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Takahashi has always taken great delight in concocting multilevel puns for her character's names.

The name of Shinobu, Ataru's long-suffering girlfriend in Urusei Yatsura , means 'to endure'.

Cherry, the doomsaying Buddhist monk, has one of Takahashi's best pun-names. The Japanese word for 'cherry' is 'sakuranbo'. However, using different kanji, but keeping the same homophonic reading for the word gives the meaning of 'deranged monk'. Takahashi caps this by having Cherry insist that he be called 'Cherry', in English.

Maison Ikkoku also has some brilliantly clever names. Everyone living in the apartment house has a name which begins with the number of their room.
For example:

Godai lives in room #5, and 'go' means 'five'. But more than that, many of the names are also names of train station in Tokyo...and further, the area surrounding the station often corresponds to the character of the person.

The red-headed bombshell bar hostess in room #6 is Akemi Roppongi--the first character of her name means 'six', and Roppongi is an area of Tokyo notorious for its expensive hostess bars.

Yotsuya, the extremely strange fellow in room #4, gains his name not only from the number four that begins it, but the Yotsuya train station, and the mysterious Yotsuya of folklore in Japan.

Takahashi has continued this trend in her latest work, Ranma 1/2, and shows no sign of become less inventive--in fact, one character (Shan Pu) has a name that involves a three level pun in English, Japanese, and Chinese! A translator's nightmare....

Articles in « Rumiko Takahashi »

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