Selecting names ain't easy—especially in Japan. Some Japanese parents consult with fortune tellers in hopes of picking a name that will bring their child good luck. One soothsayer has one. That name is Pikachu.
Kotaku previously covered why Pikachu is a terrible name for Japanese children. Today, a fortune teller tells us why it's a great one!
But first, a recap: in Japan, names are often selected based on things like the number of brushstrokes as well as the meaning of the kanji characters. The name should be filled with the parents' hope for their child. There are legal restrictions on what you can name your kids in Japan. For example, there was a legal battle in 1993 when a couple tried to name their son "Akuma" (悪魔), which means, "devil". According to The Japan Times, the Justice Ministry's Tokyo bureau said the name "deviates sharply from the concepts of human names." (More here). Yet, there are parents who name their kids after sports names, fruit, or animals. And, I guess, Pocket Monsters.
In the past few decades, "sparkly names" (kirakira neemu or キラキラネーム) have become increasingly popular—especially popular in the last couple of years. That's why some parents are taking these untraditional names from video game and manga characters, such as the magazine model who named her newborn son "Ace" after the One Piece character. In the West, it's not unheard of to give kids names just because you like how they sound or they remind you of, for example, your favorite character. In Japan, that has been unthinkable until very recently, leaving some pundits to say these "sparkly names" are more appropriate for pets than Japanese children.
On Japanese website Cyzo Woman, fortuneteller Aika Kanamori gave a reading for the name "Pikachu", making predictions and talking up good luck. She discussed how the name "Pikachu" sounds pleasant in Japanese and how the character, while not a human, is known all over the world. In the Pokémon games, "Pikachu" is written in katakana as ピカチュウ ("Pikachuu"). As a boys name, the name Pikachu is written as 光宙, which literally means "light" (光) and "space" (宙). "It's a name people won't forget," Kanamori writes. That's for sure!
The clairvoyant goes on to do what seems like a fortune reading, based on brush strokes, kanji meaning, and, I guess, making crap up. When discussing the personality type of someone named "Pikachu", Kanamori writes that, "This is a male with lots of pride and who knows he is an elite individual." Other traits include being cheerful, having a love of conversation, as well as "because he's popular with the ladies, he probably has lots of experience with romance." The rest of her fortune telling column goes on to describe how Pikachu interacts with women, gets married, and treats his wife. She also mentions what kind of jobs—like a journalist or a researcher—bring a Pikachu good fortune. Kanamori doesn't mention how conversation will be difficult between Pikachu and his wife: there's only so much you can say by repeating "Pika Pika Pika". Though, Ash seems to get on fine, so what the hell do I know.
"This is a name that will cause bullying" one user on 2ch, Japan's largest web forum. That individual is correct. It might.
Pikachu is a great character. Iconic. As far as games or anime go, few get bigger. But now, imagine the cute yellow character with the name "Toshiro" or "Shinichi". It just doesn't work for the same reason that a grown man with the name "Pikachu" doesn't work, ladies man or not.
キラキラネーム「光宙」は、エリート志向のモテ男になれる名前！ [Cyzo Woman]