Today we went to Nara. This was my first time to Nara, it has been on the list since I arrived, so I’m glad I finally got round to coming here before I leave for England. We headed to the park to feed the famous Nara deers.
Nara Park is a public park located in the city of Nara, Japan, at the foot of Mount Wakakusa, established in 1300s and one of the oldest parks in Japan. According to local folklore, deer from this area were considered sacred due to a visit from Takemikazuchi-no-mikoto, one of the four gods of Kasuga Shrine. He was said to have been invited from Kashima Shrine in present-day Ibaraki Prefecture, and appeared on Mt. Mikasa riding a white deer. From that point, the deer were considered divine and sacred by both Kasuga Shrine and Kōfuku-ji. Killing one of these sacred deer was a capital offence punishable by death up until 1637, the last recorded date of a breach of that law.
We couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day, the weather was perfect! Nara is, visually, a stunning place although there isn’t much going on here apart from a few temples and thousands of deer haha.
We walked around the park feeding so many deers along the way. I thought it was a good idea to feed the deer chilling under the trees by one of the tori gates, boy was I wrong. They were relentless trying to get the crackers from me and Nomu didn’t help standing there taking pictures and laughing haha. Then one of them bit me on my leg hahaha it actually hurt so much! I love the picture of Nomu with the 3 deer, you can see how scared he is even though he is laughing hahaha too funny.
I thought I’d start a little series called Tips and Tricks, just some posts that could give some pointers to Naruto OC creators in terms of names, world-building, clothing etc. This is not to say everything in here is 100% accurate, this is just what I’ve learnt myself, or that it will automatically make your OC perfect. You can use as much or as little of these tips as you want. Maybe you’re just curious and bored and that’s fine too. If you want to talk more about any of these topics, just send us an ask :D
Anyway, onto the most difficult part of creating an OC. AN ORIGINAL NAAAAME.
Ok, this one is something a lot of people get hung up on apparently. I do to, I must admit. Just recently I renamed one of my characters because I thought the new name sounded better and fit her better (even though it was a pain to retag all the posts lmao). So getting it right at the beginning will save you a lot of hassle replacing the name every time you want to change it.
To my understanding, most of the names in Naruto fall into four categories: Noun-names, folklore names, normal names, and transliterated names. The rest draw inspiration from miscellaneous sources, but I will talk about that later.
Noun names: The most common type of name found in the Naruto world is a Japanese noun. Naruto is a Japanese type of cake on top of ramen, Kiba is Japanese for fang, Kakashi is Japanese for scarecrow. The list goes on and on – Iruka ‘dolphin’, Kurenai ‘lipstick’, Shika ‘deer’, Chou ‘butterfly’, Ino (short for inoshishi) ‘wild boar’ etc. When naming your OC, I found it’s good to pick out a noun that either relates to weapons used by the character, a part of their physical appearance, or another characteristic item about them. For example, the name Naruto is emphasised by the ‘swirl’ motive throughout the show, Kiba is named after a dog/wolf tooth, Kakashi is often signified by a henohenomoheji, such as on his dogs’ jackets. Ino, Shikamaru and Chouji are named after the InoShikaChou hand in the Japanese card game hanafuda. Sai is named after a pair of swords/knives. Iruka is a little different – his name is a pun; in the Japanese order, his name is Umi no Iruka, or ‘Dolphin of the sea’. So, if your OC is a weapons specialist for example, her name could be Tonfa, a weapon. Or if she is a seals specialist, her name could be Souchou, the name of the cursive Japanese calligraphy style used on scrolls and explosive tags.
Folklore names: Another common inspiration for Kishimoto’s character names is Japanese folklore and tales. Sasuke is named after Sasuke Sarutobi, the leader of the Sanada Ten Braves, a legendary group of ninja. Tsunade, Jiraiya and Orochimaru are names after a group of characters from the Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya, who use slug magic, toad magic and snake magic respectively. These names tend to be more appropriate for characters of high statues, either people who are older (like the Sannin and are therefore from a more formal generation) or those of old clans (like the Uchiha). Note that the Sarutobi from Sasuke Sarutobi was recycled for Hiruzen Sarutobi, another elderly and highly respected character (almost another noun-name, as Sarutobi means ‘monkey jump’ and his summons is a monkey). Ebisu is also named after one of the Seven Lucky Gods, and he is arguably a ninja of high status/stuck up.
