As part of our Name Origins series of articles, this page intends to try and explain the names of the 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.
Mamoru Chiba (地場衛) continues the name trend that everyone else follows in the main cast, except Minako because Minako is Minako. “Chiba” (地場) means local, however we should break down these kanji further to see the roots of why Chiba has been chosen since “local” doesn’t seem to make much sense. The “chi” (地) in “Chiba” is most likely derived from “Chikyuu” (地球 “The Earth”). On its own, it can refer to the land or ground. Since the Earth is what Mamoru protects, it is quite suitable. The “ba” (場) kanji refers to a place or a location. It can also refer to a sphere of influence or a field of expertise. This latter one is the more important. It is possible to equate this kanji with the kanji (野 “no”), which refers to a literal field of grass, the same kanji featured in Usagi’s family name. This connection is quite abstract, but it is nonetheless a possible meaning that their names synch up together since they are a destined couple.
Mamoru (衛) is a word that means “defense” or “protection”. With different kanji such as 守る or 護る, it is a verb that means “to defend” or “to guard”, very fitting for a man who protects the Earth and the Sailor Soldiers.
A literal translation of Mamoru’s name might be “Earth Location Defense”.
The series points out that “Luna” is derived from the Latin word for Moon. Luna was also the divine embodiment of the Moon in Ancient Roman religions and compliments the Sun. Perhaps this had something to do with how Luna helped Sailor Moon defeat Metalia in the manga.
Artemis was the Greek Goddess of the Moon and Hunt, the series points out that Artemis is male yet is named after a female goddess. It is unclear in the early Codename: Sailor V manga why Artemis bears the crescent moon mark and why Sailor V transforms with “Moon Power, Transform”, but whether by luck or not, Naoko managed to turn this into a plot for the Sailor Moon manga. Nonetheless, Artemis’s connection to the Moon does exist in the Codename: Sailor V manga and is very clear in the Sailor Moon series.
Diana is named after the Roman goddess Diana (equivalent to the Greek Artemis), a goddess of the Moon, as the daughter of two cats that are named from Moon related words that come from the Moon with Crescent Moon markings, there is no reason to doubt where Diana’s name comes from.
ChibiChibi’s name is similar to the Amazoness Quartet’s, which is a repeated noise to sound childish and cute, and ChibiChibi definitely is. “Chibi” refers to something small and cute. In the anime series, the name is derived from when Ikuko Tsukino said “Chibiusa” which ChibiChibi attempted to imitate, and it eventually became her name.
The Three Lights, all have the exact same given name “Kou” (光). The kanji means “light”, so the meaning is clear. They are literally Three Lights, and this extends to them also being the Three Sailor Starlights. The Light may also refer to the light of their star seeds. Each family name of the Three Lights is made of two kanji, and the three full names are also three scientific terms in Japanese. The two kanji in Yaten simply mean “night sky” and may be related to the idea of shooting stars across the night sky. The scientific phrase “yatenkou” (夜天光) is a general term that refers to a weak light in the sky that is being projected from an unidentified source. Think of it like background light, it’s there but you’re not completely certain where it’s coming from. This mix of science and figurative imagery is iconic of Naoko. A literal name for Yaten may be “Night Sky Light”.
Taiki’s name once again is made of two kanji, “tai” (大) meaning “large” or “great” and “ki” (気 ) which can mean many things including “spirit”, “air” and “mind”. Together these two kanji are the word for “atmosphere”. It seems there may be a double meaning here, Taiki is shown to be a very brilliant minded character which it could be referring to. More importantly, I feel personally, though is the connection to “atmosphere” is the better approach, it keeps with the sky references. Taikikou (大気光 )is a scientific phrase that refers to a specific type of “yatenkou”, it is weak light in the sky that is caused by many processes that include chemiluminescene by gas molecules and cosmic rays striking the upper atmosphere. A literal name for Taiki might be “Atmosphere Light”.
Seiya’s fits the pattern with two kanji, “star” (星)and “fields” (野), this “fields” is the exact same kanji as the “no” (野) in Tsukino and heavily underlines Seiya’s connection to Usagi. The star and sky imagery is once again obvious. As a scientific term “seiyakou” 星野光 is also another kind of “yatenkou”, this light being emitted from distant stars and nebulae. This may represent the distance Seiya has traveled. A literal name may be “Starfields Light”. Coincidentally, a family that appears in the Sailor Moon musicals have the same kanji as their family name, however it is read as “Hoshino” to pun off the Guardian Soldiers’ last names directly.
There are two major Japanese terms to refer to this character 火球皇女 (Kakyuu Purinsensu) which is mainly used in the anime and manga, and (火球王妃) Kakyuu Ouhi which is mainly used in the musicals. The first (皇女) usually refers to an imperial Princess, though Naoko has laid out the pronunciation in furigana as the approximation of the English word Princess, so it clear this is what we should refer to her as in English.
The second term 王妃 would actually usually mean “Queen Kakyuu”, but the characters also refer to her as “Purinsesu” (プリンセスPrincess) so we know the meaning has not changed between versions. These seem to suggest that she is a Princess, yet she is directly in charge of her citizens and there is unlikely anyone that has more authority than her.
Kakyuu is a term that refers to “fireball” or “bolide”. This second meaning seems to make more sense. A bolide is a loosely defined term but can be thought of as an especially bright meteor or meteorite in the sky. This completely fits in with the cosmological references regarding the Kinmoku Soldiers.
Written by: Akiko Hime
Edited by: Hikari-Sama