As part of our Name Origins series of articles, this page intends to try and explain the names of the main characters of Sailor Moon. Like many other fiction authors, Naoko Takeuchi seems to strive to put some meaning or pun into the names of her characters, though some names are less clear than others.
The following has not been confirmed by Naoko Takeuchi or anyone officially connected to the Sailor Moon series and are speculation based on evidence and knowledge of the Japanese language. Take the following with a grain of salt as it may or may not have been the intention of the original creator.
This particular article also deals with musical only names that are given to Queen Beryl and the Shitennou. Those names are used as civilian names or as “mysterious, who is this person?” type names (ex. “The Phantom of the Concert Hall”) in the shows.
Queen Beryl / The Phantom of the Concert Hall
(クイン・ベリル Kuin Beriru /音楽堂の怪人 Ongakudou no Kaijin)
As she is the ruler of a Kingdom, the Queen speaks for itself. Beryl, in accordance with the manga, is probably from the mineral beryl, the musicals connect the character to the gemstone chrysoberyl, both of which are compounds of the element beryllium. Since these are all so interconnected, it is likely her name stems from the simple beryl gemstone, the most recognized by most people.
Her alter ego as the Phantom of the Concert Hall, used in the “Summer 2003 – Starlights” show, is a reference to the Phantom of the Opera; the musicals contain several references to it. Additionally both the musicals and the Phantom of the Opera contain unrequited love themes which are highly relevant to Beryl’s musical character.
The Four Heavenly Kings (四天王 Shitennou)
“Shitennou” is a Buddhist concept that watches over the four cardinal directions (also referred to as the four skies or four heavens), however when applied to Sailor Moon, it is a little bit different. If one sees the Earth from above with the Arctic in the middle, one can see how the landmasses which are under the control of the Four Kings can correspond to the cardinal directions, one example is looking at the Far East as the North, the Middle East as the East, Europe as the South and North America as the West.
Jadeite / J. Taitou (ジェダイト Jedaito /Ｊ・台東 J・Taitou)
Jadeite is the name of a mineral; it is a type of jade gemstone. J. Taitou is a corruption of Jadeite. Taitou is not a particular common Japanese name, though it is a ward in Tokyo and can refer to Taitung (a Tawainese county). “Tou” means “East” and this possibly helps to cement Jadeite’s role as the Far East Command. “Tai” means “pedestal” and seems to not mean much with the character, it probably is just used to make the pun work.
Nephrite / Light Mifune
(ネフライト Nefuraito /ライト・三船 Raito・Mifune)
Nephrite is another kind of jade, though its composition is very different from jadeite. His human persona (only in the musicals, not in the 90s anime or Crystal), Light Mifune is a corruption of Nephrite, it contains an interpoint which is often associated with foreign names, even more so is the surname “Mifune” (literally three ships) this is the same name as actor Toshiro Mifune. Toshiro Mifune was very popular with American audiences in the 80s. In fact, many Japanese people associate Mifune with America, and this might help with his connection to North America. The reasoning for “Light” (though this name has very many possibilities) is unclear; it is possibly just to deal with the pun.
Zoisite / Professor Izono / Izou Saitou
(ゾイサイト Zoisaito / 異園教授 Izono Kyouju / 斉籐以蔵 Saitou Izou)
Zoisite is yet another mineral–names of minerals would recur throughout the entire Sailor Moon series–the manga specifies that this character is named for the blue Tanzanite variety. The kanji in “Izono” mean literally “strange park”, it does not seem to relate specifically to Zoisite’s character other than being a corruption of the named Zoisite. This is the same for Izou Saitou. “Saitou” literally can mean “equal cane” and “Izou” “by means of ownership”. Since these are regular Japanese names, it does not seem to have a direct relationship with the character unlike J. Taitou and Light Mifune, this may because Kun Saitou and Izou Saitou are names originating from Anzamoon while the other two were made for Marinamoon and the opportunity for deeper reasoning arose.
Kunzite / Kun Saitou (クンツァイトKuntsaito / 斉藤訓 Saitou Kun)
Kunzite is a pink spodumene variety. He shares the same family name as Izou Saitou, some musicals states they are cousins. The name “kun” means “teachings”, making his name sound like Kunzite when reversed. This name sets up for another little joke, as saying Saitou Kun sounds like using the honourific “kun” (くん). So when Kun introduces himself, it may sound like he is saying “Saitou-kun”. It is a social faux pas to use an honourific on your own name.
Hematite / Hemahachirou
(ヘマタイトHemataito / 台東屁真八郎 Taitou Hemahachirou)
Hematite is the mineral form of iron (III) oxide, (or rust if we’re being lowbrow). The name Hemahachirou Taitou puns off this, the name contains many other jokes such as the name Hemahachirou containuing far too many syllables, most of which are unnecessary to make the Hematite pun and of course that the name literally translates to “fart reality eight son”, probably part as this character’s role as the comic relief. “Hachirou” is a relatively common name ending for a boy. The “Taitou” is the same as in J. Taitou.
Hiddenite / Hideo Yoruno
(ヒデナイト Hidenaito / 夜野英男 Yoruno Hideo)
Hiddenite is a type of spodumene. The name Hideo literally means “English male”, it does not seem to be relevant to Hiddenite’s character but serves as part of a name pun. “Yoruno” means “Evening Fields”.
Kalunite / Night Luka
(カルナイト Karunaito/ナイト・ルカ Naito・Ruka)
Kalunite is another name for Potassium alum. Night Luka does not seem to be relevant to the character but rearranged it forms Kalunite.
Mio Kuroki / Queen Mio
(黒木ミオ Kuroki Mio/クイン・ミオ Kuin・Mio)
Mio Kuroki has a highly ambiguous name, the kanji of Kuroki literally mean “black tree”. Mio is written in katakana and due to this, the real meaning is very ambiguous, particularly for a name with Mio that could be written with so many different kanji combinations. Two particularly strong ones are “美桜” meaning “beautiful cherry” (tying in with the black petal theme and the plant-monster form in the Special Act), “true ruler” (実王) or even “心生” (soul life), these can be mixed around as each combination is a mi-o pair. There are of course many others. Queen Mio appears to be a combination of Queen (as in Queen Beryl) and Mio.
Queen obviously highlights this character’s role as a ruler. Metalia may be derived from “metal”, in-keeping with the many chemistry related terms of the series. It may be relevant to the metal content of the Sun, Metalia’s place of origin, interestingly there is a relatively abundance of the earth metal Beryllium in the Sun. The –ia may stem from the simple suffix that feminizes words, such as countries.