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.
Below is a list of Sailor Moon anime Youma (妖魔). Youma is a rather general term for a kind of magical, usually malevolent, demon or a ghost or an apparition. Literally, the characters read “bewitching demon”. In the Sailor Moon series, they usually refer to the monsters that serve Queen Beryl’s Dark Kingdom. Some are more obvious than others, through my own knowledge of Japanese I have compiled this list, some are easier than others and ones that I am unclear on are noted. (In other words Zoilyn Gellar).
Any suggestions for missing information would be appreciated!
Morga （モルガ Moruga）
The name Morga is from, like many villains in the Sailor Moon series, a mineral, in this case“Morganite”(モルガン石 – Moruganseki ). Morganite is a pink variety of beryl, this underlines her connection to the Dark Kingdom. It is also similar to the word morgue (morugu), a place where dead bodies are stored.
Balm （バーム Bāmu）
Balm is derived from Palm パーム, as in palm-reading, since Balm is connected to fortune telling and tarot cards, a connection to palm reading is not too far stretched.
Flow （フラウ Furau）
Flow is from flower フラワー in her episode, Flow and Jadeite distribute energy stealing flowers to listeners of Midnight Zero.
Iguara （イグアーラ Iguāra）
A corruption of Iguana（イグアナ）, Iguara is a reptilian like Youma who uses a pet store as part of her plans, a further reason for Iguana might be because iguanas are sometimes kept as pets by people.
Kyurene （キュレネ Kyurene）
This is the Japanese name for the Cyrene who in Greek mythology was pursued by the God of Music, Apollo, music was the theme of the episode in question, Kyurene is also similar to seiren （セイレーネス）who in Greek mythology used their voices to lure sailors, Kyurene uses her voice to attack. Additionally “kyu” is an onomatopoeic word for “sucking blood” and appears in the Japanese word for vampire （吸血鬼）which is probably why Kyurene is connected to bats.
An abbreviation of Cinderella （シンデレラ）, the episode features a scouting campaign called the Cinderella Caravan to lure in victims, additionally, Derella uses glass (like the glass slippers in the Cinderella story) as her main means of fighting.
Garoben （ガロベン Garoben）
A corruption of “gariben” (がり勉) which can refer to a person who studies too much, or cramming before an exam, Garoben uses a night school to steal energy.
An anagram of “alarm” （アラム）as in alarm clock, Larma used clocks to cause everyone in Tokyo to speed up their schedules and rush around.
From “kigan” （祈願）a Japanese word for prayer, Kigaan kidnapped people from outside the Shinto Hikawa Shrine.
Muread （ムーリド Mūrido）
An reversal of “dream” （ドリーム）. In Japanese, Muread was capable of sending her victims into a dream-like illusion, her base was also an amusement park called Yumeland （夢ランド Yumerando）. “Yume” is Japanese for dream.
A sea nymph from Greek Mythology, she uses a cruise-ship in her plot with Jadeite and uses sea water to attack.
An anagram of “tennis” （テニス）in Japanese, Tesni targeted a tennis-player and used tennis-rackets as weapons.
Petasos (ペタソス Petasosu)
A petasos is a type of sunhat from Ancient Greece. It was associated with rural people, since the character targeted was trying to keep his park from being demolished, it seems fitting. His hat somewhat resembles a petasos, his hat was where the Youma was infused, petasos were also connected to the God Hermes (equivalent to Mercury), possibly indicating at how Ami was well acquainted with the man.
A double-layered pun, first on Black Widow, a kind of spider which is why Widow spins thread (which also connects her to the sewing teacher she targets) and appears with a spiders body, and from“widow”, a woman whose husband has passed away, the episode’s theme was weddings.
Either from “camera”（キャメラ） or possible a contraction of “cameraman”（キャメラマン）, this episode’s theme was photography and Cameran used her camera to trap people.
In this French-doll themed episode, Jumeau was named for famous doll maker Pierre-François Jumeau.
Castor & Pollux（カストル＆ポルクス Casutoru & Porukusu）,
This duo Youma team are named for the twins in the constellation “Gemini” (which also means twins).
