It’s been a while since the last time I did one of these, but there are still a few characters left to cover, so I thought I might as well pick one of them for today’s blog entry. And, as you can already see from the title, it’s going to be Nobara’s turn. I’ll talk a bit about her name, its meaning, and the reason why I chose it.
I talked about some other character names, as well as how Japanese names work in general, in the past, so, if you’d like to know why I gave character X name Y, or if you just want to read some general trivia about Japanese names, you can find the previous entries here:
Behind the Title: SHINRAI
Behind the Name #1: Runa Hikari & General Info on Japanese Names
Behind the Name #2: Henjin Akadori & Kotoba Gaikoku
Behind the Name #3: Kamen Eiga
Behind the Name #4: Mika Tamashii
Behind the Name #5: Momoko Mori
Behind the Name #5: Hiro Shiratake
So, with that out of the way, let’s analyze Nobara’s name!
Let’s start with the family name this time, since it’s a bit easier and more straightforward. 赤鳥 is a combination of the kanji for ‘red’ (aka), and the kanji for 'bird’ (tori). You might ask now, why is her family name written as 'Akadori’ then, and not 'Akatori’? Well, technically, both are actually possible.
This whole topic is a bit more complex, but I’ll try to keep it brief and simple:
In the Japanese language, some syllables are often changed to their 濁音 ('daku-on’) “version” when they appear in the middle of a word.
'Daku-on’ are all those kana that have these two little 'dots’ next to them, for instance: ぐ ('gu’), ず ('zu’), ば ('ba’), ど ('do’), etc.
So, for example, the daku-on “version” of the syllable さ ('sa’) would be ざ ('za’). As you can see, if those two little 'dots’ are added, the sound changes.
Now, the next question is, why does the sound sometimes change within a word? Well, it’s really just for easier, smoother pronunciation. It just rolls off the tongue better. If you’re even slightly familiar with Japanese, you probably know that the Japanese word for god is 'kami’ (神). And you might have also noticed that many gods and goddesses often end on 'gami’ instead of 'kami’, like Tsukigami (月神, 'moon god’), Shinigami (死神, 'death god’), Bimbougami (貧乏神, 'poverty god’), and so on and so forth.
For Nobara’s family name, it’s really just the same principle. 'Tori’ is the word for 'bird’, but in this combination, the pronunciation switches to 'dori’.
As I mentioned earlier, however, 'Akatori’ wouldn’t really be wrong, either. After all, unlike 'Shinigami’ for example, which cannot be pronounced 'Shinikami’, 'Akadori’ isn’t an actual word you will find in a dictionary, so its pronunciation isn’t 'fixed’.
Let’s just say Nobara’s ancestors wanted it to be pronounced 'akadori’, although there might be another family somewhere out there, who wants it to be pronounced 'akatori’, haha.
Anyway! To wrap this up, it might not be a word you will find in a dictionary, but 'akadori’ still literally translates to 'red bird’. As for the reason why I chose this name, well… Nobara was one of those characters who I had already designed before I tried finding a name for her. Her jacket features these two little red birds, and I thought it sounds rather nice, so… that’s why I picked 'Akadori’. Simple, isn’t it?
Now, for her first name, I actually don’t really want to go into any detail as to 'why’ I chose that name. All I’m going to say is that its meaning is related to Nobara’s mother, but any explanations beyond that would kinda go into spoiler territory. As for the meaning, well…
野薔薇 ('Nobara’) is a combination of 野 ('no’), the kanji for 'field’, and 薔薇 ('bara’), the Japanese word for 'rose’. While the 'rose’-part alone refers to your typical, red rose (like the one in Beatrice’s hair, in Umineko), the entire three-kanji-combination 野薔薇 (often also written as 野ばら) refers to a very specific kind of flower, the rosa multiflora.
Also, just some side-trivia: 野ばら is also the Japanese title of “Heidenröslein”, a German poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (the more you know!).
One of a couple of things that were important to me in regards to Nobara’s first name was that it could be easily shortened into a nickname. Most characters in SHINRAI actually have pretty short names, so it’d be hard to shorten them even further (Rie, Runa, Hiro, Mika, etc.). I wanted a slightly longer name for Nobara, so that it could be shortened by Raiko. Raiko is also the only person in the entire story, who uses this shortened form, and that’s done on purpose, of course.
It’s supposed to show the familiarity between the two of them. Raiko is a very introverted person, who doesn’t really have any friends, or at least no one she would consider a true friend she could open up to. Except Nobara, of course. The two of them are so close that Raiko even considers her as more of a sister. And I simply wanted this to be shown through the way Raiko refers to her. While everyone else calls her 'Nobara’, Raiko refers to her as 'Bara-chan’. She doesn’t have a nickname for anyone else, and she also doesn’t use any kinds of Japanese honorifics (like -chan, -kun, etc.) for anyone else.
It’s really just a way to underline the fact that Raiko stays rather distant to everyone except Nobara, the only person she feels really comfortable with.
Man, this has got to be one of the longest entries I’ve ever typed up here, and it sure took me a while… I just hope it was actually interesting to read, lol
If you actually took the time to read all this, thank you very much!
I guess that’s it for this week’s blog entry, then. Please enjoy the rest of your weekend and take care! See you next Saturday, hopefully! :3