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Scandal: Character names

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    Vili Maunula

    I have previously pondered about potential meanings for the names of Kurosawa’s characters, and I wonder if there is something going on also with the names of Scandal‘s main characters. I must say that my Japanese is nowhere near the level of me being able to pretend that I am a trustworthy authority in these things, so I’d love some feedback from speakers more fluent in the language than I am, in addition to the usual help from everyone in trying to understand the potential meanings behind these names.

    Hiruta’s name is interesting, and I wonder if it is meant to illustrate the dualism within him. His family name 蛭田 basically translates as “leech field”, which sounds like a fitting name for a corrupt lawyer. However, the kanji for his given name, 乙吉, is a combination of the characters for “strange, stylish, witty” and “good luck, joy”, illustrating his more positive side.

    Meanwhile, Mifune’s character, 青江一郎 is basically “Blue-bay First-son” (or “Green-bay”), which sounds like quite a fitting name for a painter.

    The family name of Yamaguchi’s singer character is 西条 (Saijo), which combines the symbols for “west” and “article, clause” (used in many legal terms). What’s going on there, if anything? A reference to western influences and lawyers, or a remainder that Yamaguchi the actress came from China, which is to the west of Japan? The character’s given name, again very fittingly, is 美也子 (Miyako), which I suppose you could translate as “Beautiful-child”, or “Beautiful-woman” (as the character 子 , meaning child, appears at the end of many female names). Beautiful she certainly is.

    The name of the woman who models for Aoye is simply given as すみえ (Sumie), which is the pronunciation for “ink painting” (墨絵).

    The editor-in-chief’s family name is given as 堀 (Hori). The kanji stands for “ditch, moat, canal” — a suggestion where the Japanese newspaper industry was heading?

    Hiruta’s sick daughter’s given name is 正子 (Masako). As a compound word it has the meaning “midnight”, but if the characters are taken separately, you get “justice, righteous” (for 正) and child (for 子). No further explanation needed there.

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