Normal names: These are rarer, and are names that wouldn’t seem out of place IRL. Names like Sakura or Tamaki wouldn’t look out of place normally, but note that these names mostly appear in filler characters rather than main story characters (for instance, while Sakura is a popular girl’s name, it is also a noun-name).
Transliteral names: Arguably even more rare than the normal names, these are usually done for a specific purpose. The most obvious of these is the Lee Clan. Guy, Lee and Metal are all English words that are usually translated as Gai, Ri and Metaru in a lot of fics and romanji Japanese writing, mainly because there is no ‘L’ in Japanese, and it becomes an ‘R’ instead. The same with Boruto – his English name would be Bolt, but unlike Lee, he’s usually called Boruto, for his name to be in the same vein as Minato and Naruto. I would recommend that you only do this if your character is themed around a culture other than Japan or they are part of the Lee clan (in which case their name is probably some kind of music genre).
Other names: Then there are of course the miscellaneous sources that don’t really fall into the above categories. Yamato is an example of this; his name is taken from the ancient Japanese province of Yamato. Other names that probably came from the provinces are Yoshino (Shikamaru’s mother, and a province in the Nara prefecture, wink wonk), Izumo (a Konoha chuunin) and Hyuuga (from the Hyuuga clan). Then there is of course the Nara clan itself, which is probably based on the Shika part of the InoShikaChou hand. Since Shika means deer, it would have been linked to the Nara park, where over 1200 wild deer roam freely. It all links together to how the Nara clan tend deer in Naruto canon.
Name endings: If you do end up with a name you like but you feel it’s too short of lacking in some way, you can always add a Japanese name ending to it, depending on whether the person is male or female. Generally speaking, the male name endings are: -rou, -shi, -ya, -ji, -ta, -dai, -maru or –o, while female name endings are: -ko, -mi, -ka, -na, -e and –yo.
Naming inside clans: Usually, if your character is part of a clan, there will be a certain rhythm to the naming. The Hyuuga’s last name means ‘a place in the sun’, so most children (especially girls) will have ‘sun’ in their names somewhere: Hinata ‘place in the sun’, Himawari ‘sunflower’, Hiashi ‘position of the sun’. The Aburame clan is most likely named after the Japanese word for cockroach, Aburamushi. The word for bug is also ‘mushi’, which is likely where Shino and his father Shibi’s first syllable comes from, as well as the first syllable of Muta Aburame’s name. The Inuzuka clan’s name means ‘dog hill’ and their clan members are named after dog/wolf body parts (except for Kiba’s sister Hana, who is unusually feminine for the clan anyway). Their dogs are all named after a colour, with a male name ending particle added on. Hamura and Hagoromo both have the character for feather in their name, and the names of Hagoromo’s sons Indra and Ashura come from the Indian cycle of rebirth, Samasara (incidentally also the name of the Rinnegan). Note that these names are not actually Japanese, like Lee’s name, but are legendary figures, and so are unusual anyway. The Hatake clan is named after farmland, with Sakumo’s name being crops and Kakashi being named after a scarecrow. Therefore, if you’re creating a new clan, or adding a member to an existing clan, it’s good to see what all the names have in common and to name in the same sort of vein, just to make it seem more natural.
Writing names: If you’re noting down your OC, it’s great to note down the kanji for their name. In Japanese, just the sounds of the name won’t help with conveying the meaning behind the name, as each syllable/sound can have multiple meanings. However, while it’s good to take down Kanji, also be sure to write out how the name is pronounced; depending on context, the reader’s age and background, kanji can be pronounced differently or the same regardless of what kanji it actually is. So, for a complete profile, bets to note down the kanji, the sounds (either with romaji or hiragana characters, or katakana if writing foreign words) and the English meaning/why you picked this name specifically in relation to your character. It will help you in the future to decide whether you want to change the name or keep it because it first your character so well.
So that’s it for now, if you have any more questions about names, or want to yell at me about how wrong I’ve been about names or whatever, feel free to pop into the inbox on or off anon, I swear we don’t bite. Some other posts I’m planning to make is about village world-building, outfit tips, clan building, personality writing, pairing writing, context and so on and so forth. You can also send in topics you’d like me to take a stab at covering.
2017/10/18 Blog post by Wakana
『Plants and animals are bustling with life! ～Finally I have been able
to see the sun again! ～』
It has been raining for days on end in Tokyo but today the sun finally came
out, that made me very happy *｡.:*ヽ(*´∀`*)ﾉ*｡.:*♪ The sunlight was peaking through the clouds, shining down brightly upon us
as if it had been longing to finally find its way to us. So beautiful!