Mythological beasts that vary widely between Asian cultures, in Japan, Yaksha are ferocious demons that appear visually similar to this Youma when she is without her mask.
Simply from grapes, grapevines are seen as part of her character design.
A Japanese word for balsam, which can be seen as part of her character design.
A Japanese word for lily of the valley, which can be seen as part of her character design.
Gacen （ゲーセーン Gēsēn）
In Japanese “gesen” is an abbreviation of ゲームセンター “gēmu sentā”, or “game centre” (though we more commonly say arcade) in English, since the character Crane Game Joe visited so many game centres, this seems fitting.
Boxshi （ボクシー Bokushī）
A double pun from “boxing” and the Japanese word “bokushi” meaning Priest, the Youma is created from a Priest and in Youma-form, he uses boxing references in his fighting style.
An abbreviation of bunbougu which means stationery, Bunbou uses items such as dividers and a compass when he fights the Sailor Soldiers.
Possibly from one of the sephira on the kabbalistic Tree of Life, Binah is associated with the colour green, creativity, the idea of processed understanding and feminism. All qualities that are relevant to the design of Binah or to the artist Yumemi Yumeno.
From “rikoukei”, which means “science and technology”, Reika is a student at Azabu Technical University.
Jiji, （ジジ Jiji）
“Jiji” is a word for an old-man or grandfather, but the pun extends to “shishi” which is written the same as “jiji” without the dakuten. Shishi are magical beasts resembling dogs and lions in Buddhism and Shintoism. At Shinto shrines, a pair of these are often located at the gates. Jiji’s character is designed off these, since Rei and her grandfather work and live at a Shinto Shrine.
An abbreviation of “bakeneko”, a monster-cat. It is obvious how this is connected to the character.
First of all from “aka”, meaning red. The Youma is created from an actor portraying the hero character, Redman, a nd also from Lake Akan, a lake famous for its marimo, a type of ball-shaped seaweed which the Youma uses to attack.
Mitsuami in Japanese simply means “braids” or “plaits”, the Youma is created from a team of hairdressers.
“Shakoukai” means “polite society”. Countess Rose is portrayed as a wealthy socialite in the episode.“Shakogai” also means “giant clam” explaining why Shakoukai is covered in shells.
Simply an abbreviation of Blizzard (ブリザード burizādo), since the episode is set on a snowy ski slope.
Zoilyn Gellar (ゾイリン・ゲラー Zoirin Gerā)
Other sources refer to them as Doilyn Geller (ドイリン・ゲラー Doirin Gerā) and another simply by their human forms “Janelyn & Misha”（ジャネリン＆ミーシャ Janerin & Mīsha）,
Janelyn is probably a contraction of Janet Lynn and Misha from Peter Misha Petkevich, both American figure-skating competitors in the 1972 Sapporo Olympics, Janet Lynn is especially famous in Japan, the two characters of Janelyn and Misha are obvious foreigners and due to their use of English, implied to be American, the two characters also somewhat resemble their possible real-life counterparts. The episode seems to imply that Youma are individually known as Janelyn and Misha but together “Zoilyn Gellar”, this is reminiscent of how figure skating pair names are formed, likely Zoilyn and Gellar are the last names of the characters, however I have been unable to find the significance of this, perhaps the names of other competitors or terms in figure skating. I would imagine it is somehow relevant to the 1972 Olympics.
Papillon is the French word for “butterfly”, which the character’s design is clearly based off.
A combination of two words “oniwaban” who were undercover government agents in Japan in the 17th and 18th centuries, the character in Sailor Moon appears as a stealthy information gathering reporter, the other word is “Bandana” which is a kind kerchief that the Youma uses as a weapon.
DD Girls(Ｄ．Ｄ．ガールズ D.D. Gāruzu)
Around the time when this episode first came out in Japan there was a four group girl band called CC Girls which apparently inspired this five group of Youma, the change from C to D most likely stems from the location of the battle, D Point or the idea of D Day.
Written by: Akiko Hime
Edited by: Hikari-Sama