Character Names

I have chosen many of characters’ names for specific reasons. Here are a few examples:

Jack_sm

Jack Fletcher – his surname means ‘maker of arrows’

Akiko – this is a lovely name that means ‘bright child’

Yamato – this name has a number of meanings. It can be translated as ‘Place of mountains’, but it can also be interpreted as ‘Great harmony’, which was the original name for Japan. Yamato is so called because he symbolises the old Japan in the story.

Tenno - Tenno is named after Jimmu Tenno, the first emperor of Japan (660-585 BC). As a result, the name Tenno has become synonymous with meaning ‘emperor’.

Masamoto Takeshi – his first name means ‘Fierce Warrior’

Dokugan Ryu – the direct translation for this is ‘One-Eyed Dragon’, but Dragon Eye proved a better adaptation of name for the ninja who is Jack’s nemesis. Dokugan Ryu was actually a real person, but he wasn’t a ninja – he was samurai!

Use of Gaijin

While the use of ‘gaijin’ as term for foreigners rose to prominence in the late 19th/20th centuries, the word actually originates from the Heike Monogatari, a text written early in the 13th century. The derogatory term was in use throughout the centuries as a word meaning ‘outsider’ or ‘stranger’.

During the 17th century, foreigners were also called ‘nanbanjin’ (meaning Southern Barbarian) or ‘yabanjin’ (meaning savage or barbarian) – those words, however, didn’t scan as well as the insult ‘Gaijin Jack!’ in English and would also have less resonance with today’s readership. 

© Chris Bradford 2016