanji used in Shinji's name. However, written 怒り, it means anger. And Shinji is just a common Japanese name. But that's in the wiki. I don't know the others.
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Postby Zuggy » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:58 am

Shiro wrote:碇 means anchor when written with the kanji used in Shinji's name. However, written 怒り, it means anger. And Shinji is just a common Japanese name. But that's in the wiki. I don't know the others.

This is the sort of thing I'm talking about. Is there any information like this for the rest of the characters?

In episode 20 when all the names come up on the screen you see this word or name flashing between Ayanami.

Image

Is the top word another way of writing Rei or is it something else completely? ADV don't translate it.

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Postby UrsusArctos » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:15 am

The top word is Ayanami in the phonetic Katakana script, and below that is Ayanami in Kanji. You can see the Katakana on the side of the destroyer she was named after (reading right to left)

Image
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Postby Zuggy » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:23 am

Ahhh, ok, so what's the difference between those two forms of Ayanami? If 綾波 means "wave pattern" then what do those four characters mean individually?

Edit: Also, could someone who has installed a Japanese input service on their computer type out those different forms of Ayanami and post them for me? In the katakana and hiragana scripts that have been mentioned - would do it myself but I had enough trouble getting the Hebrew input service on XP to work for me.
Last edited by Zuggy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby BobBQ » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:25 am

UrsusArctos wrote:You can see the Katakana on the side of the destroyer she was named after (reading right to left)

And the same across the transom in hiragana, no less.

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Postby Furu » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:29 am

I'm not sure the names have any deeper meaning beyond things Anno and Sadamoto thought would sound cool + naval references.
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Postby Xard » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:00 am

Didn't Anno write down meanings of all of their names (well, most of them) once? I saw it in old commentary site

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Postby Zuggy » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:51 am

Xard wrote:Didn't Anno write down meanings of all of their names (well, most of them) once? I saw it in old commentary site

Aye, he listed from where they came, but nowhere as far as I know lists how each of the cast's names are spelt in the different forms of Japanese and what meaning (if any) those different forms have.

Using U.A.'s picture to help I found a few tables that had all the letters listed with their English equivalent so I could phonetically spell them out.

Ayanami can be spelt:

Kanji - 綾波
Hiragana - あやなみ
Katakana - アヤナミ

Babelfish says:

[code:1]綾波 = twill wave
あやなみ = seeing
アヤナミ = technical change average (lolwut)[/code:1]
Not sure whether these should be written left to right or right to left, but they return more google results when written left to right.

Useful for coming across lots of new fanart if nothing else.

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Postby Xard » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:42 pm

Well, at least some meanings of them can be found from there like Kaji is rudder, Ikari anchor and Rokubungi is sextant :)

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Postby Jumpstart A. Cat » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:53 pm

Zugzwang wrote:Ahhh, ok, so what's the difference between those two forms of Ayanami? If 綾波 means "wave pattern" then what do those four characters mean individually?


The four individual katakana characters don't mean anything individually, or at least, they haven't for a long time. Katakana is a phoenetic alphabet which is usually used for foreign loan words, onomatopoeia, and technical/scientific terms. It's also used for emphasis, similar to capitalising in English. Why the Children's given names are written in katakana, I'm not sure (except for Asuka, since she's (kind of) foreign).

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Postby Shiro » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:47 pm

Every character's first name is given in katakana. Why, who knows. HOWEVER: Pre-WWII, women's names were sometimes given in katakana.
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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:55 pm

Probably to be deliberately ambiguous about any secondary meanings -- there is quite a bit of wordplay elsewhere in the series.
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Postby UrsusArctos » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:23 pm

I doubt there are any hidden meanings for Ayanami apart from variations on the "wave" meaning. After all, her association with a wave meshes nicely with Kaworu's name (Nagisa meaning seashore).
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Postby Zuggy » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:28 am

Jumpstart A. Cat wrote:The four individual katakana characters don't mean anything individually, or at least, they haven't for a long time. Katakana is a phoenetic alphabet which is usually used for foreign loan words, onomatopoeia, and technical/scientific terms. It's also used for emphasis, similar to capitalising in English. Why the Children's given names are written in katakana, I'm not sure (except for Asuka, since she's (kind of) foreign).

Thanks for explaining that! I imagine then that words like Seele and Nerv are written in katakana in the script as they are forgein words then? If so, would that mean SEELE and NERV are the more accurate way they should be written in English? With Shinji Ikari becoming Shinji Ikari?

Forgive my ignorance here: how are words or names written in katakana or hiragana written in kanji? So for Asuka from your explanation wouldn't make sense having a kanji equivalent because it's not a native name, but Shinji would - right? How do I go about finding the kanji for the name Shinji? Might be easier just to find a person's name online and see if the kanji is written along with it thinking about it - after one google search I came across a fellow called Shinji Mikami 越沼真司 but I dunno where Shinji ends and Mikami begins, also the other Shinjis on wikipedia are all spelt differently - are there multiple spellings in kanji or is wikipedia just full of lies?

Furu wrote:I'm not sure the names have any deeper meaning

UrsusArctos wrote:I doubt there are any hidden meanings for Ayanami apart from variations on the "wave" meaning.

Its been around 5 days now, so when are either of you going to back that up, or are you both just talking bollocks on the sidelines? You haven't even looked into how the names are spelt in kanji (and whatever other forms of writing) to find out whether or not they have a sympatric meaning with the characters, and even if you have done that you have utterly failed to provide any evidence that backs up your assertion here. These types of posts that Furu and UrsusArctos posted there are the most annoying type on this forum.

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Postby Reichu » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:44 am

Asuka is every bit a Japanese name. (550-710 CE is even called the Asuka Period, 飛鳥時代.)

With Japanese given names, there is no set way to write them; there can be dozens of kanji variations. JWPce has quite a few in its provided dictionary, but creating lists and pasting them over would take a while....

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Postby UrsusArctos » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:52 am

Zuggy wrote:Thanks for explaining that! I imagine then that words like Seele and Nerv are written in katakana in the script as they are forgein words then? If so, would that mean SEELE and NERV are the more accurate way they should be written in English? With Shinji Ikari becoming Shinji Ikari?


It doesn't mean they're necessarily more accurate, since they're not known to be acronyms of any sort.

Having their given names in Katakana is just a quirk of the creators, like having SEELE and NERV in all caps. Having Shinji's given name capitalized isn't more accurate. You use Latin capitals for Katakana when transliterating it into Romaji if you intend to emphasize its foreignness, or that it has no Kanji equivalent.

Forgive my ignorance here: how are words or names written in katakana or hiragana written in kanji? So for Asuka from your explanation wouldn't make sense having a kanji equivalent because it's not a native name, but Shinji would - right? How do I go about finding the kanji for the name Shinji? Might be easier just to find a person's name online and see if the kanji is written along with it thinking about it - after one google search I came across a fellow called Shinji Mikami 越沼真司 but I dunno where Shinji ends and Mikami begins, also the other Shinjis on wikipedia are all spelt differently - are there multiple spellings in kanji or is wikipedia just full of lies?


Kanji is notorious for having a number of homophones- different characters (with very different meanings) that have a similar or the same pronunciation. Shinji might not have a particular Kanji equivalent, but you could try looking up the Kanji for Shinji Higuchi's name. One of the more common meanings of Shinji is "belief" or "faith".

Of course, now the reason why the names are given in Katakana becomes clearer- he meant them to be interpreted whatever which way, since each Kanji has a specific meaning tied to it. That is, unless you're looking for more complex wordplay involving Katakana and Kanji characters, or Hiragana and Kanji characters, since the strokes from one character can be combined with another to form a new one. One example of this sort of punning happens in the Episode title "Saigo no Shisha".

Its been around 5 days now, so when are either of you going to back that up, or are you both just talking bollocks on the sidelines? You haven't even looked into how the names are spelt in kanji (and whatever other forms of writing) to find out whether or not they have a sympatric meaning with the characters, and even if you have done that you have utterly failed to provide any evidence that backs up your assertion here. These types of posts that Furu and UrsusArctos posted there are the most annoying type on this forum.


Don't be rude. I was just giving my opinion.

I didn't bother to go any deeper simply because the Kanji for the name "Ayanami" fit her character and purpose well enough, if you take the Nihon Kaigun interpretation as correct. I might be wrong, and there's nothing stopping you from finding out more. I'm not interested at all in digging any deeper because of the danger of overanalyzing the whole thing.
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Postby BobBQ » Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:07 am

Zuggy wrote:Its been around 5 days now, so when are either of you going to back that up, or are you both just talking bollocks on the sidelines?

These types of posts that Furu and UrsusArctos posted there are the most annoying type on this forum.

This from someone who's been overanalyzing kanji readings while somehow entirely unaware that katakana is a syllabary system? Throttle down those afterburners a little.


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